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

June 28, 2017


Finally, a new Convalmore

You couldn’t imagine how happy I am. I still had a few old Convalmores in WF’s sample library, and was waiting for some new bottlings to arrive so that I could build a proper line-up and taste those. In fact, I’d been waiting for that since Diageo’s superb 36yo Special Release in 2013… But nada, no new Convalmore ever reached my doorstep within those four years, and I even started to think that it was it, Convalmore had definitely become a name of the past. Until, just a few weeks ago, W.M. Cadenhead decided to celebrate their 175th Anniversary. And there was a Convalmore!...

Convalmore-Glenlivet 40 yo 1977/2017 (56.8%, Cadenhead, 175th anniversary, butt, 522 bottles)

Convalmore-Glenlivet 40 yo 1977/2017 (56.8%, Cadenhead, 175th anniversary, butt, 522 bottles) Five stars So one of Cadenhead’s 175th bottlings (while we aren’t even done with the 150th at WF Towers!) that comes together with some old Caol Ila, Banff, Caperdonich, Rosebank or even Ardbeg. What would we do without Cadenhead these days? Colour: pale gold. Nose: these very awesome and very fresh notes of herbal teas, citrus, and fresh green ok (that’s not quite oaky). Ripe kiwis and lime flower tea, lemon pie and chamomile, hints of buttered popcorn, mint and chives, grape pips oil, a touch of fresh basil, a little camphor, and a hint of fennel. It’s this herbal freshness that’s really impressive, I guess that butt was ‘very refill’. We shan’t complain. With water: goes towards a little more tropicalness – always a good sign – with rather unripe mangos and bananas. Some nutmeg and white peaches in the back. Mouth (neat): amazingly powerful given its age, herbally sharp (or sharply herbal) and even kind of spiky, with all herbal drinks of the creation, coated with some lemon cream and a wee feeling of pine wood. Lemongrass, peppermint, green plums, green pepper, lime… Indeed, it’s all green. With water: swims perfectly well. Lovely herbs-citrus game, always fresh, complex, with lime zests in the background. Would you call some 40 yo malt whisky ‘a thirst-quenching dram’? Finish: long, well-chiselled, always very herbal, but without any excessive green tannicity. Rather some kind of lemon-centre-filled chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: gives you faith in today’s whisky scene. So when’s the next Convalmore coming? SGP:571 - 91 points.

Good, let’s see what we have still got in the Convalmore box…

Convalmore 32 yo 1975/2008 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old, refill sherry hogshead)

Convalmore 32 yo 1975/2008 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old, refill sherry hogshead) Four stars and a half G&M have bottled other Convalmores after this one. Actually, they may still have some casks… Colour: straw. Nose: we’re close, very close, this one’s just lighter, a notch rounder, and rather more floral. Pot pourri, broom, hay, lemon blossom honey, then one banana and a surprising combination of reseda, incense, and wallflower. Some very nice man’s eau-de-toilette from the 1970s… Complex and subtle. Mouth: a similar herbal and grassy arrival, fresh and perfectly ‘green’, and a curious feeling of grassy rum (reminds me of some Brazilian Epris that we tried the other day). The rather cider apples, green barley, lime, and a touch of roots (turnips, beets). Decent mouth feel. Finish: surprisingly long, fresh, ‘green’, herbal, and extremely well balanced. Green bananas in the aftertaste. Comments: this freshness makes it dangerously drinkable. Very high quality again, as expected, but isn’t it great that G&M started to bottle these lovely series at 46% later on? SGP:461 - 89 points.

