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.

BenRiach 25 years 50%

Shhh, whisky sleeping! The warehouse at BenRiach.
Shhh, whisky sleeping! The warehouse at BenRiach.

Nose: Vanilla, sauna, orange marmelade. With water dried cranberries, black pepper, honey and lavender.

Palate: Wooden planks warmed by the sun, a bitter oak note, hints of dried fruits. Water opens for apricot and honey, and for toffee and a hint of liquorice on the finish.

Comments: Nice complexity, though it needs a little time in the glass to open properly. There is too much wood on both the nose and palate for my taste, but only just too much, so if you’re more into old whisky than I am, you should definitely check this one out.

Aberlour 1988 25 years Old Malt Cask 52.3%

Nose: Tinned peaches, newly broken fruit tree branches, pear peel and the inside of an ex- bourbon cask. Adding a little water gives me fresh pears, maltiness and a very slight hint of liquorice.

Palate: Vanilla, warm sauna, applesauce, coriander seeds and tinned peaches. Water brings out tart fruit and a hint of black peppercorns.

Comments: This is just how it should be. An integrated wood character which does not overwhelm and a fine fruitiness from the spirit. I’d happily buy a bottle of this.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Balvenie 1974 25 years 46.9%

Cask number 3209.


Nose: The first impression is fruity and flowery. Vanilla, tinned fruit salad, cedar wood and dry oaky bitterness follows. Water brings out apple pie with cinnamon, a pie with a somewhat soggy crust.

Palate: Banana and oak, clear malty notes. Dry oakish bitterness on the palate as well. Water doesn’t make much difference, the oak turns greener. The finish has something reminicent of calvados.

Comments: Quite nice, but doesn’t quite make the grade. I can’t help think price/performance. It’s nice, yes, but not THAT nice. My main gripe is with the dry oaky bitterness permeating the whole. But would I go for a second dram if offered?  You betcha.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample and the picture.