Sunday 9 August 2015

Tasted #200: Master of Malt 60yo Speyside

It wasn't all that long ago that we tried a few 40yo whiskies on this blog (like this OB Glenfarclasthis IB Glenrothes and this OB Glenrothes), and we thought they were pretty special. Not the best whiskies we'd ever tried, but without a doubt special (especially this 1973 Balvenie, hand-drawn by David Stewart just a few weeks earlier).

Then we discovered Master of Malt, and their 40yo unnamed Speyside whisky (tasted here), and even their 50yo unnamed Speyside whisky (tasted here).

Surely a 50 year old whisky would be pretty hard to top, right? Short of winning the lotto (or meeting an incredibly generous, whisky-loving person who did), I thought that would be about the limit for me in terms of well-aged whiskies....

Then Master of Malt released their 60 year old unnamed Speysider.


Sure, there are whiskies older than 60 years old, but when was the last time you found one that was even close to accessible? They're usually the sort of whiskies you see selling for $20,000+ AUD (~$120,000 HKD) for a bottle, or $1,000+ AUD (~$6k HKD) for a nip in any bar lucky enough to have an open bottle.

Which made this 30mL sample, at £52.93, all the more interesting. I'd wanted to try this for a while, but wasn't too keen to try Master of Malt's high shipping costs for a few sample drams. When a work trip to London came up though, it was on for young and old.... (and by that I mean, I ordered a dram, along with a few others, to my hotel in advance, so it was there waiting for me on arrival).

(For what it's worth, while no-one has published a definitive answer on which distillery this whisky comes from, the general consensus is that it's a Glenfarclas, which would make sense given there are a number of older 'farclas casks out there with independent bottlers. I also got similar notes to other well-aged Glenfarclas releases I've tried in the past, and if you need any further proof, I was told these were from Glenfarclas by, let's just say, someone who would know...).

Master of Malt 60yo Speyside (42.2% ABV, 60yo, Speyside, Scotland, £999.95)
Colour: Dark, dark brown copper.

Nose: Wow. Truly a bit of everything going on here. Citrus (limes and burnt orange), spice (pepper), a hint of sulphur, even some juniper! Lots of sour gummy worms (hmm, I got those notes once before...)

Palate: Initially light, but clearly "well-oaked" (read: "overly oaky"). Drying and tannic, with Taiwanese Pineapple Cake, furniture polish, and the slightest hint of smoke. No Citrus like on the nose, but some coconut. Talk about a mixed bag!

Finish: Medium to long. A little smoky. A lot of varnish. Oaky, but not too tannic. Whole oranges.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. Look, for a whisky to make it to 60yo (and still be at least 40% ABV and therefore legally allowed to be called whisky in Scotland) is an impressive feat. Was it the best whisky I've ever tried? No, and I didn't expect it to be. Older does not always mean better. The Nose was A+++ fantastic. The remainder, interesting, but not quite as exciting. All over, it feels like a whisky that would have been in its prime about 10 or so years earlier. But hey, when you're experiencing a whisky that was distilled in the 50s, none of that really matters. It's all about the experience...and what an experience this was.


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