Older K&L Speyside week began on Monday with a Benrinnes 23, 1997 that I did not care overmuch for. It continues today with another 23 yo distilled in 1997. This one is a teaspooned Glenfiddich bottled and sold by K&L as Hector Macbeth. I’ve previously reviewed another Hector Macbeth 23, 1997. That one was part of K&L’s 2020 cask selections. This sibling cask would have been bottled just a few months later. The earlier cask—which was a refill sherry butt—didn’t move me very much either. Let’s hope this refill hogshead is an improvement.
Hector Macbeth/Glenfiddich 23, 1997 (54.4%; Hepburn’s Choice for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Oak here too to start but there’s some citrus mixed in with it along with a grassy note. With a bit of time the citrus gets a bit sweeter (orange) and the oak takes a back seat. With more time it’s a little muskier (a hint of pineapple) and it also gets a little waxy. Water pulls out some softer notes (vanilla, cream).
Palate: Comes in with lemon peel and oak—they play well together. Approachable at full strength with decent texture. A little spicier as I swallow. The lemon expands on the second sip. The oak seems to expand as it sits and it gets quite spicy. Let’s see if water pulls out some nuance. Well, yes and no. The fruit expands (some pineapple and tart apple too now) but so does the oak (in the form of a peppery, metallic note) and it begins to taste a little grainy.
Finish: Medium-long. The spicy note continues, turning peppery as it goes. The expanding lemon on the palate follows through here as well and then it gets salty at the end. More astringent with water.
Comments: This is certainly quite a bit better than Monday’s Benrinnes and it’s also a bit better than the previous Hector Macbeth/Glenfiddich 23. The nose in particular is quite nice. But while it’s pleasant and drinkable enough on the whole there’s also no real complexity or depth, which is something you might expect in a 23 yo whisky. And it doesn’t take water very well on the palate.
Rating: 84 points.