The oldest whisky I had tried before this was a 50 year old blend. This time we have a single grain whisky from Scotland and its even older at 55 years old. It is often said that for grain whisky to be impressive it needs time to make the most of its subtle character. So we can check time off the list but what about the end result?
The North British distillery is the last working distillery in Edinburgh. There are plans for a single malt distillery in the future though so perhaps it won’t hold on to that sad title for much longer. The distillery dates back 1885 and is currently joint owned by Diageo and Edrington group such is the need for a guaranteed supply for grain whisky but the need to share the costs of feeding such a massive factory.
To that end the North British distillery is also where a neural spirit is distilled for use in Smirnuff vodka on top of producing grain whisky for johnny walker, cutty sark and Famous Grouse. There is an onsite warehouse which is mostly used for long term maturation of casks which end up potentially bottled as single grain whiskies but most of the 65 million litres produced annually is matured offsite.
The whisky is bottled under the XOP (Extra Old Particular) range and this particular bottled has a glass stopper on it as well. The whisky is bottled at 41% which is just on the limited of being too weak to be called whisky anymore but that is what the angels will do after so many years in a cask. The barrel for the maturation time was a refill sherry hogshead so I can only imagine what year the actual barrel was made and what year the oak tree would have been a sabling. Each bottle will set you back nearly £550 which isn’t a lot but also isn’t very cheap in absolute terms either.
Colour – Copper
Nose – There is a note of furniture polish and a musty smell from an antique shop. That old room smell from a school classroom before some fresher notes of cream cakes and pastries.
Palate – The fresher notes exist on the palate as well with clotted cream, butterscotch and herbs. The texture is quite thin though which is a little disappointing.
Finish – The finish as well is fairly short. It is bitter mostly but with a sweet initial start and floral aspects aswell.
I thought that was ok but for 55 years there wasn’t a massive amount of interest in the glass really. I think this has definitely been a lazy cask for most of its life and could never be accused of being over oaked. One to say you have and show impressively how old it is. Not sure it is as impressive to actually drink though.