Tuesday, 26 February 2013

24 Days of Christmas: Day 21!

Whisky: Master of Malt 50 yr old Speyside 3rd Edition

Master of Malt

Master of Malt 50 yr old Speyside 3rd Edition



Pale Gold

My wife purchased an whisky advent calender from Master of Malt, a calender of 24 different whiskies from all over the world, whiskies of different styles, regions, strengths and ages.

Including a 50 year old Speyside whisky bottled by Master of Malt.

Now this is the fourth 50 year old whisky I'll have tried and there are a couple of important things to realize about whiskies this old.

The first is that oftentimes, not always, but sadly too often, whiskies over 30 years old can become very oaky and bitter, losing all the beauty that they once had.

The second thing that one needs to remember is that these whiskies deserve your respect, nay your full undivided attention.

These are not casual drinking whiskies, they're not something that you throw down on a Friday night, they're not something that you sit down and drink while watching the football game.

These are whiskies that you sit and savor and ponder.

You sit there and as the aromas hit your nose you realize that your smelling something that was first distilled during the middle of the civil rights movement in the USA.

When it touches your tongue you realize that you're tasting something that was set aside in a cask before the Americans entered Vietnam.

As the flavor lingers on your tongue, as the finish slowly fades you realize that you are ingesting something special, something that is a half century old, something that was around before the modern computer, the cell phone, the internet.

That half century deserves and demands your full attention as you contemplate the world in which it was distilled and sealed away in a cask in a warehouse to be cracked when the time is just right.

I crack the wax seal on the sample bottle and pour the contents into the glencairn, and give the whisky a swirl, watching the legs, long and thin, slide down into the liquid in which it came.

The liquid is pale, much paler then I would have thought 50 years in a cask would have given it, leading me to believe that it must have been matured in bourbon barrels, not sherry, but this is just a thought, a guess.

When I give the whisky a nose I'm pleased, thrilled even.  The oak doesn't dominate the nose at all, it's there, but refined and elegant and over the next 90 minutes or so I get to see how it plays beautifully with the other aromas in the whisky.

Toasted oak hits you first and then slowly apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee, honey, citrus, toffee, all of them swirl in and out, refined and elegant, none ever dominating the aroma, but constantly changing and showing a new side of it.

Stupidly complex and beautiful, always inviting me to join it and take a sip.

I always let my wife have the first sip which she happily takes and informs me that it's very good, but she's a little puzzled by it.

I'm intrigued and happily take the glencairn back.

I take a sip and hold it in my mouth, basking in the flavors, letting it wash over me, sultanas, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and after a minute or so chocolate appears.

Beautiful and very moreish, a whisky that is way too easy to drink.

The finish is so long, starting out with sweet sugar, then moving into cinnamon and nutmeg and ending on icing sugar.  The finish starts off strong and then drops off abruptly to a soft note, that lingers on and on, for 10, 15, 20 minutes that your still tasting the lingering notes.

God how many times can I say beautiful.

But that's what this whisky is, refined and elegant after that half century in a cask and definitely a brilliant note to end that whisky calender on.

And if you want this 50 year old you can buy it, for a fairly reasonable sum of cash, roughly $500 AUS which while it may seem extremely expensive, you need to keep in mind that Glenfiddich 50 year old runs at around $25,000 AUS, Old Pulteney 40 year old runs at around $2000 to $3000 AUS, which kind of puts that $500 into perspective. 

However if you just want to try a dram of it you can for the easy price of $30 or so AUS.

A great price in my opinion, and an AWESOME Christmas present!

To end this series of reviews you'll probably have noticed I said 24 whisky samples and I've only listed 21 whiskies, the other 3 whiskies if you're curious were: Lagavulin 16 yr old, Auchentoshan Three Wood and Glenlivet Nadurra 16 yr old.

Even better I've been talking to Master of Malt and they've informed me that they're going to be doing the whisky advent calenders year round now. 


Nose:        24/25
Taste:       23/25
Finish:       23/25
Balance:    23/25

Overall:    93/100

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