Auld Yins and New Yins


First of all, a quartet of Chivas Bros. exclusives from The Whisky Exchange. I wonder how they got access to them? … oh, aye … 


Glen Keith 31yo ‘Lost In Time’ 47.5% Straw bales, sugared almond, peppermint creams and Wall’s vanilla ice cream – it’s like a family outing to a petting zoo. There’s a malty undertow with a glimmer of waxed fruit. Water adds tinned peaches and green edge of carnation.

Those peach pop up again in the front of the mouth along with a little lavender and some sage. Even with three decades in cask there’s still a slight rigidity to the delivery and it slips away gently. An (expensive) aperitif. ***


Glentauchers 33yo ‘Lost In Time’ 51.9% Fuller and more bready to start. There’s  salted peanut, then pollen-heavy
flowers, and cooked apple. Some concentrated, mature notes alongside browning butter. The palate starts softly sweet with syrupy fruits, then comes meadow hay. It’s slightly spiky without water resulting in a bit of a tussle between the alcohol and the fruits. Water makes things a little drier and opens up to nougat and coconut, but the struggle remains unresolved. ***


The Glenlivet 32yo ‘Lost In Time’ 62.4% This shows greater depth and obvious maturity with a heavy rosa rugosa element dominating followed by quince, light oak and chocolate. It’s all rather lovely. The floral elements and fragrant fruits are there on the palate but the delivery’s blurred by the strength. Water brings out talcum powder and rose- scented face cream and while things remain on the hot side this is pretty classy. ****



Longmorn 30yo ‘Lost In Time’ 47.5% 54.4% Quite shy, then doughy hot cross buns, caramelised fruit syrups, toffee/banoffie pie, malt extract and heavy honey. It’s slightly nuttier than some bottlings. Starts oily with some Brazil nut but things quickly fall apart. After the complexities of the nose it’s ultimately flat and showing signs of its age. Ah well. **(*)



… a brace of Glen Grants (which came out last year…)

Glen Grant 1959, Gordon & MacPhail 56.5% This is what you mean when you say ‘mature’. Coconut, pot pourri, dried apricot, waxiness then bouquet garni and a hint of smoke. Complex and long with sweet apple, melon and ginger and Taiwanese Oolong notes  of tropical fruits and flowers. Resonant. 

A tiny hint of water makes it wonderfully waxy, and still, despite its age, gentle, alive and long. It unfolds slowly along the tongue, blossoming and continually evolving. Nothing has been closed down, or falling apart. There are layers to still be discovered. Remarkable.*****


Glen Grant 1958 Gordon & MacPhail 56.5% If the ’59 is about the distillate and the air, then this is about time and wood. Resinous, treacle toffee, liquorice, mushroom and chicory. The aromas of a damp beech wood. It opens well with water where there is raisin, walnut whip, and mocha. 

There’s incense, dried fruits and dandelion and burdock on the palate alongside an amaro-like bitterness, with the earthiness seen on the nose coming through more strongly. The tannins are drying and while water initially softens it, there’s still coffee grounds, leather and on the finish a whiff of cordite and some astringency. It’s not my style, but I can see how it would appeal. ***(*)


…and a lone Laphroaig

Laphroaig 36yo Archive Collection, 40.2% They got that out of the cask just in time, eh? Fragrant smoke from the start alongside the aroma of the wrackline, then pork glazed with XO sauce, wet moss and like all the best Laphroaigs, a hint of green woods (ferns, pine, chypre). In time you’ll get apples roasted on a bonfire, biltong and strong black tea.

The palate is very soft, the smoke subtle and fully integrated. There’s almond essence, hazelnut and a nodule of honeyed fruits. Less oaky than expected with more savoury notes, bay leaf and, on the finish, smoke. It’s just a little hollow in the middle of the tongue. ***(*) 



Dalclagie new make 65.6% This hails from North Point, which is based on an ex-NATO listening station in Forss, Caithness. It uses Maris Otter fermented with a Norwegian farmhouse yeast strain called Kviek (which is actually a family of yeasts as each town/farm had it own strain)

It has some of Kveik’s outrageous tropical fruitiness along with a light green vegetal element. Thick and ripe on the palate, with raspberry, gentian and rich soft fruits with some malt on the end. Water brings in a buttery note, some grassiness and fruit skins. One to follow.


Moffat Moonshine, 62.5% My mother was a Moffat so it’s hard not to look fondly on this, the first glimpse of what’s coming out of the town’s tiny wood-fired still. The neat nose is rich, almost meaty with the slightly singed note which you’d expect from the heating method, but there’s fruit massing behind.

With water added there’s more obvious maltiness, but the palate is sweet, oily, and rich. It’s that mid-palate weight that’s key. The character will expand from this point. Impressive.



Strathearn ‘The Heart’ 63.5% Another from Maris Otter, here given a 120 hour ferment. This is leaner than Moffat, lemony grassy, a light touch of silage and iris-like muskiness. The grassiness remains on the palate which has good drive and energy and a soft, bakery base.

Things sweeten up with water, but there’s also an earthy/vegetal element adding weight. Bright with a pithy green twist on the end.


Strathearn Batch 1, 50% This is Douglas Laing’s first release from its acquisition. A clean, crisp, slightly starchy/malty opening with green banana skin, and some vanilla and brioche coming through. Nicely balanced. The palate is gentle, mixing jasmine, light nut, mandarin peel, bruised soft fruit, patisserie and finishing with dry grass and cream. Rather good.