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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

April 17, 2013


Are these Imperials imperial?

Imperial, after Littlemill, is now selected by many passionate boutique bottlers. There must be one reason or three…

Imperial 17 yo 1995/2013 'Idunn' (49.5%, Dram of the Lords, bourbon barrel, 131 bottles)

Imperial 17 yo 1995/2013 'Idunn' (49.5%, Dram of the Lords, bourbon barrel, 131 bottles) Four stars Oh my, Idunn’s another Nordic god (rather a goddess). Now, it seems that Dram of the Lords have started using those even before Highland Park… Colour: straw. Nose: ha-ha! Flints, lemon and mints all over the place at first nosing, then more and more citrus fruits, lemon again but also tangerines and grapefruits. A very zesty one, ultra-clean and well balanced. After fifteen minutes, a little beeswax and vanilla come through. Hints of camphor. Mouth: a blend of all citrus fruits liqueurs known to Man, with a grassy backbone as well as quite some lemon honey to kind of bind all that. The strength is perfect, no water is needed. Finish: long, grassier, with more lemon zest and more bitters. Campari? Or high-end gin? Comments: a perfect grassy-citrusy Imperial that’ll take little prisoners. For lovers of cool climate riesling or chenin blanc (like we make over here, of course, haha). Almost went up to 88/100. SGP:651 - 87 points.

Imperial 1995/2013 (52.7%, Jack Wieber, Old Passenger Liners, 298 bottles)

Imperial 1995/2013 (52.7%, Jack Wiebers, Old Passenger Liners, 298 bottles) Four stars After the old trains, old ships! And always a smart old-school layout. Colour: pale gold. Nose: this is more austere, grassier, less emphatically citrusy, more mineral and, above all, much grassier. The mint shines through again. After fifteen minutes: it became much more aromatic, this time with more medicinal notes, that is to say camphor again but also mercurochrome. Mint flavoured tea, more and more of that. With water: this is funny, it’s almost the same whisky as the ‘Idunn’ now. Mouth (neat): thicker, oilier (which is what the darker colour already suggested), with more vanilla and maple syrup on top if the citrusy profile. There are touches of newish oak, especially the menthol and ginger hint at that - but of course it’s no straight virgin oak. Say it’s rather ‘modern’. With water: same as on the nose, it’s almost the same whisky as the pervious one. Maybe a little more vanilla, maybe not. Finish: Comments: a funny independent that tastes like an official. Very good, in any case, probably a sister cask. Both whiskies showed more oomph than earlier 1995s that I have tried in the past. SGP:651 - 87 points.

Wait, now comes the bonus (yes, pfff)…

Imperial 25 yo 1981/2007 (57.2%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 270 bottles)

Imperial 25 yo 1981/2007 (57.2%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 270 bottles) Five stars I haven’t tried plenty of Imperials that were distilled in the 1980s, only loads of 197*s and 199*s. Well, not truckloads! Colour: dark gold. Nose: nope, the distillate did not have this beautiful citrusy side back then, or it’s deeply buried underneath a rather heavy oak. The good news is that it’s a wonderful oak that will remind any bourbon lover of these heavily infused Staggs and Wellers. Also hints of raw asparagus. The whole is really powerful, it’s not easy to nose (yes, like the Staggs). With water: superb now, many tinier aromas came through, cigarette smoke and straight tobacco, custard, so sauce, shoe polish, muled wine… Lots happening in this one. Mouth (neat): extremely punchy, infused, concentrated, spicy… It should be good but it’s too strong at this point (S., you really are a sissy.) With water: a honeyed explosion, touches of pencil shavings/new oak and then huge bitter oranges and pink grapefruits. We found the heavy citrus! Finish: quite long and just perfect. Heavy bourbon spices, oranges… The oak would just never become drying. Comments: I wouldn’t say this baby was a surprise, but quite. A very interesting ‘Scotch bourbon’ of extremely high quality. SGP:661 - 91 points.

(With many thanks again to Konstantin)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Imperial I've tasted so far







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