Imperial 22 1998 Single Malts of Scotland

Thanks to /u/xile_  for this sample.

It’s odd to think that, roughly when I started enjoying and reviewing whisky, Imperial distillery closed the doors for good. I’m used to dead distilleries being a product of the 80s, something I hear about and have to hunt down. Dumbarton, Dallas Dhu, Millburn, or Rosebank. Weird legendary whiskies or ones you have and then go “yeah, that was for blends, I get it”.

However in the past few years Imperial has been showing up. Some would quickly note that this isn’t the first time the former Chivas Brothers owned distillery has closed down. Heck, it’s not even the fourth time.

That said, Imperial isn’t bouncing back like it’s 1998 or 1992 or 1956 (you get the idea), as it’s now been demolished. We can be happy knowing at least this time it’s not being replaced with condominiums this time. It’s turning into Dalmunach, a distillery established in 2015, but I think they replaced the stills, based on what I’ve read.

So when we try Imperial 22 1998 Single Malts of Scotland, we have to remember this was right before it was mothballed for the last time. Also it’s whisky that was made for a particular purpose: Blending it into Chivas products.

So how does this cask strength, single cask offering taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $300.00 CAD

Region: Speyside

Distilled: October 2, 1998

Bottled: June 24, 2021

Cask Reference: 103317

Cask Type: Barrel

Quantity: 191 Bottles

Colour: 2.5Y 8/6

Nose: Cinnamon, apple, rich butter/caramel, oatmeal

Huh. Interesting. Spice, apple, distinct rich butter notes and a unique cereal note.

So apple pie, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to try apple pie because I’ve eaten it all. Weird. Not totally weird, mind you, as looking at the whole 3 other Imperial whiskies I’ve ever had, there’s typically spice, typically apple and/or peach/pear flavours.

So it’s not totally out there, it’s just a surprise given… well, let’s not ruin the fun just yet.

Taste: Cinnamon, butter, peach, anise, apple pie

Spice, more butter, some spice, all typically with Imperial, and then with water it just goes full apple pie and stops beating around the bush, which is nice as you get older. Skip the foreplay and go in dry.

Jesus Christ, that was a joke, please don’t do that, I winced just thinking about it.

Very drinkable whisky, assuming you like apple pie.

Finish: Apple, anise, cotton candy, cinnamon, oatmeal

More of the same, that mix of apple, spice, and cereal. There’s a sharp spike in white sugar/cotton candy.

Weird, because while sitting at the tasting, we have another whisky that was released by the same store, Glenburgie 22 Yr KWM Cask 751404 Single Malts of Scotland. I have a sample (review… eventually? Jesus I have to drink more).

It’s an ex-Bourbon Glenburgie. And with that, let’s jump to the conclusion, because some of you already know where I’m going here, and some are three pages back.

Conclusion: If you normally like ex-Bourbon Glenburgie, then this is for you. Ex-Bourbon Glenburgie typically tastes like Apple pie, at least when it’s 18 years or older, in my experience, based on my tongue, YMMV. Cover myself enough?

I can’t say what happened here. This very well may be a label mix-up, as both whiskies were released around the same time, have the same age, and are from the same store. I’m not saying I can prove there is a mixup at all.

But hot damn does this taste and act like an ex-Bourbon Glenburgie. Which I don’t mind, but as they don’t really differ too much, if I have one I stick to that one.

It does have the spice characteristics I’ve found in other Imperials, it’s certainly drinkable, and was a nice whisky. I don’t think it’s crazy complex, but just very solid.

Here’s hoping that Burgie is similar and these two can be fun twins!

82/100

Scotch review #1576, Speyside review #451, Whisky Network review #2300

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