Inchgower 25yo (1980/2006 (53.2%, Dewar Rattray, Sherry Cask #14161, 486 bottles)

After the “old” Teaninich, let’s have a look at something else from the attic that was also bottled a long time ago. Just like Teaninich, Inchgower is another lesser known Distillery owned by Diageo. And for me one of the better ones as well. I’ve come across quite a few really good Inchgowers. Long time no Inchgower though on these pages. It’s almost six years since I reviewed another Inchgower. One from 1982 bottled by Raymond Armstrong, remember Bladnoch? The 1982 was quite hefty and although very good, it was another Whisky, like the Teaninich F&F I reviewed just now, that needs a lot of attention, wearing you out if it didn’t get the attention it wanted. If carelessly sipped, it will kill you, so even though it is a very good Whisky with a quite a high score, I was glad when the bottle was finally finished. Strange ‘eh? Here we have another Inchgower from the beginning of the eighties, so I’m already bracing myself, especially since this is a Sherried one as well…

Color: Dark copper brown.

Nose: Boiled eggs (not rotten). Very buttery and milky. Luckily, these off notes dissipate quite quickly. I have to say right off the bat that this Whisky got a lot of time to breathe. When it was freshly opened this had a lot of Sulphur. When the milky, baby vomit notes dissipate, it shows more woody notes. A minute amount of sulphur and some bitter black tea. Underneath (sniff hard), brown sugar and even some honey. Sulphur still detectable and now it rears its head (is it ugly?) like swamp-gas. Although a lot seems wrong with this, I seem not to dislike it. I never belonged to the I’m-allergic-to-sulphur-police, so I’m able to deal with it. In the depth, where the brown sugar is, are also the more soft woody notes. Some whiffs smell like Rum actually. Sulphur seems to be dying down, but when you move the Whisky around in your glass vigorously, you’ll be able to get some more. Spicy, yet not woody. Vanilla powder and altogether funky. Give it time to breathe. In the end the Sulphur is kept in check and all the remaining wonderful aroma’s get their room to shine. What a wonderful nose this is. The sulphur didn’t bother me that much, but the milky part did, this must breathe before sipping.

Taste: Big, woody and slightly soapy. After swallowing, the first sip, the soap, again, this time around, no too bad, is followed by a wave of liquid bitterness (and fruity acidity). I know, a strange sentence indeed. Fruity underneath and mouthcoating. Sweeter than expected, very, red, fruity. Cold black tea. And the bitterness seems ok. Very funky floral notes which mix well with the red over-ripe fruits. Berries, raspberry, little ripe forest strawberries. Mouth coating, very, mouthcoating indeed, leaving behind some bitterness, but more important, some priceless black fruits as well. For me the black fruits are the holy grail of Whisky. Nice finish, but who cares, if the long aftertaste shows you all those black fruits, dark chocolate and some wood. Sure it isn’t able to shed all of the soapyness, but with fruits like these, I’m happy to forgive it it’s soapyness and the many other flaws it shows. Special stuff.

Some Whiskies like this, over-the-top, can be bad. This one has a lot wrong with it but it’s not bad, There is a lot of fun to be had, if you like the extreme ones, if you are able to deal with a Whisky like this. If you are a novice, steer clear, please. If you are an anorak, a whisky-geek with tendencies towards SM, please pick it up at an auction, because as I said, it is not a bad Whisky. Too much of a lot, but therein lies the fun. A guilty pleasure. Aficionados like it, that’s why this doesn’t pop up a lot at auctions. I’m sure that when I’m going to clean my glass, it will foam like crazy! (It did). For me a no-brainer if it shows up somewhere. Don’t bid against me please!

Points: 91

(Freshly opened, without breathing, the score would be 84, so you’d better let it breathe, long time!)

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Inchgower 28yo 1982/2010 (50.7%, Bladnoch Forum, Hogshead #6966, 222 bottles)

And here is another Whisky that stands atop of my lectern. This time an Inchgower bottled by Raymond Armstrong, the owner of Bladnoch Distillery. Bladnoch was founded in 1817, and Raymond bought it in 1995 and opened it again in 2000. Well this “Raymondo” has a website, and if that’s not all, he even has a forum. Well if you think that’s it now, wait, it gets better! Raymond buys casks of other distilleries’ whisky, bottles them, and sells them to members of the Bladnoch Distillery Forum. And it has to be said, he does that at very, very reasonable prices.

Now we move on to Inchgower, since it’s Inchgower that’s inside of the bottle. If you want to see how Raymonds operation looks like, and how this particular Inchgower was bottled, here is a link to a film made by our one and only Ralfy, certified Malt Maniac. (Just for the fun of it, I have bottle number 14)

Color: Copper Gold.

Nose: Caramel, estery and oaky. Distant liquorice, tar, olive oil and maybe even petroleum. All of this combined with some warm apple sauce and gravy. The nose hints of coming sweetness. It is a great nose, but when you sniff this for some time before tasting it there is something that’s not quite right, sort of unbalanced. You know it smells great, but…

Taste: Tar again, coal, sour oak. Almost as if it were made with steam and luckily it is not the sweet monster I expected. I hate it when a whisky is sugary sweet or simply too sweet. Instant headache. But don’t worry this is nothing like that. The top of the taste is very good. You’ll like it. The middle is oak, in a nice and elegant way. The finish is more the sour part of oak and sort of unbalanced, breaks down and is not very long. The wood is never overpowering or too strong. It’s a very nice example of Inchgower.

The bottle is almost full, but was opened last november (how time flies). I’ve tried small drams since then, and it got absolutely more balanced since the day of opening. Initial score was 85, but it will go higher now.

Points: 88

In fact it tastes more like an 89, but I had to take a point off for the slightly unbalanced finish.