Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Whisky Exchange–8th Birthday Tasting

The Whisky Exchange is a national treasure, and just round the corner from my office.  It’s a wonderful place to discover artisanal tequila, small batch bourbons and of course a whole universe of Scotch whiskies. 

Last night we attended TWE’s 8th birthday tasting – 6 whiskies that are 8 year olds but were all bottled in the 70s and 80s and so represent a different age of whisky making, when more distilleries made their own floor malts and stills were fired with coal, and there was a lot less consistency and some incredible complexity at only 8 years.  All of the whiskies we tasted last night stand up to 25-30 year old whiskies we’re bottling today.  What an incredible set of whiskies!

  1. Glen Scotia 8yo Bot 1980s OB, 40%
  2. Springbank 8yo Oval Bottle Bot 1970s OB, 43%
  3. Glendronach 8yo Dumpy Bottle Bot 1980s OB, 45.4%
  4. Glen Garioch 8yo Dumpy Bottle Bot 1980s OB, 40%
  5. Aberlour-Glenlivet 8yo Bot 1970s OB, 50%
  6. Ardbeg 1991 8yo #629-630 Signatory, 43%

Out of all of these rare bottles, the Springbank appears to have been the last bottle in existence, the rest are still available.


Glen Scotia 8yo Bot 1980s OB, 40%, A⊕

Nose – Sweet, PVC glue, honey and pineapple, chardonnay oak, dusty sparklers.  Lovely tropical restraint and sultanas.

Body – Creamy, light and fresh, fruit and lovely balance.

Finish – Medium short finish, slightly bitter background with water.  Lovely finish, a really delicious whisky.

Springbank 8yo Oval Bottle Bot 1970s OB, 43%, A+

Nose – Children’s library and swimming pool, grappa, perfumed.  Very tequila-like.  Dusty, apple and fruit.

Body – Peaty tequila, fresh and clean palate, dusty bookcase.

Finish – Toast and prunes at the end.  Short finish but extremely clean.  Bitterness with water.  Very nice but not much very whisky-like!

Glendronach 8yo Dumpy Bottle Bot 1980s OB, 45.4%, A⊕+

Nose – Massive hit of grapefruit, fresh water and plastic book covering.  Very fresh, sherried, raisins and finally, celery.

Body – Toffee, caramel, rich malt.  Very well balanced and very rich but with real backbone.  Amazing.

Finish – Medium finish, bitter celery.  Beautiful and interesting, delicious with great balance.  What a whisky – apparently this is very like the old style 12yo (90s bottlings).

Glen Garioch 8yo Dumpy Bottle Bot 1980s OB, 40%, A

Nose – Petrol, peat, lighter fluid.  Coastal, salty, poised and elegant if a bit of a heavy hitter on the nose.

Body – Oily mouthfeel, bit fishy.  Toasted, well balanced, nuts.

Finish – Biscuity, very short finish, nutty ending.  Nice but not remarkable.

Aberlour-Glenlivet 8yo Bot 1970s OB, 50%, A⊕+

Nose – Dark sherry monster, raisin and xmas cake.  Fresh, sweet honey and dark fruit.  Very rich nose with well integrated fresh wood and dark fruit.  Wow.

Body – Pudding wine, PX, dark cider body, intense heat, cake.

Finish – Savoury, long and fiery.  Long wood and cherry cake.  What an incredible whisky.  Apparently nothing like modern Aberlours.

Ardbeg 1991 8yo #629-630 Signatory, 43%, A⊕

Nose – Toasted, smoked mackerel.  Cider.  Beautiful, refreshing and balanced.  Very nice.

Body – Cream, sherried body, rich peat and sherry.  Great peat integration, its so balanced.  Plasticene, fruity and refreshing.

Finish – Short finish, but then comes back with sherry notes and a bitter end.


What a fantastic experience, and an incredible selection.  Congratulations TWE!


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