Bottle: This bottle has clean, elegant lines with the unusual features of a metal collar around the neck and a stitched leather ring around the base. It’s a strange hybrid styling of old and new. An eye-catching, self confident statement. This bottle looks right back at you and refuses to blink…
Nose: Big. Hits you like perfume. Lemon, lime, orange, a little salt, sandalwood, incense.
Body: Silky and light.
Palate: Fresh and zesty. Sour apple and lemon with pear, oak and some pepper at the back end. Absolutely bloody marvelous.
Finish: Pleasantly dry and medium length. The lemon zest just doesn’t go away and keeps the whole thing fresh. A nice oak undertone too.
Neat/Ice/Water: At 48% it’s doable neat but a little punchy. A little ice in this dram and I’ve found religion… The flavors become more defined. Wonderful.
Verdict: Stunning. So well made, so tasty, so moreish! I’m giving it my highest rating because for fifty quid this is unbelievable value when compared to much more expensive whiskies. Every sip is like discovering it for the first time, it maintains the initial level of interest effortlessly. I could drink this all night long (and have done so on several occasions!). I know a few people who rate the now defunct 15 year old as a better dram. I haven’t tried that one yet but am keen to land a bottle at auction if it’s even in the same ball park as this stunner. A storming Speysider not to be missed. Very classy indeed.
Addendum: A couple of years has passed since the review above and last month it was announced that this dram, alas, is now discontinued. It’s being replaced with a new 16 year old expression, which I’m yet to try, but the mix of wood used in the production has changed so it’ll be a different dram, though hopefully just as classy. I suspect their stocks are dwindling and they had to rearrange their affairs… The general consensus has this in the mid 80’s on traditional scoring scales but I’ve never been about the general consensus (have they iced it just a little to bring out the magic?) Scouring the retail market a few days ago, it’s not easy to find anymore but I did just that and bought another 2 at £85 each to add to the one I already had. Going, going…