Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrel: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: Morrison Distillers
Average price: € 292.00
Official website: www.morrisondistillers.com
Independent bottlers with a proudly family-run business that has been working with whisky for generations, starting out as traders in the 18th century and continuing to the present day, with two labels dedicated to whisky (Càrn Mòr and Bruadar) and a distillery, Aberargie, established in 2017 in the Lowlands just outside Perth.
Under Càrn Mòr there are single cask whiskies, therefore very limited editions, carefully chosen from well-known names and other less so but historic, such as Imperial.
Founded in 1897 by Thomas Mackenzie, the year of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee (hence the name given to the distillery), Imperial was born with great prospects and impressive facilities, coming from the experience of another label, Dailuaine.
However, the timing proved to be very bad and the distillery closed just two years later, reopening in 1919 at the behest of the future Diageo, which decided to close it again in 1925, this time leaving it silent for thirty years.
Needless to say, it closed again in 1985 and 1998, the latter permanently.
The distillery became part of Pernod-Ricard’s portfolio in 2005, and for a while there was a vague hope that it would be active again, a hope that was dashed when it was demolished in 2013 to make way for Dalmunach.
Distilled on 18 December 1989, the whisky spent its 27 years ageing in a single ex-Bourbon cask that produced 188 cask strength bottles, part of the Celebration of the cask series.
Light gold in the glass.
Full-bodied but gentle on the nose, with lots of velvety wax enveloping citrus tones (orange, kumquat), peach skin, apricot, honey, lemon cream and shortcrust pastry. Full and rich, if you let it breathe in the glass it expresses an almost herbaceous aspect that harmonises with the aromatic palette making it more three-dimensional. Very elegant.
The waxiness is confirmed on the palate, which slips persuasively over the tongue, with just a hint of white pepper still on yellow fruit with the addition of mango and pineapple (and even a vague melon), marzipan, orange, white chocolate, honey. Hazelnuts. Less “pushed” than on the nose but still generous.
Long, dry finish of hazelnuts, shortbread, propolis, white chocolate.
A sumptuous nose isn’t matched by an equally powerful dram, here the ageing has probably weighed on the final result given that it is a flat but very low grade.
Nevertheless, it remains a whisky of rare elegance that offers a full and rounded experience, to be appreciated with due calm.