Bruichladdich 32yo 1970/2002 (44.2%, OB, First Fill American Oak Casks, 4200 bottles)

Let’s step things up a bit with this legendary Bruichladdich. Bruichladdich was founded in 1881, and the distillery was built by Barnett Harvey with money the family got from an inheritance from his brother. It is not the Barnett family’s first distillery though. In 1881 they also own the well-known distilleries: Yoker and Dundashill. Between 1929 and 1936 the distillery is closed. Much later in 1983 the distillery was closed as many others were, but fortunately it was saved (in the same year) and didn’t get demolished. Next the distillery was again closed between 1995 and 2000. In 2000 the distillery was bought for £6.5 million, by a group of investors. Quite a good investment since this group sold the distillery again for £58 million in 2012. The new owner being Rémy Cointreau.

Color: Full gold.

Nose: Old bottle. Waxy and very full and heaps of character. Vanilla with some nice acidity. There is also a fantastic woody note. Smells a lot like a 1972 Caperdonich (from a Bourbon cask), but fresher, less heavy, but don’t make the mistake thinking this is a light nose. Very drying nose, dusty and powdery and full of fresh air. All written here isn’t released by the Whisky in one go, it is released in layers. This nose alone would score sky-high. Absolutely stunning.

Taste: Fruity vanilla which is transported by a fabulous bed of wood. Sugared yellow fruits, again apricots (I get that a lot lately), but also a nutty part, almonds, but nothing bitter. A hint of toasted cask (sweet wood). Perfect big bold body with a mouthfeel to match. Good finish, it leaves a taste in your mouth that should have gone on forever.

This is a Whisky that fetches a pretty penny at auctions today. I should have bought this when it got out. In today’s market, Whiskies like this would be put in some sort of crystal decanter or another polished over the top packaging and would go for 1000 or 2000  Euro’s easily. Having said that, it’s probably worth the 500 Euro’s it costs today. Go and get it, I’ll vouch for it. I had this at 91 up untill now, but that was a grave error on my part. The new score is…

Points: 92

Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Map label, IF/CCC)

Ahhh, yes, Gordon & MacPhail never cease to amaze me! Next up is this Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, G&M, Connoisseurs Choice, Map Label, IF/CCC), but now it turns out that the exact same bottle with the exact same code (IF/CCC) was also released with the Old Map label too. Why? Can we conclude from this that 1996 was the year the labels got changed?

Glencraig is the little sister of Glenburgie. Glencraig was the name of the whisky that was distilled from 1956 untill 1981 in a pair of Lomond Stills at the Glenburgie distillery. Another example of a true Lomond pair of stills existed at Miltonduff, where the subsequent whisky was named Mosstowie. Mosstowie was made between 1964 and 1981. A tad different was the case at Inverleven, where only the spirit still was of the Lomond type.

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Grainy. Apples. Every component from apple. Compote and waxy apple skin. Smells a bit thin. Did they reduce this too much? Very elegant wood shines through. Dusty vanilla, almost like smelling airborne powdered vanilla. Slight hints of orange juice. Creamy and some hard candy.

Taste: Wood is the main marker, but not bad. Sweet and fruity with liquorice. Actually the spiciness from the wood carries it. The grainy element is here too. This could have been a very old blend. Hints of french cheese, a Camembert. Funky, I love this cheesy element in this Whisky! Slightly warming. Given some time to breathe the whole gets more sweet. Still the wood stays with its licquorice element. Finish isn’t even bad. It stays longer than expected.

Yes, reduced too much. It is in places weak and watery, and it seems to me, that some areas of the taste got subdued a bit, wich affected the balance. Just let it breathe for a while in your glass and you will be rewarded. This is actually better than we think. Give it some time.

Points: 86

Linlithgow 31yo 1970/2002 (52.4%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 139 bottles)

This was staring me in the eye for a while now, and since this is my favorite Lowland distillery, no, one of my favorite distilleries of them all, it is time to try out a very old Linlithgow. Well Linlithgow’s on the label, but it is better known as Saint Magdalene.

What could be more appetizing to you than the fact that the site of St. Magdalene in Linlithgow, West Lothian, housed a Lepper Colony in the 12th century, or that the water didn’t come from an ancient super pure melted snow mineral water source, but from the Union canal nearby. But enough facts. If you want more, have a look at Tomas Karlsson’s site.

Founded in 1798 and closed like many (good) others in 1983. The distillery is no more and there are no casks maturing there anymore, only people. It’s an apartment building now. What a shame. Didn’t they know then, it was this good, am I wrong, or isn’t it about the quality anymore…

Color: Light Gold.

Nose: Malty. Light citrus freshness and seems very clean at first. It doesn’t take long for a lot more to show up. Grass on a hot day. Dust and hay. It has a touch of floral sweetness to it. Given some time, there is a new depth to this. Or a “growing” depth you see in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Oily, fatty, toffee, licorice and hot tar (all in tiny amounts). No wood. Very special.

Taste: Thick, grassy and medium sweet. Dried apricots and apple skins. It isn’t the same as the nose (for me the nose was not fruity), but it complements it very well. Again there is almost no wood. It’s there really, but it is hidden well and transports the body. You can taste the balancing spiciness or distant bitterness (again, hidden well) and the sourness in the finish is from the oak too. Great balance.

For some people these whiskies are to light, or more of an acquired taste, but if you work on this a bit, it will be really rewarding.

It’s a first for me, but this is one, I’d recommend, you enjoy in absolute silence and by yourself. Almost any other Single Malt is best shared with friends, but this is a private one, maybe because the beauty lies in the details. But that’s not all. This has a lot to give and it doesn’t give it all at once. Again time is a friend here. I’m quite stunned also that this is a 31yo and that it’s from 1970, because it can come across much younger. For me it resembles some of the 1982 expressions also bottled by Douglas Laing. I’m a fan!

Points: 91

Springbank 36yo 1970/2006 (53.1%, Signatory Vintage, First Fill Oloroso Sherry Butt #1629, 461 bottles)

After reviewing one of the most popular official releases by Springbank, the 10yo at Cask Strength, this time a Single cask bottled by Signatory Vintage in their heavy glass decanter series that are hard to handle (the Cask Strength Collection). The fourth already on these pages. Hard to handle maybe, but so pretty. This time it isn’t in one of those clumsy tins, but in a beautiful, probably fake mahogany box. Even if the whisky is mediocre, the packaging is stunning. Let’s hope the contents measures up, because that’s what you’re paying for.

Color: Radiant Orange Brown, with powdery sediment.

Nose: Wow. Buttery. Very old wood with lots of spices. Nutmeg and ginger. Dusty toffee. Sherry as in raisins. Deep sugary raisins, not fruity. After some breathing it gets some lovely spicyness to it. Toasted wood and warming. Really great nose, with a developement to it. So packaging great, nose great, high hopes for the taste now.

Taste: Woody and dry. But there is some chewy sweetness to it. Roundness is maybe a good word. Also some bitterness from the wood. Coffee (Espresso), Warming chocolate. It really is a hot brandy spiked cupa coco. Also some cough bonbons. Not especially as complex as the nose is. What you see is what you get. Later some mint and furniture wax. Nice throat coating finish.

This definitively got way better when the bottle got time to breathe. Both the nose and taste got better. It shifts its focus from the wood and nice bitterness to something more rounded out and lets you see more of what’s underneath. Not the best old Springbank around but still a very nice one if you give it time and an open mind. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Points: 91