SMWS 65.5 Old School Speyside

Imperial 21 Years Old 1995 65.5 Old School Speyside

1. What they say

The nose is classic old-school Speyside – ripe mango, apples, pears, pineapple and flowers with custard Danish and syrup sponge sweetness – but fresh too – paint, Imperial Leather soap and crystallized ginger. The palate combines intense flavours of juicy pear and sherbet straws; then canvas, leather and oak tingle the after-taste. With water, the nose finds someone in a leather Chesterfield, smoking a cigar in a luxurious hotel suite, vases of flowers all around. The reduced palate has just enough sweetness to balance the mouth-drying leather and wood. A contemplative dram that deserves time and may go well with a cigar.

2. Official tasting notes

  • see above

3. Details

  • ABV 50.8%
  • Age 21 Years Old
  • Bottler Scotch Malt Whisky Society
  • Bottling 65.5
  • Cask Recharred hogshead
  • Category Single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost £200
  • Origin Imperial Distillery
  • Region Speyside, Scotland
  • Released 2017

4. What I say

One from the vast back-catalogue of samples I should have tasted a long time ago. I pulled this out at random and only after pouring or nosing did it occur to me this was only the 5th cask from this distillery bottled by SMWS. It didn’t take me long to realise this was an Imperial sample and a particularly good one at that.

5. The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

  • Colour Dark amber gold (11/20) rare, medium-fine tears and legs.
  • Nose The nose is sweet, sweetie shop and fruit salad, apple, pear, melon, grape, peach, rhubarb and custard, vanilla, sherbet, woody oak and tanned leather with perhaps a hint of coal dust.
  • Taste Medium-bodied, sugary and sweet again on the palate, more oak juice than fruit juice, slightly dusty dunnage warehouse, old school sweetie shop, penny mix bags, sherbet, a touch of mint, applemint with a dusting of some dry cinnamon powder, vanilla and leather round this one out.
  • Finish Long, slightly spiced and drying then mouthwatering again that sprinkle of coal dust returns.

6. Overall

A fantastic old Imperial with lots of dusty and woody sugars and oodles of fruit sweetness in this one. Befitting its age this becomes drying and leathery with some great tannins too. I suspect the rechar HH was a finish here as it would have been unusual to have been the initial cask but it has worked wonders on rejuvenating this spirit.

7. Score 91/100

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