A rarely seen example of long-aged whisky from Dufftown, this 1985 vintage has been aged for 28 years, all spent in refill American oak. This was bottled as part of the Diageo's annual Special Releases for 2013 and is a fantastic example of what age can do to this quiet Speyside dram.
Appearance Deep antique gold. Good beading.
Body Oily, dense.
Nose Grand and mild; compact yet detailed, with ripe apple and pear fruit or perhaps beeswax and heather pollen, and scents of moorland herbs. Quite autumnal, with faint smoke and a savoury cereal note, and like an old dusty library carrying scents of wax and worn leather. Later, orange oil underscores the complex floral notes. In time some vanilla develops, becoming intense buttercream. Water lightens it considerably and brings out the malty, cereal character (like being in a grain loft), with leafy strawberries, more waxiness and the merest trace of smoke.
Palate At natural strength, this malt has a big, oily feel; sweet and reminiscent of a wholewheat breakfast cereal coated with honey. The initial effect is warming, with an instantly appetising astringency. Below this lies minty and faintly smoky notes and rich chewy liquorice with a digestive biscuit sweetness. It’s all sweeter and less oily with water; losing that piercing aromatic dryness and with the cereal note dimmed, it’s altogether gentler and more approachable.
Finish Invigorating, warming and gloriously astringent at the end, with notes of pine and cedar to leave the palate tingling over a lingering last wisp of smoke.