gavin smith

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine


Having nominated a completely unaged whisky (sorry, spirit drink) as our Whisky of the Month for July, we thought it only fair to go to the opposite extreme this time around and choose something with a few years under its belt. In the case of this super-premium expression of the Isle of Skye blend, we are actually talking about no fewer than 50 years.

There are a number of 50-year-old whiskies on the market, but most are single malts (Gordon & MacPhail even offer several brands dating back to the 1930s) and a 50-year-old blend is a very rare beast indeed.

This particular one, from Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, was launched last year, along with a 21-year-old variant, and marketing director Iain Weir notes that “The 21 and 50 Year Old are a response to demand for more premium luxury products across the world, particularly from Russia and Asia.”
Ian Macleod Distillers, Isle of Skye 50-Yr-Old (Scotland)
It is a blend that contains a high proportion of malt, principally Speysiders and islanders, and it seems fair to assume at least a splash of the peppery, Skye malt Talisker is in the mix, as well as Islays to accentuate that smoky, peaty note. However, 50 years ago, 'mainstream' Speysides would also have been smokier than their modern counterparts due to the use of distillery floor maltings, and Iain Weir declares that “The consistent single malt within the 50-year-old Isle of Skye blend bottlings is Glen Grant.” The nose of this veteran blend is rich, mature and complex, with pepper, figs and a hint of liquorice. Smokier with exposure to air. Medium-bodied, initially quite dry and ashy on the palate, with ginger, peat smoke and citrus fruit. The finish embraces fruity notes of fig and mashed banana, against a gently smoked and spicy black pepper and oak backdrop. A huge indulgence, but a magnificent one! 41.6% ABV, 70cl, £899.00, specialist whisky merchants.

go to whisky of the month archives

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine