Well. This is sort of a big deal, isn't it?
I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of whiskies ever released that are over 60 years of age, and it's absolutely unthinkable these days that a 60yo distillery release would ever see the light of day at anything less than a five-figure price tag. Yet here we are bringing this astonishing piece of liquid history to you for a three-figure sum*.
Well rather than re-iterate, I'll refer you to my explanation of the economics behind this, here: http://www.masterofmalt.com/Blog/post/Brand-New-30-40-and-50-Year-Old-Whisky.aspx. Do please read it, as every bit of it still rings true, and it's the reason behind our ability to continue to deliver exceptional, unbelievably well-aged whiskies at price-points an order of magnitude less than some other folk.
Now there's been a huge amount of debate in the whisky blogging community recently around the role that NAS (Non Age Statement) whiskies have to play in the marketplace [starting with Lucas on the Edinburgh Whisky Blog, before the discussion was picked up by Dramming, Billy's Booze Blog, Whisky Israel, an anonymous ‘travel retail insider’, Caskstrength, Jason B. Standing, an anonymous NAS producer and EWB once again]. My stance on this as a bottler remains unchanged.
We bottle a huge range of different whiskies, some of which carry age statements (case in point here), and some of which don't (That Boutique-y Whisky Company springs to mind, and there's another huge NAS project coming in about 2-3 weeks. Watch this space).
There really is only one thing that informs our decision about whether or not to bottle a whisky – well, one question, really – "Is it good?". That's where the discussion ends for me. If it's a good whisky, happy days, if it's a bad whisky, we expect bad reviews and poor sales.
Now when I wrote that post about the new 30, 40 and 50 year old whiskies above, I thought our selection was pretty bloody decent. As they were brand new at that point though, it was impossible to publish reviews and awards** for them.
We've had a couple of years for the various awards and books to do their thing on these new whiskies now, so can share the results of what other people have said with you:
Master of Malt 30 Year Old (5th Edition)
“Nose opens with an array of tropical fruits including mango, pineapple and citrus. The barley, ripe plum, raisin and dried apricot come into play. Warm, elegant entry with slow flow across the palate into deep, well rounded mouth. Butterscotch joins what the nose advertised. Warm, appealing, long finish. Generous and rewarding.”
- International Wine & Spirits Competition 2013 (Gold Outstanding)
Picking up top medals at the IWSC and the ISC in 2013, it’s safe to say that we’re rather proud of our fantastic 30 year old bottling.
Master of Malt 40 Year Old (2nd Edition)
"Find me a Dundee fruit cake that smells more like a Dundee fruit cake than this, and you'll have done well... Magnificent. Has no problem mastering the years."
- Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2014 (95 Points)
Our 40 year old, meanwhile, didn’t just win Gold at the ISC, it was named Best In Class. It also picked up a Silver medal from those Malt Maniacs folk, and they’re not easy to come by!
Master of Malt 50 Year Old (3rd Edition)
We’ve recently moved onto an excellent 4th Edition of our 50 year old, but here’s a little of what Jim thought of about the previous award-winning bottling:
"the finish decides to take on the nuances of an elder statesman, with complexity levels not just amazingly high, but the elegance rendering you almost speechless"
- Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2014 (96.5 Points)
And now, without further ado, onto the main event. Tasting our brand new, 60 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Whisky.
Master of Malt 60 Year Old Speyside
Tasting Note for Master of Malt 60 Year Old Speyside (1st Edition):
Nose: Beautiful malt to the fore, with a sublime backing of nutmeg, cocoa butter and raisin. Gentle waves of soft white grapes, custard apples and golden syrup. Astonishingly refined oaken notes.
Palate: Creamy, mouth-filling palate entry delivering a touch of chocolate and ground allspice. Quite tropical too – there’s a note of coconut, perhaps mango. An ethereal high-note akin to tomato stems. With time, it becomes quite herbal, with a potpourri-like character, sitting very nicely atop a solid core of rich, thick malt.
Finish: A long, elegant finish, trailing off gracefully with pipe tobacco, molasses and dried herbs. A slice of tangy green apple lingers.
Whilst this might not be an everyday (or even everyyear) dram for most of us, we'd like to think that by making it available at this sort of price-point, we're making the world of ultra-well-aged whisky as accessible as is reasonably possible.
*okay, only just, but you get the gist.
**which coupled with on-site customer reviews tend to be the best metric in our view