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I tried the official St Magdalene 1994 release from Diageo’s Rare Malts series. This 23 year old expression has become very scarce and as such, very expensive as well (about 350 EUR). The 19 year old version from 1998 is much more common and will hurt your wallet a lot less. This one was distilled in 1970, my year of birth.
A sturdy nose with quite some oranges and other citrusy notes (lime?), caramel and some smoke. Freshly cut hay and something farmy (like horse’s hide). Adding water makes the sweeter side (vanilla, citrus) more prominent. But it makes the smoky character lessen, which is a shame.
The attack is quite peppery and the dram oily. Mostly the grasses return on the palate, with additional hints of nuts and marzipan. But this is a whisky that can use some water. It turns the nose upside down, moving the animal hide to the front.
The finish (undiluted) is very long and drying. The addition of water, unfortunately, makes the finish quite less interesting.
I thought Lowland whiskies were supposed to be ‘feminine’ (if there is such a thing), but this is quite the bloke. A lady that hasn’t shaved her legs in a while… Hmmm, that’s not such a good comparison, for you might think this is not good whisky. It is. Somewhat like an uncut diamond. Now, if you look at the price (which has nothing to do with the taste, of course), you may decide there is better stuff out there. This St Magdalene is somewhat rough.