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Imperial 17yo 1995/2013 Douglas Laing, Director’s Cut, #9527

A well-earned dram

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@PandemoniumReview by @Pandemonium

13th Aug 2015


Imperial 17yo 1995/2013 Douglas Laing, Director’s Cut, #9527
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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My third encounter with Imperial was rather unexpected. After a long day of wading through mud, patches of ice, melting snow and rocks in Jotunheimen. I finally arrived at the DNT fjellstue Leirvassbu. As the valley was still a frozen wasteland I decided to spend the night in the lodge, instead of setting up my tent.

To my surprise they had a small collection of whisky on offer, which included an exclusive bottle of Imperial. As alcohol is almost as pricy as gold in Norway, I paid an astronomical price to quench my thirst. But it was worth it …

Description: a 17yo Imperial, matured in a refill Bourbon hogshead #9527 and bottled by Douglas Laing for their premium Director’s Cut range.

Nose: a fresh flowery profile opens with subdued notes of stewed apples, crispy barley with a tiny sniff of vanilla. In time, more complex aromas of aniseed and overripe bananas with a cinnamon edge emerge from the glass.

Mouth: light bodied but with a powerful fruity character on the palate. A bouquet of orchard fruits with a few tropical notes, is accompanied by a spicy peppery mouthfeel from the Oakwood. Once again a profile of aniseed and grain shows itself.

Finish: medium long, with both fruity and sweet (butterscotch) notes, lots of white pepper in the tail though.

The Verdict: money well spent, an excellent on-profile Imperial. With the ever dwindling supply from this lost Speysider, these may very well be the last affordable bottles on the market. Imperial never made much of a name for itself in its heyday, but just like Littlemill it only decided to show its true colours after its walls had been torn down and more matured casks hit the market. Will Dalmunach ever become a worthy successor? Only time will tell.

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