The last year has been a very busy one for The Whisky Exchange when it comes to exclusive bottlings. We’ve put out more than 30 exclusive whiskies and a rum, with many more to come over the next 12 months. However, one of my favourites is a whisky that I poured at The Whisky Show back in September – a mysterious Speyside 1973 bottled by The Whisky Agency.
Mysterious 1973 Whisky
There have been a few 1973 releases from Speyside recently. They are listed as blended malt whiskies and with little information about them, other than that they are excellent and packed with tropical-fruit notes – a style of whisky that we are especially fond of in the Whisky Exchange office. We were very pleased when The Whisky Agency had a cask that we could bottle with them.
All we know for sure is that it was distilled in 1973, matured in an ex-sherry butt and bottled at 43 years old. Other than that, we can only guess…
We think it was a fino sherry butt rather than the more regular oloroso – the colour and character of the whisky back that up, but we can’t be sure. It’s also almost certainly a refill cask, as the whisky is surprisingly un-woody for a 43-year-old.
While it’s a blended malt, it’s also quite reminiscent of a certain style of 1970s’ Speyside whisky – the fruity style that a well-known family-owned distillery is known for, when you can find a bottling that isn’t heavily sherried.
Speyside 1973 exclusive to The Whisky Exchange
Nose: Spiced brioche, brown sugar and rich lardy cake. Cinnamon buns and iced Danish pastries with a cherry on the top. Fruit jelly notes develop – lemon, lime, pineapple, dried mango and papaya – with a background of old, wax-polished oak tables. Meatier notes slowly emerge, balanced by sugar flowers, candied lemon and sweet whipped cream.
Palate: Creamily textured, with lightly-spiced egg-custard tarts leading into old Chartreuse, spiced sponge cake and butter cream – the herbal notes float around on top, while underneath sit piles of cakes and oaty biscuits. In between are fruity boiled sweets, barley sugar and herbal throat sweets. Apple, pear, pineapple, and candied papaya and banana develop: softly-spiced tarte-tatin, drenched with butter, and dressed with tropical and orchard fruit.
Finish: Apple sauce and buttered toast. Toasted, spiced, fruit loaf develops. Apple sweets and cream remain.
Comment: Old and dignified. Floral and fruity notes dance around on top, with weightier notes of spice and cake supporting from below. Complex and elegant, rewarding long exploration. It is almost impossible to get whisky of this age and quality for anything approaching this price – a rare chance to taste an increasingly hard-to-find style of malt.