Inchgower 20, 1998 (OMC 20th Anniv. Release)

Okay, let’s make this a week of reviews of unsexy bourbon cask whiskies from unsung distilleries. Yesterday I had a review of a 20 yo Glentauchers bottled by Signatory; today I have a review of a 20 yo Inchgower bottled by Hunter Laing as part of their series commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Old Malt Cask line. I’ve reviewed a bunch already from this series: Ardmore 22, 1996, Tamdhu 20, 1998, Bowmore 22, 1996, another Bowmore 22, 1996, Glen Grant 27, 1991, Laphroaig 12, 2006, and Arran 21, 1997. I only scored one of those below 85 points (against all odds it was the Laphroaig), and a couple of them I thought were very good indeed. When I first opened this bottle I thought it was closer to the Laphroaig end of the range; I opened it for my local group’s January tasting and nobody was overly enthused by it. However, as the bottle has stayed open it has really blossomed and I’ve been drinking it down at a rapid rate. Here, before it’s all gone, are my notes.

Inchgower 20, 1998 (50%; OMC 20th Anniv. Release; from my own bottle)

Nose: Rich malt with honey and apple juice; just a bit of oak. As it sits it gets a bit acidic (lime peel). With time there’s pastry crust and biscuity notes.The honey expands with water and the whole gets richer.

Palate: Malt and honey and apple juice here as well but there’s more oak than on the nose—not tannic, just gives it a bit more bite. The fruit turns muskier as I swallow. Very nice, thick texture. With time the musky fruit, the malt and the lime meld and expand and it’s all rather lovely. Muskier and sweeter with a bit of water.

Finish: Medium-long. The fruit expands and then fades out leaving prickly oak behind. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This was a solid but unremarkable whisky when the bottle was first opened—I’d probably have given it 83 or 84 points if reviewing then—but it has come on really strong as the bottle has stayed open. Much fruitier and richer now as it approaches the end. It almost has me considering a second bottle.

Rating: 88 points.

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