The Glen Moray 34, 1977 I had at the Dornoch Castle Hotel’s bar in June was then, by far, the oldest Glen Moray I’d ever had. I recently discovered, however, that at some point in the near past I’d acquired via a bottle split a sample of an even older one. In fact, this 42 yo Glen Moray is the oldest malt whisky I’ve had. Not in terms of length of maturation—this Longmorn 46 is the oldest in that sense—but in terms of year of distillation. Where the Longmorn 46 was distilled in 1964, this was distilled in 1962. Which puts it on par in those terms with the oldest whisky of any kind I’ve had—the Archives North British 50, which was also distilled in 1962. None of this is very fascinating information for you, and frankly is a bit sad when you compare with the careers of those who review whiskies from the 1960s and 1950s on a seemingly weekly basis. But let’s face it, if you are a regular reader of this blog then sadness is something you are familiar with.
Glen Moray 42, 1962 (47.2%; Murray McDavid, “Celtic Heartlands”; from a bottle split)
Nose: Lovely perfumed oak mixed in with peach and rose and sweet orange and honey. The oak gets a little tannic as it sits and some lime peel pops out as well as the fruit takes a muskier, more tropical turn (passionfruit). With a drop of water some toffee joins the party.
Palate: Oakier here but not out of balance. All the fruit from the nose is here as well but it’s more muted. The texture stops just short of being a bit thin. The oak gets louder with every sip but works as a bitter counterpart to the fruit (mostly citrus now). Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes the oak gets too bitter. Let’s see if water can bring the balance back. Well, it pulls out some lime and pushes the oak back a bit but it also mutes all the other good fruit.
Finish: Medium. Not much more than the oak here, getting spicier and a little leafy as it fades out. Longer with water and the lime becomes the top note.
Comments: The nose started out beautifully but then the rising oak made me worry about the palate. Happily, while the palate was oakier it wasn’t unpleasantly so. In fact, at first it reminded me of the interplay of the fruit and oak on this old Caperdonich from 1968. As it sat, however, the oak took over. Not one to linger on, which is unusual for older malts.
Rating: 88 points (92 for the nose, 87 for the palate and 85 for the finish)