Macduff 32yo 1980/2012 (50.0%, The House of MacDuff, The Golden Cask, Cask CM 180, 155 bottles)

Macduff 32yo 1980/2012 (50.0%, The House of MacDuff, The Golden Cask, Cask CM 180, 155 bottles)Third Macduff on these pages and just like the other two, this is again an oldie. The oldest one was from the sixties, 1967 to be precise, just their fifth year of distillation. The second one came from the seventies, 1972, now we have one from the eighties (1980). So will the next one be from the nineties? At the rate (and prices) old Whisky is selling these days it probably will…

Color: Gold

Nose: Waxy and very fruity. Powdered yet not dusty. Slight hint of pepper with lots of vanilla in the mix. Some yellow fruits, white grapes, apricots and peach. Next some mocha, toffee and caramel are in there, giving balance. Later on, in the nose emerges a slight whiff of wood with dry roadside plants. Overall fruity and sweet-smelling. Good balance and very appetizing.

Taste: Strong and fatty. Cardboard and the taste is also pretty fruity. Vanilla with some sugary sweetness. Licorice and slightly bitter, the wood plays its part. Pretty hefty stuff. Not as complex as I would have hoped, but still pretty decent stuff altogether. The Whisky has a good start and a very nice body, the finish has a lot of staying power (toffee) and is quite warm.

This is a pretty good Whisky. It has a pair of balls and some nice sweet yellow fruits throughout. The finish is also decent, but for such and old Whisky I would have expected some more complexity.

Points: 87

Thanks Erik for the sample!

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

Tobermory 32yo 1972/2005 (50.1%, OB, Green Label, Oloroso Sherry Finish, 912 bottles)

This is the first Tobermory on these pages and the Whisky itself comes from the Island of Mull. This distillery was founded already in 1798 and was originally called Tobermory. Tobermory closed in 1930 and was turned into a power station. It stayed closed as a distillery, untill it reopened in 1972, but this time as Ledaig. Ledaig’s history, from its reopening was a rocky one, with a lot of buying and selling of the distillery with production stops to match. The current owner is Burn Stewart (which itself is/was owned by an insurance company (since 2002), that again was rescued by the government of Trinidad & Tobago in 2010. You don’t want to know…)

Back to Tobermory (or Ledaig). Ledaig was sold to Burn Stewart in 1993, and they decided to give back its original name: Tobermory. In 2005 Tobermory issued three 32yo from 1972. These were Oloroso Sherry finished Whiskies. One with a black label, one with a red label and this green label reviewed here. Purists mention an additional brown labeled version for sale at the distillery. Also 32yo and 1972, but “put on bottle” in 2010, so it must have been kept in stainless steel tanks of on glass from 2005 to 2010 to stop further ageing. Not a lot is known about this bottle…

Color: Brown

Nose: Tarry with lots of red and black fruits. Peat, asphalt and lemonade. Honey. Very appetizing. Coal smoke and steam. This is a true vintage steam locomotive. A little bit of plum with a lot of burned sugar. Toasted wood, burned wood (when turned cold again) and burned paper. Cookie dough. Later it gets dryer and more dusty. Incense. There are a lot of associations with burned stuff, but still, all that doesn’t overpower the whisky. The fruityness makes for great balance. This is truly one of these malts that oozes the days of yesteryear and really they don’t make them like this anymore…

Taste: Strong and again steam locomotive. The taste matches the nose perfectly. Thick sherry with some licorice. It’s fruity, red fruit and the fruit part is fresh and lively. Over this fruit steam and coal again. Hard (red) candied fruit. Quite nice is that the finish is only a little bit bitter. Warming. Wood and tar. The only beef I have with this Green label as opposed to the other two is that the taste is not that balanced and coherent. It doesn’t gel completely and with time it sometimes seems thinner than the other two.

Of the three, this is the least interesting one. In my humble opinion, the Red label Tobermory 32yo is the best, but the black follows in its footsteps quite well. Between the two it’s a matter of taste. Still, if the other ones aren’t available, do get this one in stead, because you’re up for a nice journey, and this one is pretty good by itself! All three of these whiskies may not be perfect, but they are classics in their own right and they do deserve a place in the Whisky hall of Fame!

Points: 88

Clynelish 32yo 1972/2005 (49.9%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead #15619, 226 bottles)

Looking back, I see that two of the last four posts are old Clynelishes. One from 1974 and one from 1973. What could beat that? Well maybe another old Clynelish? Why? Because we can! And this time we’ll do a 1972! Exactly 1972, the year in which the adjacent (old) Clynelish distillery (a.k.a. Brora) reached the stellar quality we all (should) know by now. If you don’t know Brora 1972 by now, prepare to dish out some serious cash to do so, but then again, you might be a Sheik? Clynelish 32yo 1972/2005 (49.9%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead #15619, 226 bottles)But that’s Brora, here we have a 1972 Clynelish, so it’s distillate from the then newly built distillery next to Brora…

Color: Light Gold

Nose: Old once (painted) wood. The whole nose has a nice oldness to it. A smell you don’t encounter in more modern malts. Lots of woody caramels. The whole nose has some similarities to the 1973 I reviewed some days ago. This one is more leafy though, and less waxy. It’s not only sweets and woods. Pencil shavings and fresh air. Quite clean. Apple skins, nuts and some flowers. Freesia maybe?

