After Monday’s Game of Thrones Lagavulin 9 and yesterday’s not-very-sherried G&M Caol Ila 11, let’s make it three Diageo whiskies in a row. We go from the shores of Islay to the Highlands; from two iconic distilleries to one that is rather anonymous. Well, you might have said that about Glendullan as well, before Diageo made it part of the Singleton family and then assigned it to one of the Game of Thrones Houses (even if it’s only lame House Tully). No such recognition for Teaninich, who continue to produce large amounts of whisky for the group’s blends. As I say whenever I review a Teaninich, I have not had very much from this distillery. This is not the oldest Teaninich I’ve had (see this 39 yo bottled by Malts of Scotland); it is, however, the best Teaninich I’ve yet had. It was distilled a decade after that Malts of Scotland cask, in 1983, a year of major closures in the industry, and bottled three decades later by Signatory. My friend Pat brought this bottle to a tasting at our friend’s Rich’s place in St. Paul last November and it was a wonderful surprise. I can’t say how unlike other Teaninich of similar age and vintage it is but, thanks to Pat giving me a sample to take with me, I can tell you what it is like.
Teaninich 29, 1983 (57.5%; Signatory; refill sherry butt 8071; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Engine oil, putty, mineral oil, carbon paper. On the second sniff there’s almonds, peppery olive oil and a good lick of smoke. With time and air there’s more savoury, nutty notes under the surface and also a bit of butter. With a few drops of water it’s creamier, a little less austere.
Palate: All the stuff from the nose plus a big hit of lime and then an expanding minerally sweetness as I swallow (very Longrow). Lovely texture and highly drinkable at full strength. The sweetness moves in the direction of black olives as it sits (well, I guess you don’t think of sweetness when you think of olives but maybe you know what I mean). With water there’s a lot more of the citrus and more smoke (even more Longrow’ish now).
Finish: Long. The minerally sweetness keeps going. As on the palate with time and then with water.
Comments: Nosing blind you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a mild Jamaican rum. On the palate it’s very Campbeltown. Certainly nothing like any Teaninich I’ve ever had. Also, certainly very excellent. This got a bit lost in the shuffle in that epic early November tasting—very glad I got to spend a little more time with it.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Pat for the sample!