Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO for this dram.
Should I start by mentioning that it’s not a mystery Speyside, but actually the distillery called “The Speyside”? Nah, people get that by now.
Should I mention this is the second time ScotchGuy_TO poured me a “The Speyside”, because when he finds one he’s interested in he needs to share it? Nah, I mentioned that last time, people follow it.
Perhaps I should go into a brief summary of how I’ve only ever been wowed by one “The Speyside”, and that I’m still trying to figure it all out? And that one amazing one was an ex-Sherry cask? Thats does have more information, but is it a good opening?
Perhaps I make a joke about how I have zero, absolutely zero information, as this is one of those small Whisky Broker bottles that were probably mostly purchased to be used in money laundering? Nah, that’s just bullshit I made up, and I have absolutely zero background to the whisky.
Screw it: This is The Speyside 21 1995 Whisky Broker, another The Speyside to add to the lineup of The Speysides I’ve personally had a chance to have. Nothing to hide behind, and no expectations going in.
Let’s try it out, shall we?
Price: I have no idea
Vintage: December 20, 1995
Bottled: November 2, 2017
Cask Number: 32
Cask Type: Sherry Butt
Colour: 5Y ⅞
Nose: Marzipan, sour pear, cereal/grass, brown sugar
Sweet and almond forward. Which I know isn’t cyanide what with not being dead or having this written posthumously. There’s moments where you think this is going to go on an after dinner, sweet whisky path and instead it stops itself, either with some grassy or acidic notes. The nose is balanced, I’ll give it that.
Taste: Old pear, musty, bay leaf, cloves, watermelon
Dustier than I expected, though given the age I shouldn’t be surprised. The flavours feel like they were gearing up for something sweeter, and then drown out the small amount of sugar it has.
Spicy, dusty, and a light fruit element. Less balanced than the nose. Falling down, if you will.
Finish: Brine, toffee, black pepper, juniper, currant
Nice bitter and herbal backbone on this. I feel like the feared sweets actually show up here, like the sky at the end of Chicken Little, aka a child’s first introduction to entropy.
Really brash at the end, if you’re not ready for it. It tries to be balanced but that frankly goes out the window as the sweet isn’t strong enough for the herbal/heat/earthiness.
Conclusion: Drank like the person making it was worried it would get too sweet and they kept stopping it from becoming too sweet and then served it and you’d be like “gee, should have been a bit more sweet”. And then it’s awkward.
That sums up this whisky. On the one hand, unique and interesting flavours, something that takes a different take on things, and plays around. On the other hand, it’s unbalanced and at times frustrating because you want to tweak it in different directions.
I don’t know the history of this cask: If I had to guess I’d say it was someone’s labour of love and source of constant anger. I imagine and totally make up that each year added something to help with a too sweet dram and then changed the sweetness.
Or they kept trying and gave up on it. Regardless it was interesting, and much better than other The Speysides, but not totally without issue. A fun whisky to have in a small bottle.
Scotch review #1472, Speyside review #413, Whisky Network review #2175