Convalmore 30 yo 1975/2006 (46%, Dun Bheagan, hogshead, cask #3758, 264 bottles)

Convalmore 30 yo 1975/2006 (46%, Dun Bheagan, hogshead, cask #3758, 264 bottles) Four stars and a half This one by Ian McLeod. Colour: pale gold. Nose: an overall profile that’s similar again, but this one’s rather got more cedar wood, more hay and more tobacco, before it would become more herbal again, quite in the style of Cadenhead’s 1977. Pot pourri, walnuts, new leather, some artisan cider, apple peelings, burning grass, more hay, farmyard, then vanilla and bananas (hints) that make it rounder and softer… Mouth: how very good yet again! Notes of coffee and bitter chocolate at first, which suggests that this cask was more active than the others, then a perfect combination of apple peel, dry cider, tobacco, cedar wood, and some kind of lemony cinnamon, just a tad drying, perhaps. Finish: medium, with a little spearmint and rhubarb. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: perhaps a notch less full of charms than the G&M, but it is a great old Convalmore for sure. And the age is perfect. SGP:551 - 88 points.

While we’re at it, we could try a sister cask…

Convalmore 28 yo 1975/2004 (46%, Dun Bheagan, hogshead, cask #3757, 264 bottles)

Convalmore 28 yo 1975/2004 (46%, Dun Bheagan, hogshead, cask #3757, 264 bottles) Four stars and a half Bizarrely, this one’s both younger and darker. Not that that never happens, mind you. Colour: gold. Nose: well, this one’s a little more fermentary, with notes of leaven and fresh dough, farmyard, then cut flowers from last week (vase water, not obligatorily un-nice mind you), lemon twists, many grasses and herbs again, fresh walnuts, and quite suddenly, a lot of limoncello. Very entertaining, even if it went into more unlikely territories (which was what we used to think of Convalmore in the past, actually). Mouth: oh, very very good! It’s rootier and earthier, with some gentian and even some peat, as if they had reused an old Islay cask. Tree bark, grass, a touch of cardamom, tobacco, lemon, more grass… Me quiero this for sure. Finish: rather long, the limoncello being back, together with grapefruits and those kiwis that we already found in the Cadenhead. Or was that the G&M? Comments: I think I like this 28 a little better than the 30. More proof that age doesn’t matter if you ask me (you’re beyond hope, S.) SGP:462 - 89 points.

What else have we got…

Convalmore 1975/2006 (46.1%, Scott's Selection)

Convalmore 1975/2006 (46.1%, Scott's Selection) Four stars Not seen much by Scott’s Selection in recent months, have you? Colour: straw. Nose: this is even more citric and grassy than the others. Take a large glass, pour the juice of one lemon and one lime, add a little grass juice, green tea, a drop of barley sugar, a few crushed mint leaves, and one Alka-Seltzer. There, you’re know having a good idea… Who said mojito? Mouth: really very sharp, more mineral this time, with a feeling of engine oil, chalk, green lemons rather than lime, green apples, and some kind of bitter root. Not quite gentian but we’re close. Finish: quite long, sharp, austere, with a lovely lemony signature in the aftertaste. Comments: another excellent one, very stylish and, I have to say, rather uncommercial. The aspirin tablets were provided. SGP:361 - 87 points.

Convalmore 1975/2004 (49.3%, Scott's Selection)

Convalmore 1975/2004 (49.3%, Scott's Selection) Four stars and a half Most probably a sister cask, bottled a little earlier, and perhaps an even sharper Convalmore, let’s see… Colour: straw. Nose: my, this baby makes the previous one round and soft by comparison. Almost pure lemon juice, with a little fresh mint and the faintest iodine thrown in for good measure. A little chalk as well, and perhaps hints of dill, or even rubbed lovage. Mouth: delicious! This is almost old Chartreuse, mind you, minus the sweetness. Aniseed, spearmint, liquorice, verbena, lemon zests… All that is very fresh, very herbal, and I have to say I’m rather a fan of this long forgotten style. Finish: wonderful chalky and Chartreuse-y profile, with more lemon again in the aftertaste. Comments: these Convalmores were all superbly grassy and herbal. I cannot think of any current distillery that’s still making this style of malt whisky. SGP:361 - 89 points.

I just hope we’ll manage to do another serious Convalmore session… Sometime in the future… We’ll see…

(Mille mercis, Ivar, Paul & Greg!)

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






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