Master of Malt Mystery Speysides

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Distillery/Brand: Master of Malt | Region: Speyside | ABV: 43

Review
On the eve of my 40th birthday I wanted to do something different but just couldn’t figure out what.

Finally after much rummaging through my bar and in the back of my closet I discovered three samples from Master of Malt of their mystery Speyside series.

The first was the 30 year old (5th Edition), the second a 40 year old (2nd Edition) and the 50 year old (4th Edition). I had ordered these 30ml samples a while ago and completely forgot about them.

Until now that is.

Master of Malt are accomplished independent bottlers, apart from being overly priced online retailers, and I generally consider their wares worthy of being sampled.

These mystery Speysiders by Master of Malt come in different ages and are acquired from different distilleries. If someone knows what goes into these please let me know. I will be forever very grateful.

Below are my notes on all three which were sampled in succession.

Speyside 30 Years (5th Edition) – 43%

Nose (23/25) : Mild sherry. Orange zest. Marzipan. Touch of oak. Cumin. Grains. Some oatmeal. Hard boiled sweets. Lychee bubblegum. Pineapple. This is quite a wonderful nose.

Palate (22/25) : Mangos. Mangos. Mangos. In fact there is a Pakistani breed of mango called the Sindhri and this is what it smells like. So much fruit in this. Bananas. Then mild spices. Milk chocolate. And there’s that mango again. Very nice.

Finish (23/25) : Mild spices. Little oily. Some oak. What I like is that it goes down without a trace and 30 seconds later comes straight back up.

Balance (22/25)

Overall a very nice whisky. My score is 90 points

Speyside 40 Years (2nd Edition) – 43%

Nose (24/25) : Deep sherry. Ginger. Cinnamon. Dark chocolate. Hint of oak. Cocoa beans. Coffee leaves. Under-ripe red berries. Dark warm Manuka honey. Prunes. Touch of sea salt. Coca cola. Orange. This is one of the finest Speyside noses I’ve come across. So robust without even a hint of tiredness. The oak stays strong and the spirit comes through.

Palate (23/25) : Chocolate. Fruit cake. Cinnamon. Coffee beans. All spice. Brownies. Nice crisp palate. All flavors on point. Could it have been a little more complex? Sure. But still pretty darn good.

Finish (23/25) : Coffee. Apple. Oak.

Balance (24/25)

This is a gorgeously flavored whisky. Not a single day of it’s 40 year life seems like it was lethargic. Still a spring in it’s step. Love it!

My score is 94 points.

Speyside 50 Years (4th Edition) – 43%

I was going to start this description by saying that this was probably my oldest whisky that I’ve tasted and then I remembered that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a dram of the 64 year old Dalmore Trinitas. So in your face 50 years!

Nose (22/25) : Apricot. Lot of fruit. Light sherry. Light honey. Pineapple. French toast. Feels quite fresh though I feel that maybe the flavors are literally on the verge of fading. They haven’t but might have any second. White wine Chardonay. Maple syrup. Pears. Guava. And the tiniest and I mean tiniest whisp of smoke.

Palate (22/25) : Very smooth. Digestive biscuits. Tropical fruits. That tiny tiny smoke again. Mild spices. Milk chocolate. Soft fruits. Sweets. Nice smooth palate. I still feel, like the nose, the palate was just about going to fall out but it didn’t. Still a very nice tasting whisky.

Finish (22/25) : tropical fruits. Very mild spices.

Balance (22/25)

Good dram. Just because it’s 50 years old doesn’t make it sublime, mind you. I’ve had better but I’ve had far more worse. And with that I give it 88 points.

This now concludes my homage to the three decades on my 40th birthday which, by the way, just came in as I was writing this review.

I’m glad I brought in this little milestone doing what I enjoy doing the most.

Glenfiddich 30 (2008)

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich
Region: Speyside
ABV: 43%
Colour: Deep Gold

Nose: 24
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
I have a deep rooted respect for Glenfiddich because they are responsible for making single malts popular across the globe. Not only with their strong marketing efforts but with their consistently good tasting malts.

I reviewed the 30 year old a while ago but recently came across this 2008 bottling which is rumored to have spirits from as far back as the 60s.

Nose: The nose reminds me of the 18 but is more refined with a strong elegance. The sherry is unmistakeable and brings out the chocolate nuts and burnt orange which is so characteristic of this distillery. And for the first time in my life I got a whiff of blue denim jeans. Don’t ask my how. It flashed in my head so I’m writing it down.

Palate: The candied orange on the palate is just gorgeous. Dark pepper and chocolate syrup rule in a creamy dance of decadence. This is the perfect mouthfeel intensifying the longer you hold it.

Finish: The long gorgeous finish clings to your mouth urging you to give the malt another go. Quick!

Rating: 94

Glenfiddich 30 Years

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich
Region: Speyside
ABV: 40%
Colour: Old Sauternes

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 24

Review

One has to be careful when reviewing the more premium whiskies (and one as popular as this) because their rarity and price inevitably place a bias on your nose and palate. I, therefore, promised my self to be brutally honest and not care about who I hurt in the process.

However, this 30 year old need not have been afraid.

The nose is a beautiful combination of classic Speyside aromas complemented with a confidence that only spending 30 years in a cask can give you. It’s like standing in a large kitchen watching desserts being assembled. One pastry chef is layering caramel, butterscotch and toffee in a dish. Another is scraping vanilla pods by his side. Then there is the overflowing basket of almonds, marzipan and a bushel of green apples sitting on the floor. Finally you realize someone just dropped a couple of orange slices on a hot hot grill!

The creamy delivery carries first with it a long sliver of smooth oak lightly dusted with black pepper and cinnamon. Then burnt treacle and light traces of cocoa on the back of honeyed oils get in on the fun. Finally a touch of herbaceous mint in the mix keeps things interesting. Quite a complex palate which will need your undivided attention.

The medium oaky finish, intertwined with a pleasant after taste of fennel and aniseed, round off an extremely satisfying premium whisky experience.

Rating: 91