Glenallachie 37yo 1973/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, Bourbon Hogshead #6746, 266 bottles, 500 ml)

After all those fairly recent distillates, I guess its time to look at something older. This time we’ll have a look at a 37 year old expression of Glenallachie bottled by the Dutch Whisky Investors: The Whisky Talker. The Mo Òr line of Single Malt Whiskies was thought of as an investment, or as a luxury gift for business people. Sometimes you can even encounter a bottle like this in a super-duper hotel bar. Yes, Whisky is the new Swiss Watch or a premium golf-set. Glenallachie though, is one of the workhorses of Pernod Ricard, a laborer, meant for the Clan Campbell blend, not really a luxury brand isn’t it? But if you are worrying about the size of your next yacht, who cares? Ignorance is bliss. Let’s see if this old Glenallachie is any good.

Glenallachie 37yo 1973/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, Bourbon Hogshead #6746, 266 bottles, 500 ml)Color: Almost gold.

Nose: Soft and fruity. Next, some old bottle effect and great Speyside seventies fruity wax. Anoraks know this from Caperdonichs from 1972 and Tomatin’s from 1976, to name but a few. Vanilla plays a nice part in keeping the whole together. Definitely a (second) refill Hogshead. The cask wasn’t very active, but over almost 40 years, the wood did play it’s part in ageing this Whisky. Just let this breathe and it gets even better and better. Hints of old soft (sugared) mint in the background. Almond cookies with a bit of dust on them. Old wooden floor and a very distant smoky touch. The mint holds its ground and keeps accompanying the rest of the aroma’s from the nose. Great old malt, but it has its limitations. Lacks a bit of development compared to some of the (non-Sherried) greats from that era, but the whole is still fantastic and a treat to nose. Don’t get me wrong. Maybe this one shouldn’t have been reduced, although at 46% it’s still no dud.

Taste: Quite light and fruity. Sure, Speyside peach from old American wood. Hints of paper. Slightly sweet black tea with raspberry flavour. Especially here tasting it, the reduction shows itself. Making the whole a bit thin and shortening the finish. Also the cask seems to have been a bit tired. Hints of wood and sawdust and a hint of white wine. Sweaty high quality Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire. The wood shows a more soft mocha note now. Sawdust and pencil shavings. The mint from the nose stays behind in the back of my throat.

Whisky from a great time, but not the best expression from that time though. Probably a bit too tired a cask, and certainly should have not been reduced. It may have been already a bit frail and reducing it may have dulled it down. However, it still is an example of aged Speyside Whisky from the era, with this wonderful fruitiness and lighter style. I don’t know why, but this screams for some Roxy music from 1973. “The Bogus Man” sounds just right.

Points: 87

Followed this up with the 1976 Benromach. Both are 46% ABV, and both score 87 points, but the The Glenallachie is lighter, and smells more like a Whisky from another time. I would prefer the Glenallachie, especially for its nose.

Tamdhu 23yo 1987/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #3649, 656 bottles, 500ml)

Earlier I reviewed two young Tamdhu’s, a 2004 and a 2005 bottled by dutch indie bottlers The Ultimate (Van Wees) and both turned out to be pretty good. This time we’ll have a look at a much older 1987 bottling by another dutch outfit, this time Mo Òr (The Whisky Talker). Tamdhu’s are usually pretty good when matured in Oloroso, so I’m guessing this also wil not be too wonky.

Tamdhu 23yo 19872010 (46%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #3649, 656 bottles, 500ml)Color: Orange gold.

Nose: Lovely creamy Sherry. Nice alcoholic nuttiness. Clay and cask toast. Not too cloying and can be even called fresh, like in a breath of fresh air (carrying a little bit of dust). Licorice mixed with a hint of burnt leaves. Very aromatic, just move it around in your glass and lots of aroma leaps out of the glass. Creamy vanilla and some good oak. Nice balance and highly aromatic. Medium complexity but very appetizing.

