Aged Spirits  

Fahrenheit 173 - Aged Spirits

"If it's not good enough to drink slowly, then it's not worth drinking"

Rare Malts

 11 Nov 2005  

The latest batch of "Rare Malts" is here and this will be the final release in a series that was started a little over ten years ago. Diageo will discontinue the Rare Malts in order to concentrate on their "Special Releases".

The Rare Malts were usually good, some­times ex­cel­lent but always in­ter­est­ing, often from closed dis­til­leries. The bottlings were always cask strength, uncoloured and un­chill­fil­tered. And that right from the start in 1995, years before un­chill­fil­tered whiskies became trendy.

I for one am sad to see the Rare Malts go. The Special Releases series is certainly picking up speed, but I doubt that it can fill the hole that Rare Malts will leave. Compared to Rare Malts, I predict that we'll see fewer bottlings from the less well known dis­til­leries (such as Linkwood, Inchgower, Auchroisk) and more bottlings from the famous ones (Talisker, Port Ellen etc). The trend also goes towards quite old whiskies and/or in very small numbers. All this adds up to my biggest problem with the Special Releases: They are very expensive. Let's just hope that future releases will be more affordable and less "Super Premium".

On to my tast­ing notes: (they're a bit sketchy, un­for­tu­nately)

Linkwood 1974 30 yrs.: Very nice fruitiness on the nose; fairly light, complex and very nice palate with fruity, minty notes. (88-89 p)

Millburn 1969 35 yrs.: Fairly rich with a (dis­ap­point­ing) dry, spicy, oaky character but also a nice fruitiness. The oldest ever bottling in the series, but a few years past its prime, I believe. (84 p)

Glen Mhor 1976 28 yrs.: Light, sort of creamy palate with notes of apples and melon and a hint of peat. Overall nice and bal­anced yet unspectacular. (85 p)

Glendullan 1978 26 yrs.: Hmm, remarkably similar to the Glen Mhor I just had! Now, there are three possible reasons for this: a) I was mistakenly given the same whisky twice, b) the two whiskies are actually very similar, or c) since this is the tenth whisky I'm drinking tonight (on an empty stomach) I'm no longer in a condition to write tast­ing notes. Whatever the reason, I'll have to try this one again at some stage... Updated Nov. 24: Light, fruity nose with apples, nice but not entirely convincing. Much nicer palate; creamy, fruity and a little spicy. (86 p)

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