In my last review, I referenced the bottle I'm now writing about as having been bottled in the 1980s. However, I did a bit of research on the packaging and it was actually bottled in the 1970s! The box the bottle comes in is very different from the current packaging, with very old-fashioned images of life in the Scottish highlands printed in relief. It is damaged, with the red and yellow labels that were normally affixed to the box torn off. The bottle does not show an ABV, I'm assuming this is at 43%.
The colour is a honey-amber, a hair darker than the current bottling. Very malty on the nose, with a fantastic pronounced vegetal note - very much an old-style leathery scotch (which I am sure has whiskies that are much older than twelve)! The other elements that the current bottling features - vanilla, soft apples, herbal notes - are there, but the nose is not as sweet. Mmmmmm - smokier with water! A fantastic time machine.
On the palate that old malty, smoky characteristic is certainly there, with apple (not overripe this time), peat, honey, toffee and vanilla. Soft spices. A bit of red liquorice. More oak than the current bottling (no big surprise). Quite rich - and even richer with water (go easy though). Delicious - but still a touch too sweet for me.
The short finish is similar to the current bottling, but the spices are softer. Despite some similarities, you'd have to work pretty hard - and really know your stuff - to say these were the same product (just 40 years apart).