Taste: Creamy with licorice and cask toast. Warming, and half-sweet. Clotted cream. However, already from the start this has a “thin” quality to it, which is remarkable since the nose was so aromatic and full. In stead of the creamy and honeyed sweetness, it starts with a sharpish burnt note. Charcoal and in the background a tiny hint of sulphur. The vanilla cream comes later. Smoky toffee. Warming with good creamy sherry and although the start was thin, the finish does linger on a bit.

I’m guessing this was better at cask strength. Very appetizing. good stuff and the kind of Whisky you’ll want to have first when this is in your collection, so easily drinkable. A bottle that will be empty soon, also because it’s only 500ml. Yup, not wonky at all.

Points: 88

Glenglassaugh 26yo 1983/2009 (50.4%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #171, 885 bottles, 500ml)

Glenglassaugh LogoIt’s been a while since a bottling of Dutch indie bottlers Mo Òr graced these pages, but it certainly is the first Glenglassaugh. Last MoÒr was an old Aultmore that turned out to be very good. This time we’ll have a look at an example of Glenglassaugh, an ex-closed distillery. The demand for Whisky is so great these days, that the industry resurrected every distillery that still could be reopened. Even when cold economics suggested more money could be made, distilleries only got demolished to make way for an even bigger more modern (read: efficient) distillery (Imperial). Only recently Diageo announced they are going to hugely expand Mortlach, and it ptobably won’t be the last one.

A new bottling by the reopened Glenglassaugh: The Glenglassaugh RevivalSo any distillery that reasonably could be reopened is reopened, the rest is demolished, stripped bare, or otherwise made unusuable. I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if Diageo decides to cash in on the name, and reopen Brora! Besides this, more and more new distilleries are popping out of the ground like mushrooms on a forest floor…

Back to Glenglassaugh. Glenglassaugh itself was founded in 1875 but was closed already in 1908, and fell silent for a whopping 23 years! It reopened in 1931 just to be closed again 5 years later, in 1936. This time the distillery wasn’t working for 24 years. Reopened in 1960, the distillery was fitted with new stills, but still it didn’t manage to stay open permanently, because it was closed again in 1986. It was reopened (again) in 2008, after an extensive 22 years of silence. Since then the distillery has already changed hands. What a rocky past!

Glenglassaugh 26yo 1983/2009 (50.4%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #171, 885 bottles, 500ml)Color: Copper Brown.

Nose: Hmmmm, very nice and classic Oloroso! The smell seems chewy! Nice woody spices emerge, but in this case, the whole smell is fantastic. With some air, the Sherry becomes even more funky which only adds to its likeability and complexity. The smell is dry and dusty, but not meaty. The wood plays an important role, it’s an integral part of it, without overpowering it. After some time, more heavy elements are coming out, hints of dates, coal and tar and toasted cask (and some violet soap, but it suits the Whisky).

Taste: Toffee and caramel, initially sweeter than expected, but quickly turning dry. What a bomb of aroma! Just put a few drops in your mouth and you know exactly how this tastes. It seems condensed! Laurel and hints of licorice on the back of my tongue. Dark fruits are in the mix too, blackberries mostly and blueberries are present in the finish. The finish itself is fantastic. It’s great that this Whisky retained a little bit of sweetness, which matches the dryness and the spiciness of the wood. I guess this was bottled at its peak. Well done!

Guys, thank you for not reducing it. I already thought your reduced Tomatin and the Caperdonich were fantastic, both at 91 points, but this cask strength Glenglassaugh blows them hands down! Excellent!

Points: 93

Aultmore 36yo 1974/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, Bourbon Hogshead #3740, 264 bottles, 500ml)

Here we have an Aultmore from 1974. The one official bottling in the Rare Malts range was also from 1974. Three years ago Douglas Laing bottled a 1974, and even more recently, two bottlings from The Whisky Agency saw the light of day. There is one more by Adelphi, but more about that one later.

Aultmore was founded in 1896 by Alexander Edward who also founded the Craigellachie distillery with Peter Machie in 1891. In 1896, Mr. Edward also owned the Benrinnes distillery. Mr. Edward sold Aultmore to John Dewar’s and Sons in 1923. John Dewar’s and Sons naturally became part of what is today Diageo, but Diageo sold the whole of John Dewar’s and Sons to Bacardi in 1998. Aultmore was built with two stills and two more stills were added in 1971, so this 1974 Aultmore was already made with four stills.

