The Speyside 18 1998 Fountana

Thanks to ScotchGuyTO for sharing this dram

The Speyside isn’t really a distillery you hear much about. I’ve written before this is 100% due to the confusion inherent in the name.

They make a single malt called THE SPEY all in caps like your uncle sharing a recent “totally true” and probably horrible fact on Facebook that requires you to like or love Satan or something. They also make BEINN DUBH single malt, release blends like Scottish Prince, and release IBs under Scott’s Selection.

The Speyside is an older, smaller distillery that is the most Southern in Spey. What I’m saying is I don’t know much about it and encounter them randomly. So when offered The Speyside 18 1998 Fountana I didn’t know how to feel. Was I going to be impressed? Was it worth the scrapes on my liver?

What I could say is it’s an ex-Sherry butt, 18-year-old dram from the said distillery and it’s cask strength. That’s pretty cool.

Let’s find out, shall we?

Price: Couldn’t find it

Region: Speyside

Cask Type: Sherry Butt

Cask No. 2380

Distilled: 1998 / 10 / 26

Bottled: 2015 / 11 / 09

Abv: 53.6%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/8

Nose: Pineapple, banana, sugar syrup, floral, grass

Tropical. Very tropical. Acidity, some funk, lots of sugar. Eventually, there’s some lighter, floral notes and some grass, but seriously this is a diabetic’s nightmare. Or dream, depending on how you feel about 2020 so far.

Taste: Cherry, smoke, mineral, cloves, green banana Starts out sweet with some smoke/mineral notes balancing it out. Given time there are some almost-banana bread notes, though a bit rawer-like before you had the kids.

Oh god, please stop crying, sorry I mentioned it. Let’s move on, this is getting awkward.

Finish: Coal, papaya, cherry, grass, mineral, lime

Again, raw (fuck, mentioned it again). Rich fruit notes, salt, acidity, grass, but none of it really gets to a complex level. I like it though, mostly because my blood is as thick as molasses.

Conclusion: Too raw for me. That said, with time this gets a lot sweeter. I don’t know if that’s better or not, as it gets to that cotton candy stage with time and even more air. I had it a few weeks later again at the request and it was tasting closer to its age.

So this is polarizing. Tropical, grassy, salty, sweet. May not have enough going on for some, and others may think it’s just too sweet. For me? Certainly turned my head on the distillery. I think with the right cask/honey barrel or tweaking you could get something really fun out of it.

82/100

Scotch review #1258, Speyside review #352, Whisky Network review #1911

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