Distilled on the 24th of April 1954 at the Glen Grant distillery, left to mature in cask number 1822, a first fill Sherry puncheon, for 59 years, until bottled at 40% in the Gordon & MacPhail Rare Vintage range on the 3rd of February 2014. That is quite an old whisky…! Gordon & MacPhail generously send over a sample of this #RareVintage whisky to enjoy so I took some time with this one for sure, thinking of the time it spend sleeping in the warehouses after pouring it in my glass, letting it breath a bit, with all the many key moments that happened since then in history. So much has changed and happened since it was put into the cask…
Quite some time in the glass after pouring it is releasing more and more strong sweet flavours of dirty leather, raspberry jam, red crumbly apples, vanilla, soft young lemon mint leaves and a smell of dusty dunnage warehouse floor mixed with soft nutty tones. All soft, but very clearly present. An apple sweet, very fruity nose, with an edge of spices, toffee, leather and nuts. Very promising.
I find that the flavours on the palate are more thicker then on the nose. Where on the nose the fresh fruity notes still were overpowering the dryer nutty, leather and spice notes, on the palate these come more to the front in combination with sticky toffee, oranges, dark chocolate, apricots, raisins and prunes. The finish is of a good length leaving some of the notes like cinnamon, aniseed and ginger behind mixed with creamy vanilla, plums and fresh grapefruit.
Adding a drop of water to it, just to see if the note of liquid Christmas cake that was left behind after tasting it neat will become less dense and release other flavours. For a whisky this age and bottling strength I am always very reluctant to add water, but with this kind of cask maturation it often can give you some great changes in the whisky and surprise you with a whole new array of flavours. If you don’t try, you don’t know.
So carefully adding drop by drop, in between them sniffing the glass, waiting to see what happens, it slowly changes after a couple of drops on the nose and the fresh citrus, anise seed and mint notes come to the front more then before, giving me a feeling of walking through an old library, packed with rows and rows of old books, leather reading chairs and an old fireplace.
The palate is less dense and shows more the fruit notes now with red apples, strawberry, redcurrant, raspberry, oranges, lemon, grapefruit, grilled pineapple, galia melon and pear juice (in the end on the finish) I think it does not need a lot of water added otherwise it will fall apart, but it changes the balance in the different kind of flavours for sure! Thanks Gordon & MacPhail for sharing this piece of history!