For my last whisky review of the year I have what I think may have been the oldest whisky I drank this year; in terms of maturation, that is (in terms of distillation year that was last week’s Glen Moray 42). This was bottled by the Whisky Agency for the Whisky Exchange last year (or was it a joint bottling?) and is from an undisclosed Speyside distillery. Well, it is technically undisclosed but everyone seems very sure it was a Glenfarclas. Glenfarclas, of course, do not allow their name to be placed on labels of independently bottled casks, but it’s also more usual to see names like Burnside or Speyside’s Finest or references to a family owned distillery on independent releases of the distillery’s whisky. At any rate, there were quite a few of these “Speyside Region” 1973s released in 2016 and 2017, and most of those were from the Whisky Agency—they seem to have come into a parcel of these casks. Anyway, I first tasted this at a gathering in St. Paul in early November that featured a number of excellent older whiskies. This one had one of the best noses of everything on the table that night. Thankfully, the owner of the bottle was happy to share a sample and so I got to take a second crack at it and write up some formal notes.
“Speyside Region” 43, 1973 (47.4%; The Whisky Agency; sherry butt; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Sheer class. At first rich honey with apricot, toffee, pastry crust and toasted oak. As it sits the sweetness moves in the direction of berries and cream with some floral notes mixed in. With more time the oak gets a little spicier (in a good way). A drop of water pulls out more of the apricot
Palate: Not quite as rich as the nose with less of the honey and apricot and more of the berries and flowers. The oak is present but not obtrusive at all. Nice texture. A drop of water brings out more of the fruit here too and there’s more citrus to go with the apricot.
Finish: Long. The oak is most prominent here. Thins out a bit as it goes. As on the palate with water and less oaky now.
Comments: Amazing nose. The palate and especially the finish have a tough time keeping up—though water helps, some oomph has been lost there with age. But, on the whole, there’s little to complain about (well, maybe the price).
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Pat for the sample!