At the National Whisky festival this year I tried expressions from The Whisky Works. The creative brand from Whyte & Mackay is headed by Gregg Glass and got a lot of media attention last year but I thought the whiskies weren’t all that great. I found Whisky Works King of Trees 10 Year Old to be pretty average and so I was disappointed the rave reviews didn’t match up.
I am back again though trying an older expression this time at 20 years old which is from an unknown distillery. I am unusual in believing that whisky is more than just the liquid but also the packaging and the story as a single proposition. I say this because the story here has caught my attention as the unknown Speyside distillery is also a closed one. In fact, the Whisky Works website tells us that when this whisky was distilled in September 1998 and it was one of the last production runs the distillery would do. So of course I immediately tried to play Sherlock and work out which distilleries it could be. To my mind anyway, the quickest reference on the internet for history on distilleries is www.scotchwhisky.com the now closed internet magazine site owned by Whisky Exchange. They allow you to search and filter by region and/or status therefore the list of closed Speyside distilleries can be found at https://scotchwhisky.com/whiskypedia/distilleries-brands/?rg=6&ds=3.4
So for my money this is Imperial which closed for the last time in 1998 because being bulldozed to make way for Dalmunach disitllery. I could be wrong but I haven’t tried the whisky yet and already I am having fun! Once you do look a this whisky though you will learn it is finished for 7 months in Cognac casks from France which held Cognac distilled in 1998 (symmetry ftw).
Colour – pale yellow
Nose – herbal, fizzy sherbet lemons and tinned fruit
Palate – warming ginger and good texture more orchard fruits which makes it sweet but balanced
Finish – The finish lingers on long wood sugars the kind you get from long aging rather than a fresh blast of virgin oak
At around 150 pounds a bottle this isn’t cheap whisky but it is very very good whisky. The Whisky Works brand operates like an indi bottler so expect natural colour and no chill filtering as standard here. The whisky itself is a summery style which isn’t the seasonal weather here just now but it lets you pretend. I really recommend this bottle actually and as I sit and write I am enjoying is massively.
The whisky was a free sample for a Tweet Tasting and while I might have said I had another favourite at the time. It turns out I just needed to give this one more time. The Tweet Tastings are great things to be a part of but they are a quick fire round and something this old and precious doesn’t really perform well in that environment.