Here is another 24, yo from 1990 from another relatively obscure Speyside distillery in Diageo’s portfolio: Inchgower. Inchgower produces mostly for blends—as with other Diageo workhorses, a Flora & Fauna bottling may be the only regular official release (I’m not counting the special Rare Malts and Manager’s Choice/Dram releases). Johannes of Malt Madness says of Inchgower that “the malt whisky is of excellent quality – at least the stuff they used to distill around 1980”. I am hopeful that someday soon I’ll get to experience some of this. I’ve not had very many, all have been pretty old and none have excited me (see here for quick notes on the two I’ve reviewed for the blog).
This one is from 1990, so well past Johannes’ cut-off for excellence, but who knows, it might be special too. Like Wednesday’s Glen Garioch it’s also from Maltbarn and is also still available.
Inchgower 24, 1990 (51.4%; Maltbarn; bourbon cask; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Starts out austere and minerally but then after a minute or two there’s some rich fruit under those notes: raspberry, cherry, maybe even a bit of peach. Some lemon (more like lemon-flavoured yoghurt, actually), a bit of grass. The fruit keeps intensifying but that minerally note is still very present. Unusual, odd, good. A little more cough syrupy with time but there’s this almost-tropical undernote too (pineapple?). With more time makes the transition from cough syrupy to winey (a fruity white). Much brighter fruit with water (more citrus); almost perfumed now.
Palate: Starts out with a combination of lemon, aspirin and that prickly, minerally quality (somewhere between soot and hot tarmac). The fruit’s not here—not at first, anyhow. More sweetness on the second sip but it’s the prickly, minerally thing that is centerstage. Nice mouthfeel. Not too much change with time. Okay, time to try some water. Gets a little soapy and bitter with water.
Finish: Medium. The lemon and the acrid notes pass through together, getting just a little too astringent with time. Even more astringent with water.
Comments: Very similar in many ways to the Maltbarn Glen Garioch. I think I might like this one better (they were tasted in sequence) as it’s a bit more intense. Not sure I like it enough to get a bottle though. Water did nice things for the nose but not so much for the palate and finish (which is what I noted of the Inchgowers I reviewed earlier as well). Well, I guess I have to keep looking for one that will make me sit up in my chair.
Rating: 86 points. (But hold the water.)