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St Magdalene has been closed since 1983 and the bottle I will try today was already released in 1998 by Diageo in their celebrated Rare Malts series. I previously tried their 23 Year Old from 1994, but today I will try their 19 Year Old from 1998, distilled in 1979. With an alcohol level exceeding 60%, I think it is only logical to have some water at hand.
The nose is sweet and malty. I get wood, caramel, oranges, woodsmoke, but also a lot of alcohol. Let me add a splash of water. Now the true, complex nature surfaces. Some horse hide, believe it or not! Again mostly oranges and caramel, but also hay and vanilla and some more smoke. Marzipan? Yep, this is quite excellent.
Without water, it simply scorches the tongue, although it does so in a fruity way. Even some smoke. Peat? Loads of oranges and caramel again. But it is much more complex than that, if you add some water. Then the fruit is joined by a lot of spices (mostly vanilla and nutmeg) and nuts, lime and blood oranges. They hay enhances, as do the nuts. Almonds. Oily. Brilliant.
In the long, dry finish, the oak speaks once more.
Wow, what a whisky! One that definitely needs water, but keeps you enthralled for minutes on end. If you want to get your hands on a bottle today, you will need to cough up over 600 EUR.