Google Two St Magdalene in the Whiskyfun grotto

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

May 8, 2020



The Confined Sessions
Day 52
Two St Magdalene in the Whiskyfun grotto

Total nightmare. The other day, in our friendly little ‘Malt Maniacs’ group on Facebook, we were talking about the famous St. Magdalene 19 yo Rare Malts, when I noticed that I had never written a proper tasting note for it. My bottles are long gone, but I was sure I would have kept a wee sample for future enjoyments. Sadly, I found out that I had not, but I stumbled upon these two babies… So as they say in Washington, better these than nothing.

St. Magdalene 1964 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1990)

St. Magdalene 1964 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1990) Five stars
We used to call these ones ‘old map label’, while there were also earlier bottlings of 1964 under the ‘old brown’ or ‘old banner’ or ‘old brown banner’ labels. Whatever. An older 18/1964 was just marvellous (WF 92). Colour: deep orangey amber (caramel). Nose: oh, no! I mean, oh, yes! The trademark metal polish is striking first, then come autumn leaves and patchouli, beedîes, lime blossom, menthol cigarettes, soot and ashes, charcoal, then cinchona, Campari, eucalyptus, old engine grease, wisteria… In short a very good illustration of old St. Magdalene’s main feature, complexity. Mouth: ooh, even at 40% (and probably around 38% after all these years), it stayed powerful, complex, quite pungent, kind of acrid, gritty, sooty, herbal, mentholy, ashy, mineral… There are quite a few burnt things (cardboard, wood, sugar) but the impact remains high overall, despite the lower strength. Imagine this in the much celebrated CASK series! Even the obvious caramel in it does not raise any problem. Another time, other manners, as they used to say in Rome. Finish: amazingly long, pretty herbal, bitter, sooty, and perhaps a little drying towards the aftertaste. These wee cardboardy notes that weren’t uncommon in this series, at that time. Comments: what a fighter. The distillate was really big-bodied and complex, which explains why these little bottlings keep standing the test of time. As for the distillery, it’s become flats where unaware people are watching Inspektor Derrick on satellite TV. Boo.
SGP:372 - 91 points.

And now, kerosene!...

St. Magdalene 10 yo 1982/1993 (61.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

St. Magdalene 10 yo 1982/1993 (61.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Four stars and a half
We used to call these the ‘small cream labels’. They were having a wide selection of rocket fue… I mean young naked whiskies at natural strength and ex-refill that really used to arouse us, if I may say so. Port Ellen 10, St. Magdalene 10, Glendullan 10… Right, maybe not Glendullan, although… What’s sure is that this series, at that time, represented the best solution if you wanted to have a better grasp of those legendary distillates’ original styles. And I believe they still do. Fasten your seatbelt please… Colour: chardonnay. Okay, richer white wine. Nose: well well well, fruit peelings, perhaps? Rapeseed oil? Sesame? Pear juice for sure, linseed oil, linoleum, asparagus, fresh rhubarb… In fact it’s all very subtle, and not that powerful after all. With water: there, dough, raw wool, porridge, grist, hessian… We’re back at the distillery! What’s that magic? Mouth (neat): shtoh! Pure concentrated lime juice blended with williams pear spirit and engine oil. And the feeling of quaffing ink… Quick!... With water: grass juice, lemon, grapefruit, lime, ink indeed, paper, soot, ashes… Well, to be totally honest, this is excellent, but it remains a little austere and narrow. Maybe would 50 more years in glass work? Finish: long, extremely grassy, ashy, sooty. Earth and lemons in the aftertaste. Comments: ultra-grassy, hitting and shaking, but perhaps not totally exceptional. By the way, Cadenhead have bottled some of these as ‘Linlithgow’ and others, indeed, as ‘St. Magdalene’. We all need goals in life, so next one, try to find out why.
SGP:361 - 89 points.

The general consensus here at WF Towers remains, indeed, that St. Magdalene used to be the best and the most complex of all Lowlanders. But some new Lowlanders are coming, so things may change, we’ll see…

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







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