Color: Full gold

Nose: Estery and full. Seems sweet and has a perfect woody touch. Powdery with vanilla, but also some vegetal sourness creeps in, but only in whiffs, it’s not always there. Malty freshness, and the slightest hint of cow-dung, great! This kind of organics in Whisky is the best, look at all those fantastic Brora’s. I really like the complete profile this nose shows me. A great, but toned down or laid back Whisky. It doesn’t shout from rooftops it’s great, but whispers. People who know, will hear it’s call.

Taste: Woody cannabis, and in this case that’s very nice. Sugary sweet, but the “wood” is the taste giver of this malt. Mind you this is not a woody malt. It’s like somehow there is some fruit in here but it isn’t allowed to get out. Medium, slightly disappointing finish, and probably the reduction could have been skipped, since the Whisky shows some laziness. Could have been fuller, if so I’m shure it would have scored in the 90’s. Nevertheless a great Whisky!

One of my favorite Aultmore’s is also from 1974, a bottling by Adelphi, Cask #3739, yes a sister cask! That one yielded only 101 bottles @ 49.6% ABV. Cask #3740 yielded 264 bottles reduced to 46%, so I’m guessing this was a lot higher in ABV (I can’t imagine Adelphi doing a cask share, but you never know). If memory serves me well, this sister cask also has a lot of yellow fruits, cask #3740 lacks. I have a bottle of Adelphi’s 1974 Aultmore, so in the future, that one will be reviewed on these pages too…

Points: 88

Thanks go out to Dirk for handing me this sample some time ago…

Ardmore 18yo 1992/2011 (46%, Mo Ór, Bourbon Hogshead #5013, 286 bottles)

Three months ago, I reviewed two Ardmore’s, and was very pleasantly surprised, not to mention impressed. At a certain moment I even called it the present day’s Brora, or something of that nature. First a 1992 bottled by Domiek Bouckaert a.k.a. The Whiskyman, that scored a nice 89 points, and second a 1993 by the omnipresent Gordon & MacPhail. G&M’s version still got a very nice 87 points. Both malts were available for (much) less than 100 Euro’s, and that’s a steal in today’s feverish market. Today after a week’s absence, let’s have a go at this 1992 bottled by Mo Ór. Let’s hope it will do as well as the other 1992.

Color: White wine.

Nose: Nice, fresh acidic and aromatic lemon, but it has a lot more going for it. The wood comes across as pretty sweet with lot’s of vanilla. A storm of fresh air, as I said, very fresh and quite clean. Barley. I remember the other Ardmore’s as more dirty versions of Ardmore. I can hardly detect any peat in this and the smoke does need some time to manifest itself. Perfumy it is and slightly buttery (hot butter). Actually this is a lovely whisky on the nose. Not very complex, but it does have a well-balanced nose.

Taste: Hmm, licorice, clay and the (earthy) grains from the nose return. I expected a bit more of an attack, but it stays a bit back. Well don’t underestimate the smoke now! That’s here in abundance, but there isn’t a lot more coming from this. I guess this one was quite clean and lovable from the start, but I feel the reduction to 46% ABV didn’t benefit the Whisky this time. It has a late and mild fruitiness to it, pineapple and the fatty, sweetish smokiness is quite nice. Still as with the nose, the palate is undemanding and of average balance. The finish is of medium length.

This time around, the cask didn’t do much for the whisky, probably second or third refill considering the color and age. Still a well-earned…

Points: 84

Tomatin 34yo 1976/2011 (46%, Mo Òr, Sherry Butt #4, 954 bottles, 500 ml)

I had a craving for a nice fruit bomb, so I pulled this Tomatin by indie bottlers Mo Òr out of its hidingplace. As many of you might know. 1976 is a pretty famous year for Tomatin. Lots of (Independent) bottlings from this year are considered amongst the best around. Bottles from this year by The Whisky Agency or by Duncan Taylor fetch amazing prices when sold at auctions. Just not a lot of Tomatin 1976 around at shops anymore…

Color: Copper Gold.

