Pittyvaich 30 1989 Diageo Special Release 2020

Thanks to /u/the_muskox [+7] for sharing this dram.

As I’ve written before, I am wealthy enough to try some nice whiskies, but also not so wealthy and strong of liver to buy multiple high-end bottles to review everything. Enter samples, thus ensuring I don’t end up having my liver go on strike.

Pittyvaich is one of those demolished distilleries that I have been trying to figure out. If I had more gumption, I’d have looked to see that Diageo released two Rare by Nature versions of older Pittyvaich, just to show off the distillery. Sadly my gumption reserves were quite busy with education/learning a new career/dealing with living during interesting times.

That all said, I did obtain a sample of last year’s Pittyvaich 30 1989 Diageo Special Release 2020, so I can continue exploring my illustrious and totally humble thoughts on the distillery that was destroyed in 2002.

Given this was made in 1989, the distillery was only 14-years-old upon distillation, and owned by United Distillers, who were desperate to stay open in the 80s. Not a great decade for the world, and whisky was not exempt from the general Fuckery of the decade of brown.

So let’s see how this turned out, shall we?

Price: $675 CAD

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 1989

Bottled: 2020

Cask type: Bourbon Cask finish

Abv: 50.8%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/6

Nose: Cooked apple, honey dew melon, praline, lime zest, violets

Fruity at first, with some interesting complexity as it goes. Floral and acidity balance it out, but those of you who aren’t sweet fans will be treading carefully. It’s not without balance, it’s just that the balancing notes are like your friends who egg you on: You’re not only going to jump off the bridge, you’re going to attempt a backflip.

Taste: Butterscotch, apple, chalk, white chocolate, hazelnut

In Canada and the US (and probably in tourist traps around the world), there’s a candied apple and chocolate store called Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory. The taste reminds me of visiting it, as the different complex sweet flavours mixed with the apple are nailing that level.

That said, the complexity lacks anything beyond “it’s sweet”. There’s an earthly off note, so that’s different, but I’m looking for some acidity or nuttiness and coming up short.

Finish: Cloves, apple, toffee, walnut, earth

The finish is where all of the spice and bitter nuttiness and even some of the earth went to live. It’s like they divorced the sweetness and moved to the finish to live a happier life.

While I’d be happy if these were actual humans and not just tasting notes I’ve decided to anthropomorphize for reasons that will eventually come up in a future court case as part of my defense, they aren’t. It comes a tad late, and while there’s still some sweet (the kids in this case?) notes going on at the finish, the complexity is lacking.

I did like how the earth rounded out here with some water though.

Conclusion: Fruity with a sweet forward finish that falls off the sugar mountain and hits every rock candy bolder on the way down, twice.

I appreciate the hard work and stress that was present when this was made in the 80s. Scotland took it hard from old Iron Ball’s (Margaret Thatcher) rule and watching older, more established and beloved distilleries falling like flies couldn’t have made for calm days at work.

That all said, this will be loved by a certain sweet lover and not by many others. It lacks some of the nuance you’d want from a 30-year-old whisky and shows some rough aspects you’d hope were polished out. I am coming to the conclusion that Pittyvaich may not be my style, however I appreciate what they tried with this release.

81/100

Scotch review #1468, Speyside review #410, Whisky Network review #2171

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