Hogshead – North British 32

The first entry in this Explorers Pack for the Fall season is immediately a 32-year-old! What a way to start! The opportunity to add this to the Explorers Pack happened by chance, as the product that was supposed to be in its spot could not be delivered to me in time. In response to which the importer (Hogshead Imports) asked me if I wouldn’t be interested to include a North British Single grain from 1991!

As you may imagine, I had to blink twice. Budget-wise I never imagined I would be able to include whisky over 30 years old in my pack. But here the opportunity arose and there was not one, but two options to chose from! Hogshead Indie Bottlings bottled two North British from 1991, one of them 31 years old and the other 32. Both matured in a first fill Bourbon Barrel, but one of them with much more cask influence then the other.

Initially I was recommended to go for the “younger” 31-year-old. As for that one the cask influence had been the greatest, which turned the whisky into a beautiful dark spirit as you might expect from a whisky with such an age statement. But after trying both, I simply couldn’t withhold this stunning dram from you. Because even though the cask influence might not have been as great (which you can already spot from the colour) the influence of time made this such a perfectly balanced and complex dram. It’s elegance in a glass and I knew I wanted to share this exclusive bottling with all of you.

Tasting Notes: Hogshead – North British 32
Stats:

ABV: 45,4% (90,8 proof)

Age: 32 years old

Distillery: North British Distillery

Bottled by: Hogshead Indie Bottlings

Category: Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Cask: First Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

Beautiful and delicate notes approach you when you bring your nose to the glass. I find myself thinking of dried apricots covered in a thin layer of powdered sugar. Slightly reminiscent of Turkish Delight. Since we’re dealing with such an old dram it’s worth it to give it a bit of time in the glass, as the nose evolves from the soft fruity notes into more floral notes like lavender and lilies of the valley. But the grain is still noticeable as well, as mild notes of porridge come drifting by. I can keep on discovering layers and new notes on this nose, but what stands out the most is that every note that I find seems to be perfectly balanced and integrated into the dram. Joyous!

Palate:

One thing I always love in a whisky is when it evolves. When nose, palate and finish each take you by surprise and take you on a wonderful journey. And this is one such dram. Where the nose was complex yet delicate, the palate is complex and robust. Vanilla immediately stands out, but the influence of the woods tannins over the years is noticeable as well. Without it becoming overpowering. There’s pepper, liqourice root, and aniseed. Paired with oatmeal, white wine, and roasted chestnuts. Lovely!

Finish:

The finish is long. And it’s here I truly notice the fact that this is still a cask strength whisky. Time may have dropped the ABV down a fair margin, but the fact that no water was added explains the complexity and longevity of the flavours in this dram. And once again it’s vastly different from nose and palate. There’s caramel candied apple, a dusting of nutmeg and just a hint of white chocolate covered Oreo’s. I love those… this is a finish to truly savour!

Verdict:

What a glorious dram this is. So much complexity and so ever evolving. Sipping this is an experience on its own. And I’m not saying this to “toot my own horn” for selecting this dram. This one was offered to me after all, and boy am I grateful to Toon from Hogshead Imports for doing so. At only 7,50 for a 32 -year-old dram I think this is an absolute must try from this season’s selection, one no whisky lover will regret!

Rating:

92/100

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