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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Riding the old White Horse

Recently, there has been a lot of debate about the 'age/quality' point of view with whisky. We've tasted some sensational new, young and sprightly whiskies, which set the vanguard in bottling spirit earlier and less mature. We've also been lucky enough to try a few very old gents such as a recently sampled 53 year old Glen Grant (detailed notes to follow). But what about old bottlings of younger whiskies?
Well, we recently had a chance to do just this- and what an eye opening experience it was too!
Over the next few weeks we'll be posting some interesting notes of very unusual whiskies which we couldn't contain our excitement over. But first up.... we're under starters orders... Go!

Joel and I have noticed that, as the whiskies get better, our puns seem to be getting worse. With an old White Horse blend, it's almost impossible to resist. Will it be sprightly enough to clear the first hurdle or will it barely manage to canter around the paddock, before heading off to the Evo Stick factory??

The Old Blend Scotch Whisky of the White Horse Cellar- Bottled in 1958- bottle no: 912038 - 70 Proof - 70cl

Nose: First impressions of honey, Caramac bar and then faint wiffs of a medicinal iodine, then light and fruity cream soda. This is the aroma of the past- unlike similar premium blends of today - the creaminess mixing with that medicinal quality is sublime.

Palate: Notes of pine nuts, brown sugar and a buttery light, dairy ice cream immediately make themselves known. It certainly shows signs of age but still holds up admirably with a real drinkability and wonderful rich, thick mouth feel.. On the death, that all too familiar smoky Lagavulin peat comes through making for a pleasing conclusion in the mouth.

Finish: A drying oak followed by an unexpected freshness of green veg. Oh so gentle and again, really enjoyable.

Overall: Horse jokes aside, this was a really unexpected treat. This bottling represents a wonderful time capsule in the history of whisky blending and you can clearly see the transitions that have taken place, when compared to the modern day palate. Elements of flavour and aroma that seem 'out of time' are the real treats here, for instance that wonderful cream soda mixed with the classic iodine. The strength may have dropped considerably, but the subtleties remain and I would dearly love to try this along side a modern day cracker such as the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Centenary bottling. All in all, still a prancing stallion with no sign of the old nag setting in.