As much as I’d love to buy old bottles of whisky from back 2014-04-10 09:58:00in the day, frankly I don’t have the budget to splash out on ancient single malts.
Unless some generous individual is going to start sending me some samples (offers welcome!) then I have to take a different approach.
I recently read some blog posts about how there are often great finds in old “dusties” which are often overlooked by the high-end collectors. When I had the opportunity to buy a Glenmorangie 10 year old from the 1970s for a lot less than the cost of the current bottling, it seemed worth a punt.
Having previously reviewed the current expression, this would give a good comparison.
Golden straw. Slightly darker than the current expression.
It’s a Glenmorangie all right, with the signature “pear drops” acetone smell, but some malty notes, tropical fruits and honey in there too.
There’s a creamy softness to the nose.
Neat, it’s drier than I expected.
There is some honey sweetness, but disappears quite quickly replaced by a little bitterness and quite a long, dry finish.
Adding a little water opens it up well and produces a welcome cloudiness in the liquid (no chill-filtration here).
Everything gets a bit softer and the dryness moves aside for more honeyed flavours and the tastes of the pear / tropical fruit which was detected in the nose comes through.
With water, it feels quite balanced overall and although it’s not immediately identifiable as older bottling, there is more depth of flavour and mouthfeel than the contemporary expression.
It would be great to try a cask-strength version of this whisky as I suspect some of the flavour has been lost by the low bottling proof.
An interesting experiment, this isn’t a bad whisky at all. The flavours are definitely Glenmorangie, but there are differences to the current 10 year old expression.
It does lack a bit of depth, however it’s only bottled at 70 proof so this may contribute to things. Compared to the current 10 year old, there is more complexity in the flavour, so definitely better on that front.
The dryness and bitter notes were also surprising, but diluting it slightly seemed to balance things out well; I’m not sure if the bitter notes could be contributed to the age of the bottle but without another test sample it’s difficult to say.
Overall however, I’d view this as a success, and it’s encouraged me to seek out a few more cheap dusties to see how they fare.