Speyside 1998 Archives

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Recently there was a nice Toronto Whisky Society tasting in which a private whisky owner shared an interesting group of whiskies with a group of us.

When one is poured a whisky, one can typically aim for the distillery and hope for the best. One isn’t always rewarded in this way.

Take, for instance, Speyside 1998 Archives. Yes, it’s part of the Fishes of Samoa. I’ve been remiss in my previous reviews from this series to not point out the different amazing artwork. If there’s no other reason to check out The Archives, it’s for how they’ve sourced these pieces of art from a 1906 book of fishes from Oceania.

High brow as fuck, I know.

But back to the liquid inside. We know the age, cask type, and a lot about this. However, we’re left guessing the distillery. And the fact that the distillery is located in one of the most populated distillery regions means we’re guessing until the cows come home. Probably because the cows, like millennials, can’t afford to live by themselves either.

So let’s ignore the distillery and get to this one, shall we?

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Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 05.1998

Bottled: 03.2017

Stated Age: 18 years old

Cask type: Butt

Cask number: 1034

Number of bottles: 239

Abv: 52.7%

Colour: 5YR 4/8

Nose: Sulfur, hazelnut, strawberry, cinnamon

Again we have an initial sherry influence. However this time it’s lighter, and Oloroso versus the ballsy PX sherry one we just had.

Lighter spice and nittiness on this one. Simpler nose, though it let’s the Scotch actually show off, which is nice.

Taste: Chocolate covered peanuts, sulphur, brine, cinnamon

Ah, lovely chocolate and nuttiness, just the right amount of sulphur, and then… well not much.

Until I add water. And then that salt mixes in, with spice. So now you have chocolate covered beer nuts. And if that doesn’t entice you, you madam need some sweets in your life with some saltiness. And you sir need to open your mind.

And you both can come to me for sweet and salty any time (and they say I’ve lost my edge).

Finish: Peanut, strawberry, cola, cinnamon, Nutella

Again, without water? Almost a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Almost. Water? Boom, cola, cinnamon, and Nutella. And yes, I don’t eat Nutella what with the dead orangutans in it, but that’s what it tastes like. More chocolate and nuttiness.

You need more chocolate nuttiness in your life.

Conclusion: Water = much more interesting. Much better with water. When I first tried this it was an okay, meh Oloroso sherried whisky. I’d guess a Glenfarclas if I had to. Then I added water and it’s chocolate nuts all down your throat. Which based on my internet habits is something I hunt for regularly.

Okay, jokes aside: If the last review was over-sherried, this is balanced sherry. This is lighter sherry. This is well made. You don’t need to know the distillery, just that it’s good. And there’s a fish on it, which typically leads to it being good.

Do you like Oloroso drams? Do you like Glenfarclas? Then this is for you. Don’t? Are too afraid? Perhaps are worried at all of the black dick jokes I did? Or maybe just prefer something less sweet? May not be for you. Overall a tasty dram, and dangerously drinkable.

84/100

Scotch review #992, Speyside review #274, Whisky Network review #1556

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