Thanks to a friend of mine for sharing this dram!
I’ll be honest: My experience with “The Speyside” distillery is limited. Of the two previous ones I’ve had, neither really made me stand up at attention and demand more.
Thus when offered The Speyside Distillery 20 1996 Lady of the Glen as part of a tasting, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy, or dancing, as it seems that’s what the kids are doing now.
Damn kids on my non-existent Millenial lawn.
None the less, my friend pouring the drams stated this wasn’t to be missed. He knew of my trepidation well, as he must have read reviews or some such silliness.
I’ve written before that “The Speyside” isn’t just a random Speyside distillery and is, in fact, it’s own distillery. Check them out for a background.
But enough concern: It’s a 20-year-old malt that was aged in ex-bourbon, and released through Lady of the Glen. I immediately remember them, as one of the best Benrinnes I’ve ever had came from them. So that’s a plus.
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Region: Speyside (though very close to not being in Speyside)
Distilled: June 1996
Bottling Date: January 2016
Cask Number 11
Cask Type: Ex-bourbon
Bottle Number: 013 of 108 bottles
Colour: 7.5Y 8/8
Nose: Chocolate chip cookies, peach upside-down cake, sea air, raspberry foam
Nice baked goods note. Lovely chocolate and brown sugar going on. Nice touch of brine. And light acidic/fruit element.
It does sugar really well. And molasses. But not in a rum-heavy way, in a complexity way.
Taste: Lime zest, gingerbread, heat, grapefruit, chocolate raspberry
Step back on the complexity on the taste. More heat and acidity now, it’s less of that BS foam you get at fancy places and more of grating and giant honking pieces like you get at less fancy places.
Water really keeps up the raspberry notes. I’m liking it quite a bit. However, it’s like pulling teeth to get some of it out.
Finish: Rye bread, red liquorice, mineral, green apple/appletini/hot, milk
Finish is more spice, bread, and mineral than I typically enjoy. And the apple is all tied up in some heat. It’s certainly interesting, that’s for certain.
Conclusion: A little bit shy overall. It took water to move off of chocolate chip cookies, it is mostly heat and citrus on the taste until water, and then a finish that’s muddled.
That all said, once this gets going, it really does give you an interesting time. There are elements on the taste and nose that are confusingly fun. And while I may not love the finish and feel it’s muddled, that’s still a weird blend of a rye and a Speyside. So I’d say try this if you get the chance.
Scotch review #956, Speyside review #264, Whisky Network review #1509