Saturday, 3 January 2015

My Old Dram's a Dustman....

Master of Malt 50yo Speyside - 4th Edition - 43%

One of these things is not like the other

The tree has gone, the halls have been un-decked and the fire is alarmingly devoid of roasting chestnuts. Long story short, if you can forgive the syllepsis, it's January and depressing. In an attempt to cling on to the last remnants of festive cheer, I rummaged through the sample collection, looking for a well-aged fruitcake gem to give my palate one last blast of Christmas.

Some time ago I sampled the Master of Malt 40yo Speyside, a whisky that exhibited one of the finest 'Christmas pudding' noses I've ever experienced. So much so, in fact, that I seriously considered buying one despite the (comparatively) less than stellar palate. I never did, however, for the reason stated in my last review, although it's well worth a look. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the sample collection. Sitting behind a plethora of glass jars, sporting the handwriting of a galaxy of whisky-blogging stars, was the older brother of the aforementioned Master of Malt dram, the 50yo Speyside. If anything could banish the post-Christmas blues, this was it. Right?

Sweet. Very sweet. Not Christmassy but a huge hit of caramel apple crumble followed by crystallised ginger and creme brulee. Overripe grapes, butterscotch and a hint of spiced cafe latte. As time passes, lightly polished wood appears.

Hmm. This is not what I expected at all. This wears its age incredibly lightly. Fresh apples and pears; the kind of profile I'd usually associate with a young Glenburgie or Glen Grant. Given time, an underlying dusty sweetness comes through. The dustiness amplifies towards the finish, bringing a little balance to the orchard fruit carnival. This is joined by a whack of wood spice, which really is the only indication of the length of time the spirit has lain dormant. Very strange indeed.

Cigar boxes, wisps of smoke and a hint of black pepper. A strange flash of crisp cider is followed by a long, dusty, drying final stretch.

If you're expecting, as I was, a rich, nutty sherried dram, you're going to be disappointed. This is closer in nature to a young, well-constructed, fruity Speysider, albeit with a woody, dusty undercurrent.

Grade: B
The nose should come with a complementary insulin shot and the palate could do with a little less dust and a little more polish. Having said that, this is still a good whisky, just not a great one. Additionally, it's done nothing for my January blues. Where did I put that Glenfarclas? 

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