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Mostly known for its painfully generic name and not for the quality of its products, the Speyside distillery is a piece of work. Or should I say “was” a piece of work, ever since new management took over, I’ve heard great things about the current owners, plans for expansion and increasingly positive reviews. Who knows, this relatively young distillery may just become our new Speyside darling! Until a few weeks ago, there was zero chance that I would ever uttered those words: I have tried the bottled awfulness that is Drumguish and was certainly not planning on making that mistake again. Until I, going by the independent bottler’s reputation, came across this little gem from Douglas Laing. Not only was it a pleasant surprise, it was the perfect showcase of what the Speyside distillery is potentially capable of. If I were the distillery owner, I would surely send one of these bottles to potential investors!
Description: distilled in 1996, matured for 18years in refill sherry butt #10441 and bottled in 2014 at 48,1% ABV by independent bottler Douglas Laing for the ‘Old Particular’ range.
Nose: incredible, it just screams plums, dark chocolate, rum and raisins, more notes of supple new leather and something biscuity follow, before the nose is crowned with a soft menthol edge.
Mouth: medium bodied, but with a chili & cinnamon spiced oak fuelled powerhouse on the palate. A fruity touch of pomegranate, cranberry, red currant and of course: more chocolate.
Finish: hearth warming, long and lingering. With an emphasis on the rich oak tannins and black pepper kick.
Verdict: you can definitely tell that I was more than impressed by this dram. The margin between bad or good is for some distilleries like Lagavulin, Glenfarclas or Springbank fairly small: they produce whisky at a constant level of excellence. Other distilleries are more prone to hit and miss releases. But I never saw such disparity between a bottom and top dram, as here with the Speyside distillery. Make sure you pick up a bottle, this whisky has my stamp of approval!