Nose: Yeah! is the first word that comes to mind, nosing this. Waxy and fruity, but also a nice kind of old dustiness. Chocolate, mocha and old laid back Sherry, more of the Fino kind if you ask me. Very structured and refined. Probably a refill cask. A little bit creamy. Distinguished, but not the famous 70’s (exotic) fruits in this, like we know from the 30yo. Very elegant wood, combined with an acidic kind of smell. Mocha again and a little hint of vanilla.

Taste: Nice peppery and woody attack at first and then yes, a mouth coating layer of tropical fruit cocktail, that pushes everything aside for a while. The pepper stays, but the wood vanishes for a moment, but returns. Great effect! Papaya, pineapple and passionfruit. Maybe some mango (maybe not). What a nice cloying finish of fruits, wood, paper and chocolate. The pepper is gone by now, but an added note of Gewürztraminer finishes the whole off. Nice.

This is again a perfect example of how great Tomatin’s from 1976 are. It may not be the most over-complex distillate around, but the way the fruits shines through is truly amazing. This is sooo nice. I love this!

Points: 91

Thanks go out to Henk for the Sample.

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, First Fill Sherry Butt #6, 1076 bottles, 500 ml)

Next up Glen Scotia, also a first on these pages. Glen Scotia hails from Campbeltown, once a big place for whisky with regional status (again). Try to imagine a place that has almost 30 distilleries working at one time in the 19th Century. Not so long ago this Glen Scotia was the ‘other one’ from Campbeltown after the well-known Springbank. Today Springbank makes also Longrow and Hazelburn. And from the same owners the recent ‘addition’ that is Glengyle Distillery (Kilkerran). Let’s say that Glen Scotia is the only Campbeltown distillery not owned by the people of Springbank. Owner today is Loch Lomond Distillery Co. and the place is fairly run down. When the distillery was mothballed in 1994, the staff of Springbank restarted intermittent production in 1999, not to lose the regional status of Campbeltown. A status lost eventually, but eventually reinstated.

The distillery was founded in 1832 by the Galbraith family. For one reason or another the label on the bottles state 1835. Lots of changes of ownership during the years and even some closures in 1928 and 1984. Since 2000 Loch Lomond has taken over Glen Scotia and runs the distillery with its own staff.

Color: Copper Gold.

Nose: Very musty and dirty. Fruity as in fresh sweet apples mixed with apple compote. A very nice hint of smoke and coal that reminds me of an old steam locomotive. It actually smells like something from the industrial revolution. Old Skool? Lets move on. Mint and still a lot of apple. Lit matchstick. Nice balance and easy. Not very complex. Underneath it all, a sort of sweet wood smell, very laid back.

Taste: Wood and toffee. Caramels and quite a bit of ash and toasted cask. A nice bite and definitely a firm body. Sulphury (of the egg kind) and quite some oaky and milky sourness. Actually I get some more egg notes, especially boiled egg (the white part). Closing in on the finish, it dries out a bit, and is not as big as expected. Here the wood plays a much greater role, than on the nose. Not as balanced as the nose.

Usually you’d expect more color after 18 years in a First Fill Sherry Butt, so this must be a Fino (again) and it kinda goes into that direction.

I was asked to keep an eye out for sulphur in this one. It’s there slightly on the nose (as a burning match). But it is more pronounced on the palate (the bite here comes not only from the wood, but also from the sulphur. Usually there is some sulphur in Sherried Glen Scotia’s. Lots of it in a 1991 Cadenheads offering if I remember correctly. It’s there on the palate and even more so in the finish (late). Is it ruining the balance or the palate? Does it disturb me? No, it’s some kind of good sulphur. it’s somewhat hidden. It’s there but not in the usual obvious way. That happens sometime, that’s why I called it good sulphur. Still, overall there isn’t a lot of sulphur in this one, so don’t worry. And hey, sulphur is good for the skin!

Points: 84