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Guaranteed 10 years old seems an odd term to use for a minimum age statement, but this distillery did stand idle for a few years in the 1990’s before Glenmorangie came to the rescue which probably explains it. I first encountered this malt shortly after it’s revival in an Oddbins in Nottinghill, London. I should also have invested in the 17 year old, but alas I was a poor student back then and had other priorities so I never had the pleasure of that famous dram. The mysterious pale, almost colourless liquor, was a shock to my younger self (it didn’t look like whisky as I knew it) but I soon got over it.
There may be a tad more colour to the dram these days, but not much. The aroma is clean and smoky, with a phenolic peat smoke edge, along with some sweeter notes of vanilla and some herby heather like hints. The flavours are awesome and given time to develop reward the drinker with seemingly endless subtle complexities. Not an easy ride though as there almost as many bitter piquant notes as there are sweet mellow ones, smoke, phenolic peat, bitter coffee on one side and sandlewood, chocolate, vanillas and malt on the other and a saltyness marries the twain. The sweeter flavours dominate the long satisfying finish with more malt contribution rising in favour of the peat smoke.