Imperial 17 Years Old 1995 -The Un-Chillfiltered Collection (Signatory)

46% ABV, ~£38.36 for 70cl or £4.09 for 3cl from Drinks by the Dram

Score: 84/100

What they (MoM) say:

This is an Un-Chillfiltered Imperial from Signatory, distilled in October 1995 and aged for 17 years in a pair of hogsheads. It was bottled in 2012.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Sweet porridge oats and notes of beeswax. Honey, allspice and a little apple peel.

Palate: Fruity palate, with all kinds of cereal sweetness. A little malt, liquorice and hints of gingernut biscuits.

Finish: Orange zest and beeswax.

P1050665

What I say:

Purchased from Drinks by the Dram as I had yet to try anything from the very recently demolished Speyside region Imperial distillery. Imperial was built in 1897 by Thomas Mackenzie, who already owned the Dailuaine and Talisker distilleries. Like most Speyside distilleries this had a chequered history and spent long periods of closure. It was rebuilt in in the mid 1950’s but was already earmarked for demolition in 2005 during its last acquisition, but lingered on unused until 2013 before complete demolition. The owners already plan to build a new distillery on this site, which will likely assume the name Imperial. Few if any official bottlings ever came out of Imperial, and most of the spirit produced was likely destined for blending. This one was bottled by Signatory Vintage as part of their Un-chill filtered range from two [refill?] bourbon hogsheads.

Colour:

Pale Gold

Nose:

Coloured pencil shavings, mashed banana or banana milkshake, sweet roses, pineapple and ‘Nice’ [coconut] biscuits.

Taste:

Green banana, pineapple chunks/cubes sweets, warming coconut white rum, green/virgin oak, tropical fruits, mild and smooth and cocktail-like [e.g. toasted pina colada] perfect for sipping on a beach in barbados

Finish:

Drying and sharp/spicy, tannic and of medium length

Would I buy it again:

Sadly I suspect this is no longer available and neither is there likely to be much more of the ‘old’ Imperial whiskies commonly in circulation. This is a hugely fruity Speyside whisky and it still tasted fresh and young even at 17 Years Old. This makes an ideal summer night or bbq whisky and instantly lends itself to similarly themed food. I look forward to the possibility of a new Imperial distillery and hope they can capture some of the tropical fruit essence of the last one…