I have a poor record with Inchgower, liking only one of the three I’ve reviewed for the blog. All were from bourbon hogsheads, however, and this one is from a sherry hogshead. Maybe that’ll be the difference—the classic distillery profile is supposedly sherried. Age/era certainly won’t be: the one I liked the least was close to this in age and distilled only two years later. This was bottled by Malts of Scotland for the 10th anniversary of the French whisky.distilleries.info site, which was, as it happens, the very first whisky website I consulted when I began to become deranged about whisky about a decade ago. I hadn’t looked at the site in a long time before tonight and I’m very pleased to see that it looks just the same now as it did in 2004/2005 (i.e: like it was designed in 1994/1995). What I always appreciated about the site was the number of notes taken on the same whisky over a period of time. A much better model than my own.
Inchgower 33, 1980 (52.6%; Malts of Scotland; sherry hogshead; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Oh this is nice. Lots of orange peel mixed in with a bit of honey and a mild raisinny note. Below it all is a minerally, oily thing. With more time it’s all about the fruit and there’s a lot more of it: some peach, hints of papaya; some toffee too now along with a leafy note. Gets quite rich and sticky as it sits. Brighter with a couple of drops of water and the slightest bit metallic.
Palate: More austere on the palate with a peppery bite. The citrus is behind it though. With more time it expands (orange again) and the leafy note shows up as well along with some roasted malt. The mouthfeel is a bit thin. With more time still there’s a metallic quality that develops as well but it works quite well in this context. I have a feeling water will do good things; let’s see. Hmm…it made it more peppery and emphasized the metallic note further…okay, with more time here’s some greater fruity intensity: the citrus (between lemon and orange now) is joined by some of the sweeter stuff from early on the nose.
Finish: Medium-long. The citrus, roasted malt and later the metallic thing hang out for a while. Longer and fruitier with water.
Comments: Okay, this is now the best Inchgower I’ve had. The nose was lovely, the palate not quite up to that level (though it did improve further with water, as did the finish). I’d wait for a while to add water. Okay, must try more sherried Inchgower.
Rating: 88 points.