Old Pulteney 1989 25 years 54.1%

Distilled 15 November 1989, bottled at the distillery by Leif Olav 23 May 2015, cask number 4148.


Nose: Fruity. Candied oranges, passionfruit, dried apricot, vanilla and oaky perfumes. With water it gets a faintly perfumed smokiness, incense, perhaps?

Palate: Chocolate confectionery. Dark chocolate with a pssion fruit filling, brittle and i touch of salt. Engine oil shows up when water is added, as does old, dry oak. The finish is long and consists of oak, dark chocolate and dark cherries.

Comments: Very nice indeed. Classic Old Pulteney in many respects, and age has weathered it nicely without letting the oak take over. I’ve only got a sample, unfortunately, I’d really like a bottle – or five – of this one.

Springbank Rum Wood 12 years 54.6%

Distilled 1989, bottled April 2002 (newly opened bottle).

springbank_rumwood Nose: Rum, apple, butterdough. Chalk and ashes. More ashes with water, but also fresher fruit, green grapes and spruce shoot tips.
Palate: Butterscotch first, malt and cedar wood. The finish is dry, bitter and somewhat ashy, but the buttery taste stays. Water brings out oatcakes with butter, with green grapes, but no cheese.

Comments: Original, but is it good? Unfortunately I have to settle for “No”. It’s the bitterness on the palate again, and there is not enough sweetness to balance it. And this weird buttery character. Is it because of the rum cask? Rum hardly tastes of butter, so I don’t know. Could it be the fattiness of the spirit that reacts this way with the rum cask? In any case, I’m underwhelmed, again.

Springbank Sherry Wood 13 years 53.2%

Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).

springbank_sherrywoodNose: Plums, apples and a hint of cinnamon. Vague whiff of a lit fireplace and ashes. With water it develops sweathy leather and a lightly bitter note, green tree, tobacco and herbs.

Palate: Dusty malt floors, apple compote with cinnamon, red berries, lightly bitter. The bitterness grows with water, it develops tobacco on the palate as well and gets an obvious saltiness (especially on the tip of the tongue). It’s the bitterness, salt and lightly ashy notes that stick around as a finish.

Comments: The nose is lovely and complex, but the palate reminds me of why I’m never completely sold on Springbank. There is too much bitterness for it to work for me.

Springbank Port Wood 13 years 54.2%

Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).


Nose: Red, sweet plums, vanilla and oak, strawberry jam. With water it develops marzipan. Only once I’ve added quite a lot of water does a faint smokiness appear, and at the same time it smells like a boiled sweets factory.

Palate: Sweet wood, a hint of smoke, sweet liquorice. Water gives it a bitter, oaky bite, which for once is a good thing as it balances the sweetness a bit. There is also a whiff of burnt rubber.

Comments: Well. Too sweet by far to be a winner, but a decent session dram.

Laphroaig 1989 23 years 48.9%

This is a special bottling Laphroaig did last year exclusively for the Scandinavian market.

Nose: Smoked and barbequed meat, bonfires and cheese. I get Applewood vibes and that is never a bad thing. With water there is less meat and more ashes, but also red berries and smoked seaweed.

Palate: Less interesting than the nose, but very nice. Fridge ice and ashes. Water sharpens the taste and brings out a slight bitterness and orange peel.

Comments: Perfectly drinkable at full strength, but water gives it another dimension. A great dram. The only negative thing I can think of is a somewhat short finish, the smoke lingers but nothing else.

Linkwood 1989-2002 Cadenhead 56.3%

From a sherry hogshead, one of 264 bottles. A dreg, and it has been open for a while, so there may have been loss of aroma and flavour.

Nose: Apricots, baked apple (but no cinnamon). With a little water it provides a hint of smoke and cloves or even aniseed.

Palate: Faint smoke, heather honey, heather, spice (allspice and cloves), and peaches.