No… that is not a typo… that really is 64 years… as in matured for 64 years… with the new make spirit laid to rest in first fill sherry butts in 1949. A piece of whisky history with the clocks turned back.
And I had a chance to sample it completely blind… no clue what I was trying or how exceptionally rare such a dram is.
Glen Grant 64 year (24/11/1949 – 6/6/2014) Cask 2200 + 3185 40%
What did my wee sniff, swish and savour sampling reveal?
- Nose – Old wood varnish, betel leaf, peach pit, drizzle of maple syrup, ripe fruits, specifically then shifted into roasted pineapple and a bit of jackfruit, red wine tannins, a bit yeasty, those sweet and sour, tart and tangy Chinese (Li Hing Mui) or Japanese (Umeboshi) dried plums, a hint of old leather
- Palate – What have I discovered? A bit bitter with elements rarely found like hing, then shifts into raw mango powder or unripe guava, some tamarind, like bhel puri masala, yet no spicy “pepper” heat, continued that sweet element with substance yet truly tangy too, remarkable
- Finish – After a simply marvellous nose, interesting palate, the finish was surprisingly light… closing with a puff of smoke
Overall it was a mystery – delicate and unique. Surprisingly tangy yet sweet too. Complex yet not heavy. Clearly old yet had fresh elements also. a kaleidoscope of contradictions… that somehow worked together in weird and wonderful ways.
I kept aside just a few drops to revisit after some time and was rewarded with an exceptional bouquet of fruits, flowers then pine.
The last drop drained, I again set the empty glass aside… and returned an hour later to discover the most glorious perfume! Simply wafting out from the glass. Beautiful.
When we learned this was matured in a 1st fill sherry butt, it was such a surprise. The colour was so light whereas previous brushes with older sherry drams were deep and dark – like the Glendronach 39 – 42 year.
It also is a complete marvel that after 64 years it could still achieve the min 40% required for it to be called a whisky!
This certainly goes into the category of “once in a lifetime” and I also have to appreciate the work the Gordon + MacPhail team are doing preserving then releasing rare examples of whisky history to the world.
Here is what the folks over at Gordon & MacPhail have to say:
- Nose – Delicate Sherry aromas mingle with vanilla, rose water, and violet notes. Hints of burnt sugar, prune, and a lingering marzipan edge develops.
- Palate – White pepper initially with grapefruit and hints of apricot preserve. Ground coffee and toasted almond flavours are complemented by underlying cigar ash.
- Finish – Long, floral, and smoky.
- Nose – Tropical fruits with pineapple and mango aromas. Subtle beeswax polish notes combine with bonfire embers and an orange zest edge.
- Palate – Ripe banana, raisin, and fresh grapefruit flavours with a delicate hint of violets complemented by a lingering smoky edge.
Other rare vintages sampled over the years:
- Bruichladdich “Royal Wedding H.R.H. Prince Charles” 15 year (1965) 52%
- Caol Ila 36 year (1980/2016) 52.3% (Cadenheads)
- Balblair 38 year (1966/2004) 44%
- Karuizawa 39 year (1973/2013) Cask No 1607 67.7%
- Glendronach 39 – 42 year (1972/2011, 1971/2011/2012/2013)
- Glen Grant 60 year (14 Oct 1950/22 Nov 2010), CS No 2750, 2760 40% (G+MP)
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