Taste: Wood and a thin kind of waxiness. half sweet and a spicy bite of wood (do I detect a hint of smoke?). The wood doesn’t dominate. Also some hints from the animal kingdom. Something along the lines of a sweating horse. Again the added leafiness. Dry leaves and cold and wet black tea leaves. The body is medium to full, but with a lot of character. Orange skins. The finish is longer than I thought, but also thinner due to the lack of the big sweetness and waxiness a lot of Clynelishes have. Having said that I do like this one. It oozes Whisky from times long gone…

Brora’s from 1972 are special amongst others by the use of peat. This Clynelish lacks that peat. The cask itself didn’t do a lot for the whisky, apart from giving some woody traits to the Whisky. Wood, vanillin, that sort of things. This does allow us to have a glimpse at the distillate of Clynelish.

Points: 90

Clynelish 32yo 1974/2006 (58.6%, The Whisky Fair, Bourbon Hogshead, 266 bottles)

After the 1994 Clynelish I reviewed last summer, it took me a lot of months to return to Clynelish. As we all know, Brora 1972 (from the old Clynelish distillery) might be the closest thing to whisky heaven, I know there are more, but bear with me. The distillery built next to the old Clynelish distillery is the current (new) Clynelish distillery, so in fact what we heave here is a whisky made very close to heaven, close in space and close in time. Luckily to keep the legend sort of burning, Clynelish managed to keep up the quality and still makes a pretty decent Whisky. The 1994 reviewed earlier, was above average, now let’s have a look at this 1974 Clynelish.

Clynelish 32yo 1974/2006 (58.6%, The Whisky Fair, Bourbon Hogshead, 266 bottles)Color: Gold

Nose: Slightly farmy, leafy, clean and fruity. Old wax, but more wax off, than wax on. Rather fresh and lively. Dried apricots. Dusty paper, and  powdery. Vanilla. Bold (sour) wood, which is not up front. Naked oak, hence the sourness that sticks to it. It’s not particularly woody, but it ís the wood that keeps it together. Some grounded coffee. Cold cigar tobacco (Havana naturally). Musty clay and late vanilla. It’s not a Banff but I do ‘get’ some mustard here…

Taste: Wow! A nice attack of smoke, cannabis and hops. Creamy sweetness. Like true vanilla ice-cream with an apricot/mango syrup on top. Definitely a nice bite from the wood to accompany it all. The longer I keep it in my mouth the woodier it gets. It’s never too woody though. Quite strong, but it is almost 60% ABV. The finish lacks a bit of sweetness to round it all out. The wood makes it ‘pointier’ and dries out the lips. It does remind me a bit of the 1974 Rare Malts version, which was (also) no punishment to drink, but I liked that one a bit better.

This is one of many bottlings that are dedicated to one of earths finest Whisky festivals, or fairs, of all times. The Whisky Fair in Limburg Am Lahn in Germany that will be held at the end of this month. Of course this is long sold out, but new festival bottlings keep emerging as mushrooms on a wet forest floor, most of them pretty good, to say the least. It’s a very good Clynelish but the last part of the experience keeps it out of the 90 points range.

Points: 89

Glenfiddich 32yo 1974/2006 (47.3%, OB, Private Vintage, for La Maison Du Whisky, Cask #10260, 198 bottles)

Let’s continue with Glenfiddich. Known for their big out turn and fairly priced Whiskies. No cheap entry-level Glenfiddich this time, like the 12yo “Special Reserve” I reviewed earlier, but a super-duper premium Glenfiddich that costs a fortune these days. Cask number 10260 was bottled for the 50th anniversary of La Maison du Whisky. Who hasn’t visited one of their fabulous shops in Paris & Saint-Denis (France) or Singapore? There are a few pretty great 1974 Glenfiddich bottled, even one for Playboy (Cask #10245) and H.M. Queen Elizabeth II (of U.K. fame). So not a bad club to belong to. Here Majesty’s Cask was #2336 (not quite a sister cask of the Playboy one, I would say). Or maybe Glenfiddich filled a lot of casks in 1974. Who knows?

Color: Full and dull gold.

Nose: Old bottle. Oceanic and creamy. Wow. Musky and organic, with fatty old wood (not dry wood) mixed with newer plywood. Clay. Absolutely stunning wood smell. Smelling this you know you have something special on your hands. When smelling this for a prolonged time, you get in the territory of cardboard that has been added to the wood that is more upfront. Through the wood and the cardboard is also something clean, fresh and lively like lemongrass, cola, mint and old lemon skins, but also the more heavy shoe polish and clean wax. Great complexity and balance.

Taste: Again old bottle. Spicy toffee with clay. It’s sweet and has hardly any wood at first! Full mouth. Chewy and waxy. Fantastic. Slightly sour, somewhat thin and papery finish, and the wood came in late, but it is there. It’s more the spice from wood, than the wood itself. Clean and elegant.

Well, obviously you can’t really compare the über-standard 12yo to this, can you? Because all the time when I was trying this, you can clearly see where this is coming from, and it does have a big family resemblance. This definitely is the father of the 12yo.

Points: 91