Quick Hits: Two Older Inchgowers

“Quick Hits” will cover tasting notes of whiskies I have small’ish samples of that are not sufficient for me to draw detailed notes from. They should be taken with a larger pinch of salt than my other notes are. They do not include ratings.

First up, two Inchgowers from the 1980s. I know very little about Inchgower and indeed these are the first whiskies I’ve had from this distillery. I gather the profile is generally sherried; these however are both from bourbon hogsheads. Will they make me want to try more?

1. Inchgower 29, 1982 (53.9%, Whiskybroker, refill hogshead #6690; purchased sample)

Nose: A little spirity at first but with a bit of time there are some creamy, vanilla notes. A little dusty too. Not a whole lot of there there. Water releases some sweetness: more chemical than fruity.

Palate: There’s something nutty and beany about it. And, alas, something quite rough as well: there’s an astringent edge. Water makes the palate sweeter too but also somewhat perfumey.

Finish: Mostly astringent.

Comments: These were not 20 ml that made me wish I had another 20 ml. Let’s see if the next one’s any better.

2. Inchgower 22, 1989 (56.5%, Cadenhead’s, hogshead; purchased sample)

Nose: Ah, much better. Actual fruit: apples, some peach, maybe a hint of banana. Some vanilla and wood spice too and a grassiness.  Dusty note here too (but much fainter). Water makes the fruit more expressive

Palate: Quite spirity and not as fruity as the nose. There’s that nutty/beany thing again, but with added sweetness. Some astringence here too but not as pronounced as on the previous. Alas, water makes the palate even more astringent and spirity.

Finish: Not much happening at first but some residual sweetness after a bit.

Comments: A nice nose, especially with water, but the palate’s barely better than the previous. Odd how water improves the nose but does catastrophic things to the palate.

Let’s just say that neither of these is a great advertisement for this distillery. Having said that, I do realize that 20 ml is not very much whisky and I have not been able to judge development very well–and who knows, perhaps even the first might improve in the bottle. But if I were scoring tonight, these would both be in the 70s, perhaps pushing 80 on the second. On Whiskybase someone describes the first as a fruit bomb, which I don’t get at all. No idea, of course, if that person was reviewing a large pour from a bottle or a small’ish sample as well.


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