Google Little duos, today St Magdalene

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

Mars 3, 2022


Little duos, today St. Magdalene

St. Magdalene's malt has always enjoyed cult status amongst the Malt Maniacs, mainly thanks to that flabbergasting UD-Rare Malts 19-1979/1998 that was extremely potent and virtually unbreakable. Actually, once poured, your tulip glass would crack before the whisky would even start to show the slightest signs of tiredness.

St Magdalene

Sadly, I don't think there's been a new bottling of St. Magdalene (or its alter ego Linlithgow) since ten years or so, even if the famous Lowland distillery was only closed in 1983. Because 1983 was only yesterday, was it not? What's sure is that we've got great friends at Whiskyfun.

St. Magdalene 27 yo 1983/2010 (52.7%, Part des Anges, Closed Distilleries, bourbon barrel, 132 bottles)

St. Magdalene 27 yo 1983/2010 (52.7%, Part des Anges, Closed Distilleries, bourbon barrel, 132 bottles) Five stars
Part des Anges (Angel's Share) was an excellent small French indie bottler that may have been a little early. As we all know, 1983 was the Distillery's last vintage; to think that it's become flats… Colour: white wine. Nose: this is like meeting an old friend for the first time since years. Wonderful notes of grape pip oil and old silverware, very idiosyncratic (do we love that word), then huge notes of autumn leaves and apple peeling, plus grapefruit skin and something slightly glutamate-y and miso-y that you would usually rather find in old sherried babies. It is both very complex and pretty austere, which is a little unusual but very 'Magdalene' in our humble opinion. With water: more apple peel, natural soap (saponin) and paraffin, some kind of waxy fino, fresh butter, mashed peas, mashed potatoes, these metallic touches once more, some new wool, new jumper (what was up back in 1983? Sergio Tacchini?) … I don't think any Distillery's still making something even remotely close to this style, the only ones being, in my book, Millburn or Glen Albyn, but those are long gone too. Mouth (neat): massive, with loads of tobacco and salted green fruits, red-bean mochi, more autumn leaves, gritty oils (extreme olive oil), then pickled lemons and a curious touch of sake. I find this little Magdalene pretty Japanese. With water: more sweetness coming out, grapefruit jelly perhaps, perhaps a little mutton fat and marrow, these wee soapy and metallic touches once more, some peppers and some grasses… It remained superbly austere. Finish: long, still sharp, salty and grassy, with some marzipan in the aftertaste and perhaps a little coal smoke. Comments: moving whisky. Not sure we'll ever manage to taste more St. Magdalene that we haven't tried yet, except for the next one…

SGP:362 - 90 points.

And now, drumroll…

St. Magdalene 23 yo 1970/1994 (58.1%, Rare Malts)

St. Magdalene 23 yo 1970/1994 (58.1%, Rare Malts) Five stars
I never jotted down the smallest, silliest notes about this one, what I remember is that some friends used to tell that it was superior to the 19/1979, whilst others would have claimed to the contrary. The only other 1970 I've ever tried was a DL Platinum that had been excellent but not integrally dazzling in my book (WF 89). Colour: gold. Nose: where else are you going to find proper Swiss Gruyère melted in balsamico, stearin, shoe polish, with some menthol, turpentine, linseed oil, sulphur candles (not burnt), kirschwasser and ham? What's this unlikely yet wonderful sorcery? Scottish fondue? With water: amazing waxy grasses, suet, fresh almonds, perhaps seal blubber, ski wax, wool and mint leaves (unusual combo, I agree), a little fresh paint… Mouth (neat): a hi-power nutty and leafy start, full of walnuts, wood-smoked fish, grapefruits, bitter almonds, amontillado, many oils and a growing tartness. Tends to become superbly bitter, chartreusey, very leafy. Artichokes and eggplants in the background. With water: this is where it will start to sing if you give it time, reaching a pinnacle that's rather easy to miss if you're not an attentive and patient taster. Superb lemons, many green teas, green pu-ehr and just all kinds of waxes and oils. Very, very long and breath-taking development if you give it time. Finish: long, grassy, mentholy, herbal and, just like the 1983, pretty salty. Some kind of limey vegetable bouillon in the aftertaste. Miso and tofu too. Comments: stunning but easy to miss. In other words, perhaps not for street drinkers or new-born whisky influencers on b****y YouTube. They must have had a lot of fun at United Distillers while they were selecting all these casks of 'official independent bottlings'. Imagine the cask samples lined-up on the desks… This must have been one of the most, say introspective of them all. Talking about the whiskies, naturally.

SGP:462 - 92 points.

(Many thanks Christian and Jeffrey)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all St. Magdalene we've tasted so far







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