Old Scotch+Low ABV = Delicious: Glenburgie 1954 30
People wax poetic about old scotch (me included) and say the modern stuff is not the same. Now, I think modern scotch still has some winners but I would have to agree scotch is nowhere near as good, on the whole, as it used to be (pre-1980s being the money decades). One thing people balk at, especially the bourbon heads, is that the older stuff is rarely >43% abv and its too 'weak' or 'thin.' Well, frankly, that's because the distillate/casks were so good, you really didn't need all that abv (plus at lower abv more people can try it!). What I'm trying to say is two fold: 1. Older whisky is unique and special - be it from less automation, more love, less polluted water, whatever. The 1960's and 1970's style of whisky aren't going to happen again.
2. You don't need high proof/cask strength whisky to get complexity or bold/interesting flavors.
I'll probably need another post just to dive into the points above later, but for now I think I can illustrate both by a bottle review.
[Bottle Review] Glenburgie 1954 Pinerolo Import (40%)
Bottling Date: ~1984
Cask Type: Not stated
# bottles: Not stated
Bottled for: Italy
Auction price at time of writing: $600 (December 2020)
Original Retail Price: ~$50 (best guess)
Its bursting with endless notes on the nose, where I find a new smell every few minutes. [Loads of honey, orange, denny’s waffles, potpourri, hints of heather (reminiscent of old HP) with a slight peat. Gentle baking spices and citrus, OBE might be adding some tropical elements. Waxy.]
The palate isn't weak or thin at all, you just need to take your time and let it evolve. There is a TON going on: [Honey, spice, cream, black bitter licorice, rubber, some motor oil and bitter herbs, phenolic, raw asparagus, really wild, powerful and vegetal for 40%.]
The finish is the only weak point to me, where yes the extra abv might have extended it, but damn the nose and palate are fantastic! [Phenol notes, clove and honey with some white pepper and fine EVO, very warm but the flavor disappears too fast although the warmth remains.]
A solid 90-91 points in my book, a lost style + extremely complex and evolving nose/palate + a beautiful decanter. Highly recommend not overlooking old whisky at lower proof
(edit: I take that back, please continue to overlook it because it keeps the auction prices low for me 😇)