Back in May, we received six whisky samples from Impex Beverages. The collective name for these whiskies is The Exclusive Malts Batch #8 which includes a Balmenach 2007, Laphroaig 2005, Invergordon 1984, Irish Whiskey 2002, North Highland 2005, and Speyside 1991. Rather than share the samples and compare notes, G-LO and I decided to split up the samples between the two of us. G-LO took the Irish Whiskey, North Highland, and Laphroaig while I took the Balmenach, the Invergordon and the Speyside. Regrettably, G-LO got his homework in on time while I’m trying to finish summer school in the hopes of matriculating in the fall.
Here are my thoughts…
The Exclusive Malts Balmenach 2007 8 Year Old
- Appearance: Pale color; a little pinkish. Pink lemonade perhaps?
- Aroma: A big blast of astringency (duh, we’re at 57.6% here!). Followed by, cola syrup, honey, confectioner’s sugar, and some florals (honeysuckle?). A bit like an iced animal cracker dunked in a coke.
- Taste: Wow! That first sip is a little bit of everything. A powerful hit of alcohol, a cinnamon fire, and a fair amount of sugary syrup. As the power subsides, there is a little pipe tobacco and some leather ending in a nice, warming finish.
- ABV: 57.6%
Balmenach is a Speyside distiller founded in 1824, making it one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland that was sanctioned after the Excise Act of 1823. The distillery is owned by Inver House Distillers Ltd and is a part of a portfolio that also includes Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, and Speyburn. As respects the 8 year old, this is not a whisky for the light-hearted. There was so much of everything; a veritable flavor explosion. Still a little rough around the edges as it is a relatively young spirit. If this was given a little more time in the barrel, I think this would be a fantastic whisky.
The Exclusive Malts Invergordon 1984 30 Year Old
- Appearance: Light caramel color.
- Aroma: Soft and sweet. Vanilla, sugar, tea biscuits, apples and pears.
- Taste: Rather like it smells. Soft (especially for a 52.3%) with some sugars and some fruit. A little bit of cigar ash, with some mild heat and a heavy, woody aftertaste.
- ABV: 52.3%
For some reason (could be that Charlize Theron), I always think of The Legend of Bagger Vance and one, Adele Invergordon whenever I hear this whisky. Roaring 20’s, classic style and classy people (and Ms. Theron), it takes a great book and brings the tapestry to life. If only the rest of the movie was as good.
But, I digress …
Invergordon is a Highland whisky that was established in 1961. Now, a part of Whyte and Mackay which is owned by Philippines-based Alliance Global Group, Inc., Invergordon produces an eponymous 10 YO Single Grain and the Sheep Dip Pure Malt 8 YO. The 30 year was a real treat as it is rare that I get the opportunity to try such a well-aged whisky. Unfortunately, I found this too be almost the opposite of the Balmenach, i.e. the Balmenach was a little rough due to immaturity, while the Invergordon was a little flat given its advanced age.
The Exclusive Malts ‘A Speyside’ 1991 23 Year Old
- Appearance: Pale straw color.
- Aroma: A bit of astringent, a little menthol and a bit vapory with hints of vanilla and heather.
- Taste: Sweet upfront with a mild, mid-palate peppery build followed with a longish hot finish.
- ABV: 51.3%
I found this one much more to my liking. It seems that I’ve taken a bit of a “Goldilocks and The Three Bears” approach to this review: the first whisky was a bit too hard; the second whisky was a bit too soft; but the third whisky was just right. I really enjoyed this one. Now, I just need to uncover the name of this undisclosed distillery.