Sunday, December 19, 2021

Glenrothes, Royal Lochnagar, Amrut, Tullibardine, Tomintoul; Vintage Minis!

Got my hands on some old mini bottles with distillation times mostly in mid-90s… While my record with minis has not been great… Why not try something different. Full disclaimer… In my limited exposure these seem to easily go bad or just not be great to begin with…

Glenrothes 1992, Sample Room Mini. 43%
Bottled in 2004 this makes a 12 year old sample. The time not been kind to it either with perhaps 1/6th gone to the angels. It’s also either (by design) not filtered… or the bottle cap deteriorated. Visual inspection suggests unfiltered spirit though as cap isn’t nearly as bad as the cloudy contents leads me to suspect. WIth the angels taking their share this is whiskey flavored water mostly and low proof really isn’t helping. Very little true malt remains though nutty and somewhat tasty long aftertaste suggests it could have been great when it was just bottled. Do not recommend this though. I wouldn’t wish this onto anyone… but being a unique and direct from tasting room… it gets a reluctant pass on grading.
Score: N/A (D-)

Royal Lochnagar 12, 40%
I cannot quite figure out the bottling date, but let’s assume sometime in early-mid 2000s. Quite malty on the nose and palate it’s is reminiscent of the dry cigarette and coffee funk I got in the sherry cask I have reviewed earlier but without the sherry… Sweet, nutty, malty and long aftertaste. This is highly flavorful despite the low proof, and the flavor is really almost better without the excessive sherry. I quite like it, it tastes very slightly peated (nutty smoke) and somewhat reminds me of Loch Lomond 12 I have. Plenty of better things out there… but this is really not that terrible and I’d enjoy it at a bar or @work.
Score: B-

Amrut (NAS) bottled in 2004, 40%
No age stated Amrut bottled in 2004… You know… I now get why nobody likes older bottlings of Indian whiskeys… The nose and palate are basically swamp water while the aftertaste is quite malty and pleasant, if mercifully short. The Indian malts have come a very VERY long way since then. Even that Glenrothes above tastes better, if barely.
Score: F

Tullibardine 1988, 46%
Unclear when this was bottled with laser code on the back reading “09078”… Nutty, slightly acrid and heavily malted, with what I suspect a slight tinge of peat. It’s not too bad… but it’s also all that great for me. It’s got everything going for it
with the year, region and proof… yet not quite hitting the spot. Probably worth a try but I’m skipping a bottle decision here.
Score: C

Tomintoul 10, 40%
Tomintoul 10, bottled circa 2005. Oh finally something drinkable in this samples set. Yes it’s a 10 year old but… Honey. malt, nuttiness and ex-bourbon cask. This is actually reasonably tasty. Slightly sulfuric but almost un-noticeably so. Really enjoyable for a 10 year old 40% single malt.
Score: B

Tomintoul 16, 40%
Now a 16 year old from the same gift set as the 10 above… likely bottled in 2004. More honey and better definition vs the 10. I quite like it in fact. Only real detriment is the low proof here. Nutty, vanilla, some light honey, well balanced and less ‘funky’ vs the 10. Long aftertaste of fruits and mellow bourbon spices. I’d probably be down for a bottle of this. It’s still more of a sharing/guests/@work stuff but it’s certain to be a cloud pleaser (sans sherry).
Score: B+

Tomintoul 27, 40%
Also bottled in late 2004. Some sherry in this one at least in the color and the nose. Dried fruits, lots of malt sweetness and vanilla. The back is warming bourbon spice primarily. More nutty than sweet this got some tobacco leather notes to balance out the old vanilla bomb. Enjoyable certainly but for 27 years I expected more. The low proof is really a distraction here. I’m so glad that no respectable distillery puts a 40% abv on their flagship bottles in the recent times.
Score: B+

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown