Fettercairn 28 1988 Signatory Spec’s Pick

Readers of my reviews don’t just have constant ED (especially the women) and feelings of illness. They also notice things on a regular basis. Like how typically I’m the one who, at tastings like the one I was at, am having a mystery dram handed to me.

Not so this time gentle viewer! No, this time the turntables have, in fact, turned. And as such, I showed up with a mystery surprise of Fettercairn 28 1988 Signatory Spec’s Pick.

Fettercairn is a newer distillery for me. I haven’t had many, the OBs have been okay, the IBs have varied between really interesting to meh, and I don’t have a sense on them. They are a peated Highland that needs more work.

So why not share a 28-year-old version, blind, with a bunch of other whisky nerds who haven’t had that many? Tons of reasons, but screw that, let’s get to it, shall we?

Price: I think it’s sold out.

Region: Highland

Distilled: 7/12/1988

Bottled: 2/10/2017

Cask # 2036

Cask Type: Hogshead

Total amount of bottles: 231

Abv: 54.2%

Colour: 10Y 9/6

Nose: Violets, plum, blackberry jam, green apple, honey

Initially floral, very port/blackberry type of dram. Time brings out more and more acidity, closer to the actual ex-bourbon cask that it is.

Quite nice to the nose, but nothing is really screaming how old it is. The mystery is making others guess various other Speysides. It’s at this time I realize maybe they haven’t had it from here. Also, someone else who’s had many more is mentioning it needs a long time to open up. We take his advice.

Taste: Caramel, apple, papaya, coconut sugar, rhubarb, salt

Sweeter. Some mixtures work, others remind me of a not-quite-finished baked good during fall. Time is helping more and more. The earth is coming out a lot more, balancing it out.

Finish: Cereal, coconut, papaya, honey pepper, turmeric, oak

Similar to before: Has some honey/cereal notes that are pretty generic, with some tropical/earthy aspects that make it more interesting. Time is the key here.

Conclusion: So I was hoping for something really epic from a 28-year-old malt. It was not epic, sadly. Part of that, as I was told, is Fettercairn requires a humongous amount of time to open up. I don’t know that for certain, but the guy who mentioned it seems to know, so I’ll be trying that next.

As it stands, as we had it, this was earthy/sweet. If someone asked you what your favourite baking fruit was, and you didn’t immediately look at them like they were on drugs, and then said rhubarb, then this dram is for you. It’s not the most interesting Fettercairn I’ve had, but it certainly made me want to try more.


Scotch review #1109, Highland review #185, Whisky review #1723

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