I have been reading the reports of those who attended the Whisky Show this year in London. Hosted by The Whisky Exchange this is the flagship whisky show of the year for many. This comes with a big ticket price at an exclusive location in London where producer and distributors come together to splurge a wade of their marketing budgets.
With so much expensive whisky on show with so many people willing to queue up and throw wallet fulls of cash around its easy to think the whisky market is red hot. To some extents there is pockets of craziness of course but only for the sexy and trendy brands. If you go off the beaten path just a little you will find some brands owned by major corporations like Diageo still have age stated bottles with good age still hanging around shelves for years even at decent prices.
Of course its easy to understand why retailers still have original stock of the Special Releases from years ago. Some of those prices were clearly mental and few people would be willing to pay RRP for a 40 year old Cambus (£725) or a Cragganmore (£400) without an age statement. As good as those whiskies may be and certainly those wined and dined each year make a big deal of each of them there just isn’t the market for spending stupid money on stupid cynical exploitative whisky.
What is more surprising is a 21 year old whisky from Speyside still priced at £80 from 2015 which still has cases available looking for a new home. Indeed perhaps that is why Whisky-Me could bottle it up into pouches and send it out to subscribers this month as Diageo was happy to get stock off its inventory.
Distilled in 1994 and bottled in 2015 this is a 21 year old whisky with a distillation date on the bottle. Called the Old Master Reserve this was possibly originally billed as a limited edition. The specs of the bottle are pretty unimaginative and predictable at 43% ABV, some colouring and some filtering are all present but the price is a decent 80 pounds.
The marketing talks about the casks being stored in the coldest part of the warehouse for slow maturation. Those casks were a mixture of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and evidently refills as you expect of course. First fill casks utilised for 21 years would be financial madness not to mention creating liquid oak rather than whisky.
Colour – orange
Nose – clove and nutmeg provides savory and then a background of floral sweetness with the odd twist of black pepper. Of course there is the usual dried fruit note you would expect from the Speyside region as well.
Palate – The texture isn’t great but features lots of wood spice, more black pepper and then a twist of grapefruit and wood sap.
Finish – Where the texture might be disappointing the finish is much better. Lingers on and on and is almost refreshing with a flourish of spearmint
The 21 Year Old can be summed up well by calling it an old fashioned Whisky which while not innovative is a refreshing retro alternative to the ultra groovy hipster bottles cluttering up social media. Indeed cluttering up my social media but regardless of all that the whisky, price and available is good so get it while you can.