Rare Ayrshire 1975 35 years Signatory Cask Strength 45.5%

Distilled 21.02.1975, bottled 05.08.2010, matured in an ex-bourbon cask with cask number 553.

It’s an open secret that Signatory’s Rare Ayrshire contains single malt from Ladyburn, but they are not allowed to state so on the label.


Nose: Shortbread, honey. With water I get tart apples and after a while vanilla and sherbet powder.

Palate: Fruity oak, maltiness. More apple pie with water.

Comments: Not bad at all, though less complex than I could wish for.

Highland Park 1990 16 years Signatory 56.1%

Distilled 13.12.1990, bottled 12.06.2007, from cask number 15688. 1st fill sherry butt.

highlandpark1990sampleNose: Quite closed. A little vanilla and baked pears. Water brings out smoke, orange peel and white flowers.

Palate: The smoke may be hiding on the nose, but is obvious on the palate; cold bonfire. Also freshly baked wholemeal bread with honey. With water the smoke turns chalky, and I find flower nectar and honeydew melon.

Comments: First a note on the colour. It’s not obvious from the picture, but this is hardly darker than the average white wine. What’s up with that? 1st fill sherry should normally be much more visible. And the nose and palate have no very obvious sherry notes, either. If you buy this because you like sherry bombs you will be bitterly disappointed.

But otherwise: What’s not to like? A really, really nice Highland Park cask Signatory have got their hands on, even if it seems to be mislabeled.

Another sample I have forgotten the origin of. I really need to create a better system for samples!

Cambus Single Grain 1991 Signatory Cask Strength 53.8%

Distilled July 1991, bottled October 2013. Tasted at Casc in Aberdeen.

Nose: Oaky banana, oak, green banana peel, vanilla and green wood.

Palate: New American oak, vanilla, hint of liquorice.

Comments: Confirms the “old grain is kinda nice” rule. Not terribly exciting, but very nice.

Bunnahabhain 24 years 1988 Signatory Cask Strength 55.9%

From an ex-sherry butt #2800. Tasted at Casc in Aberdeen.

Nose: A lot of alchohol, chocolate covered cherries. With water it turns more towards orange marmelade.

Palate: A lot of alchohol, oak and dark chocolate. Water brings out orange marmelade spiced with ginger.

Comments: There is something vaguely smoky both on the nose and palate  – dry and ashy – I’m wondering whether it comes from the oak or whether the spirit is actually smoky. A very good dram, but worth the money (GBP 13.10 for one dram)? Well, considering what Bunna is doing with NAS bottlings at the moment… probably not.

BenRiach Heavily Peated 1994 Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection 46%

IMG_20130522_21445610 år gammel, destillert 20.06.1994, tappet 11.10.2004, hogshead fat nummer 1643.

Nose: “Heavily peated” is no lie, the peat smoke hits you even as you’re pouring your dram. In addition I find oranges and grapefruit and something juniper bush’esque. With water the fruit turns to apricots or peaches, but the smoke stays. It smells like a kiln.

Palate: Peat smoke and juniper wood. With water a fruitcakey sweetness appears.

Comments: A perfectly drinkable peated dram, but no stunner. Better on the nose than on the palate.