Glentauchers 1981 Signatory Vintage

Glentauchers 1981

Distillery: Glentauchers

Expression: 1981

Age Statement: 30 years

Vol: 56.8%

Extra info: Distilled on 05/03/1981, bottled on 14/03/2011. Matured in a refill Butt. Cask #1049, bottle #134 of 437.

Glentauchers is not a very well known distillery, situated near Keith, in the Speyside region of Scotland. It doesn’t produce much whisky for the single malt market, but is said to be a ‘key component’ of the Ballantine’s and Teacher’s blended whiskies. It is currently owned by Pernod Ricard.

I bought this whisky in late 2011, not because I particularly love Glentauchers (I had never actually tasted one), but because of its date of distillation and bottling. I was looking for a nice belated present to myself for my 30th birthday and went looking for dates close to my own birthdate. This is the bottle I found; distilled 2 days after I was born and bottled 11 days after my 30th birthday. Lucky extra for me; This is quite a lovely whisky…

Nose: Very fruity. Dried fruit like plums and dates, light raisins even. A cereal note as well, dry biscuits and wheat flour. Vanilla sweetness like in a milky custard pudding. Some berries perhaps, or berry juice, drizzled over that vanilla pudding. Some spice now as well, light, maybe cinnamon or fennel seeds. Almost creamy now, that custard coming through again.

Taste: Quite oaky, didn’t notice that before. A slight bitter note, like liquorice. Dried fruits again, those plums are back and so are the raisins. Spice returning as well, with light cinnamon again and now with aniseed or something alike. Here comes that vanilla pudding, adding lovely sweetness. Creamy on the palate as well, which gives it a mellow mouthfeel. Rather lovely.

Without water this turns into a massive malt. What an enormous difference. It is hugely drying on the gums and tongue, the bitterness much stronger now and the dried fruit having an absolute party doing their thing. Peppery bombs going off as well. The sweetness has trouble coming forward at all, but maybe that’s because my mouth is rather numb. Seriously eye watering and tongue numbing.

Finish: The slightly bitter oak/liquorice combination carries the vanilla sweetness off to a nice, medium length finish. Creamy puff pastry covered in vanilla sauce, with a bit of dried fruit flaked on top. Very enjoyable indeed, but not as long as I would have hoped.

Without water the finish is longer, with now a big malt note, which I hadn’t really noticed before. The dried plumbs outnumber the rest, with only the anise being able to clearly make an appearance. After a while the sweetness comes, with that vanilla custard. Now I get a clear sherry note as well, also something that wasn’t obvious with water.

Overall: This whisky delivers a night and day difference with and without water, fascinating to observe. I must say, though, if I had to choose, I would choose to add water to this. Definitely. Without water it’s just an assault on the senses, too much for me to be able to make a clear judgement. Especially in the taste, the alcohol is simply too overpowering. Plus, in the ‘watered’ nose, there’s so much more to be discovered than without it. A really lovely, versatile whisky, that I do not regret buying for a second.

Rating: 4 stars

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