Since we reviewed Duncan Taylor's Blackbull 40yo earlier this year, we've really started to take notice of just how many good bottlings the company are turning out - on a very regular basis too.
The last 3 are no exceptions either. The Rare Auld range represent the pinnacle of Duncan Taylor stocks, with many of the releases bottled at around 30 years, from across Speyside, the Highlands and Islay.
We recently got stuck into a Cardhu, a Bunnahabhain and an intriguingly titled 'Iconic Speyside'. Now what could that be, we wonder...
Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection - Bunnahabhain - Distilled 1979 - 32 yo - 47.1% Cask No: 38408
Nose: Notes of dried coconut, some hints of aromatic dry vermouth, soft brown sugar, some bonfire toffee and a distinct nuttiness.
Palate: Very sweet on the first sip, but calms down after a few minutes in the glass. Again, notes of brown sugar, some slightly zesty grapefruit and soft toffee, almost reminiscent of an aged dessert wine. A true dessert whisky perhaps?
Finish: lingering notes of toffee, chopped hazelnuts and swathes of vanilla'y oak on the death.
Overall: Highly enjoyable - especially sweet, so not to everyone's tastes, but right up our street.
Next up: A rare auld Cardhu.
Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection - Cardhu- Distilled 1984 - 26 yo - 54.4% Cask No: 2873
Nose: Classic oak ageing at its best. Vanilla notes, lots of spiced, cinnamon apple pie, lemon sherbet, cherries mascerated in cognac, furniture polish, Brazil nuts and icing sugar. Warm and inviting, not cold, hard and old.
Palate: Initially sweet, leading into a mouth coating chocolate/cocoa note (think really good quality dark chocolate, with a dusting of muscovado sugar) then, plump raisins, stepped in dark rum, some fresh lemon juice, more Brazil nuts, chocolate covered marzipan and perhaps even a slight barbecue note, although that might be from the Old El Paso taco kit we enjoyed an hour ago. Anyway, enormously open and flavoursome. Lovely stuff.
Finish: Lingering notes of dark chocolate covered nuts and those plump rum soaked raisins. Absolutely gorgeous.
Overall: This is a real find. Balanced, yet old. Open, refined, complex and super-easy to drink. Another very impressive bottling. If you're considering bottlings for your 30th birthday in a few years time, get this and open it on the big day, you'll love it. In fact, hang that idea- just buy it and open it immediately!
And finally.... the dram that dare not speaketh its name (although we suspect it begins with G) (great... big help there... eh)
Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection - Iconic Speyside- Distilled 1984 - 27 yo - 54.8% Cask No: 2033
Nose: Big buttery biscuit base, (not again...) then into more of those Brazil nuts we mention above, some papier mache, notes of Copydex adhesive uncooked pork mince and the very centre of a rosebud!! Sounds absurd, but there you go... that's whisky for you. Given time, more of a digestive biscuit note develops, with a little dusting of dried ginger. It isn't a patch on the Cardhu, but certainly isn't a duffer- just weird.
Palate: A vaguely gingery note pops up first, followed by some savoury meat (honestly, this definitely isn't the Taco kit, we promise!) then into fresh double cream, some light toffee notes and a malty sweetness. Again not a patch on the Cardhu, but interesting nonetheless.
Finish: Quite a drying, lengthy finish, with hints of lavender and something quite bitter and hoppy.
Overall: A little off key if we're absolutely honest, but then compared to the Cardhu, a great many bottlings from anyone's collection would be under par.
If any of these take your fancy, check out the Duncan Taylor online store here: