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

April 7, 2021


A quatuor of Speyburn

I do believe Speyburn's one of the distilleries that made good progress recently, it's even become cult around Loch Ness, especially in Drumnadrochit.

Speyburn-Glenlivet 10 yo 2008/2018 (46%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogshead)

Speyburn-Glenlivet 10 yo 2008/2018 (46%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogshead) Three stars
I believe this is the series that's been replaced with the newer grey Original Collection. Colour: gold. Nose: modern, a bit pushed, which is not very Cadenhead in my book. What I mean is that there are tons of butterscotch and fudge here. I rather like that, but there, it feels a little pushed. Toasted brioche and roasted nuts too. Mouth: simply good, on similar notes of butterscotch and toffee, plus perhaps Christmas cake, café latte, chocolate... Finish: medium, a tad bitter now, with more cracked pepper. Bits of tobacco in the aftertaste – remember when some of us used to smoke untipped cigarettes? Gauloise? Gitanes? Roth-Händle? Belga? Alfa? Comments: from rounded and fudge-y to bitterer.
SGP:361 - 81 points.

An OB please…

Speyburn 18 yo (46%, OB, +/-2020)

Speyburn 18 yo (46%, OB, +/-2020) Four stars
The label tells you this is outstanding. We've been warned. Colour: deep gold. Nose: typical deep leaven notes, a little dairy cream, porridge, then rather sour fruits and spices, plus green walnuts, fino sherry, then pomegranates and khakis, blood oranges, Fanta (apologies to anyone involved), even tonic wine. This is very singular, sometimes a little rebellious, and never like other malts. Which is great, naturally. Mouth: oh well, let's say yes, beyond the very surprising spicy arrival on curry and cinnamon. Touches of chicken soup and bouillon, coriander, salt, gravy, soy sauce, turmeric, ginger… In short this is a fighter, for your hipflask rather than for your evenings by the fireside playing chess over the Internet. Tends to become rounder, smoother, and cakier, though. Finish: pretty long, with moe bitter notes, those bits of tobacco again, bitter oranges… Comments: there's something friendly in the wee malt whisky that's so different. One day we'll do a Speyburn vs Fettercairn vs Glenturret session.
SGP:362 - 86 points.

More craziness, perhaps…

Speyburn 2008/2018 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Muscat finish, 140 bottles)

Speyburn 2008/2018 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Muscat finish, 140 bottles) Four stars
These excellent folks in Ukraine are usually finishing their malts in local wine casks, some literally unknown to me. This Speyburn, for example, was finished in 'Muscat Dolce Passione'. Colour: gold. Nose: it doesn't feel too much. Muscaty aromas are easily recognisable, but I'm not finding any here, maybe is that me. I'm rather detecting ripe mirabelles, quinces, honeycomb, those panettones that I just adore, lemon and rhubarb tarte, macaroons, a little café latte… Well, could be that the cask did erase a part of Speyburn's 'funny aromas' (see above) and made it gentler and almost reminiscent of… Glenmorangie? Mouth: all right, Speyburn is back. Crunching pine needles, eating those bits of tobacco yet again, some thick walnut liqueurs, Maggi, wee bits of soapy paraffin, some bouillon… Well this one's not inert, there sure is some action in there. Finish: rather long and pretty bitter. Bitters, artichoke cordial, more paraffin, more bouillon… Comments: two whiskies in one, that is to say a gentle nose and a restless palate. Very good fun, which has to be rewarded, even if I'm not d down three cases.
SGP:361 - 86 points.

Back into time…

Speyburn-Glenlivet 15 yo 1975/1991 (63.1%, Cadenhead, Dumpy, 75cl)

Speyburn-Glenlivet 15 yo 1975/1991 (63.1%, Cadenhead, Dumpy, 75cl) Five stars
I believe this one's also been bottled in a tall bottle with that black label – white panel. Colour: straw. Nose: it was a different whisky back in 1975, much more on citrus, especially lemons, plus a lot of chalk. But at 63.1%, you do not get much out of it anyway… With water: I find this rather sublime. An old forgotten bottle of Verveine, some much unexpected olive oil, lemons and lime, and simply a feeling of great white Graves. An old Laville, for example. Brilliant. Mouth (neat): immense chalky lemonness. Incredibly tart and pungent, but the attentive drinker will guess that things should go extremely well once water's been added. With water: and they do. I would ask you to call the Anti-Maltoporn Brigade. Long story short, an avalanche of tighter citrus and grassy, bitter herbs. Quite sublime, if a little challenging. Finish: very long, on the same notes. Extremely fresh, with a little mint as well. Comments: this is the joy of these tastings. Once in a while, you stumble upon something completely unexpected. Now, go find a bottle of this…
SGP:471 - 92 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Speyburn we've tasted so far







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