North British 25yo 1964/1990 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Cask #10451-10454, 1300 bottles, 75cl)

Well lets end this month with something different. Wow! Look at the label. Pure Grain Scotch Whisky! Today we call this a Single Grain Whisky. North British was founded in 1885 and lies near Edinburgh, on the site of a former pig farm. North British is a joint venture between Diageo and The Edrington Group. I don’t think Diageo needs an introduction, but the Edrington Group today is best known for their Highland Park and Macallan distilleries and The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blends.

Grain whisky is usually made in a continuous column still. Most important is that this still operates continuously as opposed to a pot still. The alcohol from a continuous still is much cheaper to make. The spirit is made at a higher strength (ABV) and has less flavor, more neutral. This kind of whisky is made for blended whisky, and is not often bottled by itself. If bottled by itself, like this single grain, almost all of it is aged for a prolonged period of time, to get as much flavor as possible from the cask is matures in.

Color: Gold

Nose: Clean sweet rum. Not overly woody, but the wood speaks. Fantastically old and creamy. Lots of vanilla. Spicy and floral. The floral part does remind me of roadside flowers in bloom. A very summery feel, and we need summer just about now. Fresh butter, cookie dough, creamy and very lively. If I could, I would eat this!

Taste: It’s the hint of clean yellow, light rum, the nice wood, the creaminess and the vanilla that come right through into the taste, but that’s it, nothing more. It is great as an example of an old grain, and it’s likable and utterly drinkable. A whisky lemonade, gone before you know it. Just hook this up to a soda machine that adds bubbles to your drink. This will be your summer refreshment! Alas in a bit of a diluted fashion. This should have been cask strength probably. It’s fabulous and very, very, simple.

As I have found in the past, old grains usually do smell the part, but lack a bit in the taste department. This smells fantastic but has a very simple taste, with a finish to match. I found this whisky to gain a lot of taste and balance from a lot of breathing. Do you like it? You bet I do!

Points: 84

Thanks to Michel for providing the sample!

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