Arthur Bell is one of the prominent figures in whisky history. He started blending his own whisky in Perth back in 1851, to make sure his whisky was of consisted quality. No less than 40 malts and grain whisky’s went into the famous blend, that became the absolute bestselling brand in the U.K. in the 1970 and is still doing very well. An important part is Blair Athol, but also Glenkinchie and even a splash of Caol Ila make up the blend. We’re trying an auldie from the 1980s that has a neck label that says ‘over 5 years old’. The tagline ‘Extra Special’ was even patented in 1895!
I am fond of this nose from the first whiff. Warm on marzipan, pineapple, some orchard fruit and Sirop de Liège. Quince, gooseberries and a hint of Turkish Delight. A bit candy-like, but very inviting at the same time. It’s a good sign when I feel the urge to sip immediately.
The body is a bit light, to be honest. Sweet and a touch peppery on more orchard fruit (mostly apples and pears) and syrup, just like the nose promised. Although the marzipan is now replaced by toffee, but it is pleasant enough. A bit simply, but good. Dangerously quaffable.
The finish is pretty long, in which the candy-like side of this blend shines through once more.
Well, about a year ago I tried an old Bell’s Extra Special (NAS). This one is from the same era, but so much better. Pleasant surprise.