Fettercairn 1988 The Whisky Agency

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Recently there was a nice Toronto Whisky Society tasting in which a private whisky owner shared an interesting group of whiskies with a group of us.

It was at this point during the tasting when too many people took me seriously, and it was definitely time to make up for that. Thus I made a fool of myself not once, but twice during this very Scotch!

To start with, we have Fettercairn 1988 The Whisky Agency. When I was reviewing the list of whiskies, I was mixed. I’ve had a few whiskies from the German independent bottlers. Some will notice that two out of the three of TWS are from The Whisky Agency. They pick good stuff.

Fettercairn and I aren’t the best of friends. We don’t talk much. When we’re at a party together, we’re not mingling. Yeah, some people like them, but I’ve had the pleasure twice, and each time we didn’t hit it off.

That’s not to say I won’t keep drinking them. So a 28-year-old one from a whisky collector who agrees with me on Fettercairn not being the life of the party and I go with it.

So let’s see how I made a fool of myself, shall we? Oh, and there’s a review too.

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Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Vintage: 1988

Bottled: 2016

Stated Age: 28 years old

Cask Type: Hogshead

Abv: 48.9%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/6

Nose: Apple pie, orange rind, lime juice, brown butter, sea air

So I’m breathing in the whisky. I’m nosing it for all it’s worth. It’s shy at first. You see, I’m huffing this like there’s no tomorrow. Because it’s different. Lots of fruit and apple.

Then someone mentions wax. And I’m not getting it. Which bugs me. I’m getting the apple, the citrus aspects, and the brine with water. So I keep going.

Taste: Cereal, peanut, salted butter, lemon candy, sour cream

It’s while tasting that I go for the old intranasal element. That whole breath and smell while it’s in your mouth. Which is why we love bread. Well, those of us with the ability to eat gluten.

And it’s during this stage that I breathe in a swig right into my lungs. And loudly cough. And interrupt everything. Because I’m a real pro at this (see: No, no I’m not).

Once that calms down I look back to what I’ve found. Without water, it’s more of that butter and cereal. Well developed cereal. With water? Nice sugar and lemon and even some sour cream notes.

Someone mentions Clynelish. I can see it. I mention (over text) that I can’t get any wax, so I like it better. Which leads me…

Finish: Cashew, coffee, cardamom, smoke, sage, oak

To when the host states that it’s really close to Clynelish, what with all the wax. And the table, who I was texting, laughs at me. And then we’re asked to share with the group. I explain, and the group laughs. Some for a good amount of time.

Humility is good for the soul. Not really the ego, but the soul.

The finish is earthier to me, with some light smoke, good coffee, and even some herbal/oak. Lots of flavours, with more coming when you aspirate the whisky and make an idiot out of yourself.

Conclusion: Clean / Clynelish-like / I can’t taste the wax. I just can’t. I tried. Holy shit did I ever try. I went searching for the wax like a blind homesick bumblebee. I got the earth, I see the lines where it goes with Clynelish. The wonderful earth and lemon are there. I just can’t, at all, find the wax.

Do you like Clynelish? Do you enjoy that element without having to keep buying Compass Box? Or dare I say it, Clynelish itself? Then buy this. It’s earthy, salty, buttery, and has good cereal. And probably some wax too, not that I could find it.

If you’d rather something easier to breathe, or less embarrassing, oxygen is easier, so I recommend that.


Scotch review #994, Highland review #165, Whisky Network review #1558

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