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Signatory bottlings

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@LeFrog
LeFrog started a discussion

I sampled a Glenburgie 1983 Signatory bottling with a friend this week, a very nice velvety dram and easy to drink. If that's anything to go by I think I'd like their bottlings.

Does anyone else have experience of the signatory range?

14 years ago

19 replies

@Andrew
Andrew replied

I've had quite a few, I gravitate towards the independants because I believe it gives me a better feeling for what the distillery is really about and of course it is an opportunity to try something different that I may never see again. Signitory is one of my favorites, probably coming a close second to the Douglas Laing Series. I have found them to be pretty consistantly good (OK, the Glen Esk was a mistake but what the heck) Some of the other Indies can be a bit hit and miss but I find I can buy from those two with confidence.

14 years ago 0

kian replied

i bought a 19 yo bottle of laphroaig which i am more than happy with its a lovely dram infact im gonna have meself one now seein as how you brought the subject up (any excuse). From what i can see they seem to be a pretty reliable indie but as you would expect some bottlings arent so good as others,always pays to research a few other whisky sites to read their reviews before you buy.

14 years ago 0

kian replied

Theres a good 14 year old glenlivet avaiable on TWE at the minute as part of the Signatory unchillfiltered range.I just had a glass round a friends tonight ,its a good whisky and at £35 is very good value.Also i just opened a nice refill sherry butt clynelish 12 year old, part of the signatory cask strength series, again its a very enjoyable whisky,bit priceier at £50 also available on TWE.

14 years ago 0

@pr0mille
pr0mille replied

I like em too! Own a Signatory Port Ellen (not opened yet), a Bowmore and a Caol Ila. Last one is especially nice. But I was also wondering what 'the scene' thought about them. They are relative cheap and they are seldom mentioned in JM's Whisky Bible. If anyone has some additional info on the distiller..

13 years ago 0

stu replied

I resently tried their Cragganmore 17 yo (1992) and Mortlach 18 yo (1991), both were very nice drams. The Mortlach especially, i scored it 88/100 and intend to get myself a bottle of it before they sell out.

13 years ago 0

ckingphoto replied

I just bought a bottle from their "Un Chill-filtered Collection" of the Caol Ila 1999. it's around 11 years old and really delicious. No caramel either so it looks a beautiful straw / morning light colour. Haven't really sunk into it so I won't rate it yet...

11 years ago 0

@Mantisking
Mantisking replied

I've only had one Signatory bottling, the 1994 Edradour 10yo. I liked it more than the distillery bottling! :-)

11 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@ckingphoto - I've also got a bottle of the Signatory 1999/2011 Caol Ila, but haven't opened it yet. I agree, though, about the beauty and simplicity of its appearance!

11 years ago 0

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

After the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Signatory is one of my favorite independent bottlers, along with Gordon & MacPhail and The Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing). I have owned a Dallas Dhu, Edradour and Glen Ord from Signatory and they were all very good. I currently have another Dallas Dhu from Signatory, but I haven't opened it yet. Based on previous experience, I expect it will be very good as well.

11 years ago 0

Sroberts86 replied

What is it about independent bottles that gives a better picture of what the distillery is about, thats quite interesting. @Andrew Also SMWS are by far the best I have tried, some out there, I think are a bit hit and miss. From my experience the Provenance range is best avoided.

11 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 replied

@Sroberts86...I would say that independants give a better reflection of the distillery as they are typically bottling either one or a small number of casks from a given distillery on a largely 'as is' basis...no colouring, no chill filtration (usually).

The IB's are looking just for good casks to bottle, but are not necessarily concerned with producing a 'consistent' flavour profile from one bottling to another (i.e. the standard Lagavulin 16 will largely keep a similar profile from one batch to another. The distillery will utilize a large number of casks to create that same flavour profile, and to meet the volume demand for that bottling run).

11 years ago 0

Sroberts86 replied

well that's a fair point but I have had so many really poor independents that I am a bit wary. That said I have had some very enjoyable bottles, basically from SMWS and the Big Pete.

11 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 replied

@Sroberts86...I agree, the IB's look for, but don't necessarily always find, the good casks. ;) With IB's, research is key (i.e. a review on-line may be difficult to find, but could be out there...tasting from a bottle that has just been added at a pub, and hoping the local shop still carries some of those bottles).

I would personally steer clear of most IB's that take it upon themselves to 'finish' a cask (i.e. aging a barrel in a wine cask for several months, before bottling)...I'll leave that work/experimentation to the distilleries themselves.

11 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills replied

It would be a disaster if only the IB's get the 'good barrels' and sell them under their name. Nobody would buy the OB's. There have to be bad IB's out there and ofc the distilleries also take the better barrels to mix their stuff. That being said I don't know if IB's are really in general better quality-wise.

11 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 replied

@Wills, "...and ofc the distilleries also take the better barrels to mix their stuff..." This is not necessarily always true. The OB's would take the barrels that, when mixed, provide the most consistent replication of a particular bottling.

Just for the sake of argument (and a bad example since there are few IB's out there from this distillery) if Glenfarclas is putting together a batch of their 15 yo, they are looking to get those signature 'Christmas cake' notes in as consistent quantity, style, and balance as possible from batch to batch. A particular cask they are looking at may be too heavy on a given flavour note to include in the OB bottling batch. If that cask doesn't fit into a bottling batch of a younger OB for the same reason, and if Glenfarclas feels that the cask may go 'off' before it reaches 17 years old (for the next OB line) they may then look to sell it to recoup money. The IB that purchases that cask could end up with an exciting cask to bottle.

Conversely, Glenfarclas may use a 'lower quality' cask in an OB batch because its strong points complement the sought after profile, while the 'off notes' will be sufficiently covered up by the strengths of other casks going into the batch.

You are right though, it does seem that IB's can be very hit/miss, so research is the key. Typically though, if you find a good one, it usually will be excellent value as IB's seem to be (but not always are...depending on the IB) better priced than an OB, relative to age. A small example...I have a Signatory Clynelish 18 yo that I quite enjoyed at a pub on multiple occasions, before getting the bottle that is currently in my cabinet, that cost only $6 more than the 14 yo OB would have.

Sorry for the ramble... :?

11 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills replied

@Pudge72 You are right, I just wanted to point out that not necessarily every cask involved in creating a batch for the OB's is worse than for the IB's. Some casks are better than others and the resulting OB can be better than an IB is. Ofc you can find very different IB's for the 'same dram' which is nice.

I guess the low ABV for lots of OB's is a big issue which you can handle by buying an IB.

11 years ago 0

@two_bitcowboy

@Pudge72 Well said.

Back to Signatory specifically, I've had four recently that I think are fabulous. Aberfeldy 12 year (43%) is the only one that's not from the Un-Chillfiltered Collection. It is a single hogshead, and it betters the OB. The others are Craigellachie 13 1998, Imperial 15 1995, and Longmorn 18 1992: all unf and 46%. Really nice, especially the Longmorn, which is 2 years older than the OB and $25 less expensive (and doesn't have the goofy packaging).

11 years ago 1Who liked this?