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Bells HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer Commemorative Decanter 1981

Four Times the Bell Tolls - Part II of IV

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

29th Jul 2018


Bells HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer Commemorative Decanter 1981
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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While I was in Campbeltown a few years ago, I walked into a thrift shop and found, for £15 (I think) a Bell's ceramic decanter commemorating the wedding of Charles and Diana. Of course, I didn't think twice about buying it, especially since it was unopened. I then wondered if it had been emptied and filled back up with water or tea or something, since the price was so low (when I got home, I found the same decanter for sale at auction for $300+). HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married on July 29th 1981 (exactly 37 years ago today). Bell's issues a number of decanters, usually annual Christmas releases but also commemorative ones for royal marriages and other such nonsense.

There is no age statement but it's probably eight years old (the age of the standard Bell's release at the time). And it is genuine - the cork broke when I tried to open it!

The colour is a medium amber (same as today's standard bottling). On the nose we have some honey, golden raisin, milk chocolate, herbs and prickly peat. Green apple skins. More citrus than today's standard bottling of Bell's; also a bit spicier. Water brings out some richer cereal notes, which adds some body. Nice nose but missing the complexity of today.

Unfortunately, quite thin and nondescript on the palate. There is some honey, peat and vanilla here, with a bit of spice. But where is the rich nuttiness of today's Bell's? Ah, water adds a maltier core as well as a bit more spice. Hmmmm....

The finish is more interesting - long with more oak, dark honey, cinnamon and paprika. This is a strange one, as water makes all the difference here. Maybe after 37 years in a ceramic decanter, it needs some time to oxidize and open up?? And the more I leave it, the better it gets. Too bad the cork broke, I'll have to MacGyver something to keep it sealed....

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