Google The battle of the new 40 years old

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

September 14, 2016


The battle of the new 40 years old

I mean, really brand new! What’s also fabulous with such new old whiskies is that the bottlers do not feel the need to tell you dumbo stories straight from Wikipedia that they would even find, well, dumb at kindergarten. Now, 40 years… they could have told us about the Talking Heads…

Tomatin 40 yo (43%, OB, travel retail, oloroso sherry butts, 2016)

Tomatin 40 yo (43%, OB, travel retail, oloroso sherry butts, 2016) Five stars Part of a new set of travel retail exclusives that also includes a proud (and somewhat Lagavulinesque) age-stated 8 years old, sadly broken during transport (but I’ll find it again!) What’s cooler is that this little 40 did not break, but would I have been given the choice, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have preferred to sacrifice the… 15 yo rather than the 8 ;-). Imagine, age statements in travel retail! Colour: gold. Nose: no sherry bomb, and one that’s so totally Tomatin! Not sure this baby contains a lot of, or maybe even exclusively some 1976, but what’s sure is that 1976 was a great vintage! Perfect tarte tatin, light menthol, cigar box, honeydew, cedar wood, beeswax, and more apple pie(s), then rather dried tropical fruits, not unlike these mixes they make as snacks for our aperitifs. Bananas, papayas… I find it totally perfect, fresh, complex, and true to the distillery. Mouth: a touch of oak, then a perfect, very fresh avalanche of more dried and fresh tropical fruits (oranges first) as well as raisins, the expected honey and mint combination, and then more oak spices, as often in these oldies. Around cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Also strong mint-floured black tea. Yet, the sherry remained rather discreet, those should have been refill butts. Finish: medium, more mentholated, with a wee turpentine-y aftertaste. Comments: it’s not impossible that this very lovely old Tomatin was (even) better at 30, but I find it very perfect and worthy of a big fat 90 (perhaps would that have been 91 or 92 when it was 30?) SGP:561 - 90 points.

Timorous Beastie 40 yo (54.7%, Douglas Laing, blended Highland malt, 1,080 bottles)

Timorous Beastie 40 yo (54.7%, Douglas Laing, blended Highland malt, 1,080 bottles) Five stars This new beastie gathers some Blair Athol, Glen Garioch, Dalmore, and Glengoyne amongst others. So it is technically ‘regional’ as all malts come from the Highlands region, but between Glengoyne in the extreme south and Dalmore (almost) in the extreme north, there is some space. Now the Timorous Beastie NAS from two or three years ago was excellent, so… Colour: pale gold. Nose: are we sure there isn’t any Tomatin inside? Because they’re remarkably close, with same-ish fresh fruits and this surprising brightness (from a forty). And same hints of cigar boxes, menthol, beeswax, plain honey, and oranges. It’s even got an ‘old Sauternes’ side that cannot be bad news. And more vanilla than in the Tomatin, that’s probably bourbon wood. With water: brings out farmier notes, wild porridge (eh?) and a whole beehive. Mouth (neat): crikey! Perfect oiliness, herbs, flowers, fruits, waxes, several syrups (agave, sugarcane, and barley of course) and then a feeling of spiced-up orange juice. Ginger, cloves, gin and orange juice, does that exist in modern mixology? With water: not oak that comes into the way, that’s already great news. It rather gets more tangerine-y… Who doesn’t like tangerines? Finish: medium, perhaps a little drier and drying, but that’s totally normal in a 40 yo. Comments: ravishing. DL, one more point if you mail me the exact proportions! Feels a little Dalmore-forward at times (old fresh Dalmore) and sometimes not. In any case, in the same league as the rather perfect new Tomatin 40. But the beastie’s five times cheaper (€250 vs. €1,250). And I thought not that the Tomatin’s price was extortionate. In any case, BFYB alert for the wee beastie! SGP:651 - 91 points.

Let’s try to find a Justice of the Peace…

Speyside Region 40 yo 1975/2016 (50.6%, Sansibar, 435 bottles)

Speyside Region 40 yo 1975/2016 (50.6%, Sansibar, 435 bottles) Five stars Careful, these bottlings can be totally flabbergasting! We had one by The Whisky Agency just a few weeks ago that I thought was worth 93/100 but on second thought, I could have gone even higher. Colour: pale gold. Nose: same high territories, same style, same freshness on the nose, with oranges, buttercups, honeys, then touches of mint and fennel, then nectarines, melons, small bananas, guavas, then verbena, coriander, wormwood... Once again with these anonymous parcels, we’re bordering utter perfection. With water: white wine. To put it very broadly. Perhaps muscat d’Alsace (where’s the cheque?) Mouth (neat): the oak feels a wee bit, which is normal, but otherwise it’s a fruity crescendo, going through both western and tropical fruits, back and forth. No we won’t list them all. All that is punctuated with a little pepper, both white and green. With water: swims greatly, becomes more zesty, limey… Finish: quite long, with more pepper, which is totally normal. Comments: in theory, if we go on like this and add one point to each and every new whisky we try, we should reach 100/100 in a few hours. Better not try… SGP:651 - 92 points.

Very, very pleased with this session, only total winners today, kudos to Tomatin, Douglas Laing, and Sansibar! And all were eminently drinkable. Now let’s go buy a bottle or a case of that wee beastie…

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback








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