Nikka 12, “Woody & Mellow”

I started last week with a review of a Japanese whisky (this Hanyu); I may as well end this week with a review of another. This one is not a single malt. It was one of a series of limited edition whiskies released by Nikka, all of which were 12 years old and all of which were marked by two key characteristics. I’m a bit fuzzy on whether the idea was/is that these are the whiskies that in some combination go into Nikka’s blends or that they were to be purchased as components for home blending—I do believe they were only available at the Yoichi distillery (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’ve previously reviewed the Yoichi “Peaty & Salty” from the same series, and I quite liked that one. This, however, is a grain whisky, and one distilled in a coffey or two-column continuous still that is commonly used in grain whisky distillation. My track record with grain whisky is not very good but, as always, I live in hope. Maybe this will be the best grain whisky I’ve had in a while. Let’s see.
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North of Scotland 42, 1971 (Gordon & Company)

North of Scotland 42, 1971, Gordon & Company
Following the very unexciting Invergordon 1973 from last week, here is a slightly older grain whisky from North of Scotland. Despite the name, the distillery was in fact located out near the east coast of Scotland, by Aberdeen. I use the past tense because it was closed in 1980 and dismantled in 1993 (the grounds are now used by Diageo for warehousing purposes). Known as Strathmore when it first opened in 1957, it’s a bit of a curiosity because it initially produced both malt and grain whisky from its column stills. The little that’s still available of its product is all grain though, and there’s not a huge amount of it floating around either by the looks of things. I assume the few very old releases that have come to market recently are from some cache of casks liberated from a broker’s unblended stock. Gordon & Company, who are fairly new on the scene, have released a few of these. This is the first one they put out, I think, and I also think it’s now all gone. Continue reading

Invergordon 39, 1973 (Malts of Scotland)

Invergordon 39, 1973, Malts of Scotland
Invergordon is a grain distillery, the only one, I believe, that’s not located in the Lowlands. It’s located quite far north, actually, up in the vicinity of Glenmorangie. The distillery’s other claim to distinction is that the short-lived Ben Wyvis malt distillery was built inside its grounds. It’s owned by Whyte & Mackay, producing largely, I assume, for their blends (and their production capacity is very high indeed). I’ve not had any of their whisky previously and, indeed, I have had very little single grain whisky from any distillery. So, I have very little frame of reference for this. This should make my opinion of this whisky that much more useful to you (probably a moot point anyway as I don’t think this is still available).

Invergordon 39, 1973 (42%; Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead 12063; from a purchased sample) Continue reading