Thanks to /u/smoked_herring for sharing this dram with me.
How have I never had an Inchgower?
I mean, it’s been around since 1881, it’s not new. It’s known for the overt spicy character that leads to a salty new make (leave your own joke here, I feel creepy going for it). Granted most of it goes into blends, as adding a lot of spice and using very little malt is good for business. And you don’t have to fight people for peat.
So we have a Speyside known for salt notes that normally doesn’t get away from Diageo’s grip, save for a Flora & Fauna release. Blends sell more, and if this is at the heart of argument.
That said I also took a look and I’ve passed up Inchgowers due to either my lack of personal experience or due to not great scores on some releases. Also there’s no OB to try a cheaper version first.
Enter Inchgower 25 1974 Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, a whisky from the mid-70s that at this point most would describe as a “dusty”.
So given that this is used in blends, but comes from a time when quality was the norm for whisky, how does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: Couldn’t find a price, apologies.
Vintage: November 1974
Bottled: June 2000
Number of bottles: 234
Colour: 7.5Y 8/8
Nose: Apple candy, green grapes, fabric, papaya
Fruity, sweet, bounces between fake fruit and real fruit notes. Also some fake floral and some tropical notes going on. While it’s older, you’re not really getting much beyond that, though the fruitiness draws you in over time.
May be a bit sweet, based on the nose. Granted maybe the rest doesn’t follow along like bad kindergarteners.
Taste: Limeade, nutmeg, caramel, floral
More of the fruit and strong sweet notes, floral continues to be somewhat generic, and then lots of nutmeg takes over like you just found oil in my glass and every country has decided that you don’t have enough freedom.
Finish: Nutmeg, cocoa, spruce, floral, caramel
Tons of spice. Lots of spruce and nutmeg. The finish makes this much more interesting. It goes from simple flavours done very well to interesting mix of flavours. Granted they are mostly spice.
Conclusion: Spice heavy, citrus dominant dram that’s not gonna blow your mind but has some interesting things going on. The whole thing had a good floral element, a good acidity, and some nice sweets, and is different from other whiskies, but I think I get why less Inchgower is out and about to buy.
As this is the first Inchgower I’ve ever had, I can only assume the others are this spice heavy type of malt that blenders like. As it stands this bottle is alright: I don’t think I’d go out of my way to grab it, however to have it around to pour for whisky fans and non-whisky fans.
Scotch review #1404, Speyside review #394, Whisky Network review #2081