A couple of years ago, round about the time of 39.92 – Dessert wine and smoking jacket I used to buy practically every 39 that came out. There were some beautiful whiskies that epitomised the single cask excitement the society turned out, and I loved the tropical character of the old ones. Recently we’ve seemed to mainly have younger 39s and while they can of course be good, it’s less exciting to see on an outturn, for me anyway. I do prefer older whisky.
So these two bar-only drams (Greville Street at least) were very interesting to me, and with a name like Summer Dream quite promising too…
BTW they’re telling me these whiskies are bar only and I’m telling you what they said. For all I know they’re in the February 2017 outturn and nobody at the bar has realised. They seemed surprised when they arrived!
SMWS 39.130, Linkwood, Zing like the ping of a musical string, 26 years old, 51.5% A-
30th April 1990, 234 bottles, refill bourbon
Nose - Zesty - fresh cut grapefruit with brown sugar, lemon juice in apple pie, meringue and something more savoury - the pastry and swede in a late night Cornish pastry at LBG station. But this whisky is primarily about lemon wood and fruit toffee. Fruitier with water and some kind of light peating in here somehow?
Body - Old cask struggles to see past the lemon but there's a compelling tobacco and slight funk which makes things more interesting. In fact the initial delivery on this is really interesting, with lovely balance of wood and fruit, but spice takes over a little early. Much better with water - oil paints and blood orange.
Finish - Medium with big oils and roasted plums. Quite hot and spicy. Wood varnish with water, and lots of lingering toffee at the end.
Very interesting this one with balanced woods and lacquers with the fruit, but not entirely drammable due to a slightly harsh character in the delivery. One for the bar, definitely.
SMWS 39.134, Linkwood, Summer dream, 26 years old, 45.2% A⊕+
16th October 1989, 146 bottles, refill bourbon
Nose - A bit older and a lot weaker (and fewer bottles from the cask), this is gentler and much more Linkwood than the previous one. That intense tropicality with a balancing wood, that's like 70s Tomatin but turned down from 11 to 7. So - ripe mango, bounty bars and dank hops. It's as good on the nose as that sounds on paper!
Body - And it doesn't let you down on the delivery. Coconut, refreshers, charred pineapple, linseed oil and patchouli joss sticks. Extremely good.
Finish - Long and tannic, this old Tomatin territory and therefore an instant recommendation. Cheap vanilla ice cream at the end, everyone likes that!
Complex and ticking every box, this is a cracking dram.