Last week the Whisky Facile Dream Team attended a special tasting, held in Mulligan’s Irish Pub by Diageo & Milano Whisky Festival: main character of the night, a hidden treasure from Speyside… Pittyvaich! Its life has been really short: it was opened in 1974 in Dufftown and it shut down in 1993. Very few expressions reached the market: some Diageo Special Releases obviously stand out.
Pittyvaich 20 yo (1989/2009, OB, 57,5%)
N: suddenly elegant and with a delicious grassy note: hay and aromatic herbs. Thyme at first, turning into camphor. The oak is almost parfumed (rosewood?). The alcohol is perfectly integrated, superb cleanliness. There’s an “orange” nuance, due to a nice aroma of dried orange peel left on the stove. Peach cobbler and – just to stay in the bakery – Torta Paradiso. With water, the vanilla
and the freshness increase. And finally we get it: old style waxiness! P: sharp and citric (lemon). And even savory. It starts very intense, pleasantly nervous.
The vanilla is still here, but with peppermint. Prickly and peppery, it slowly smooths with a slightly bitter oakiness. With water is softer, but less distinctive. F: lemon pips, salt and intense ginger, prolonging the finish.
Super-clean, herbaceous and gushing. It’s not a complexity monster, actually it would look simple, considering the notes. But it shows a strong personality and an amazing intensity. 89/100
Pittyvaich 25 yo (1989/2015, OB, 49,9%)
N: more ethereal, compared to the first malt. There’s a vinyl note, which suddenly disappears, making way for a sweet & fruity soul, stewed apples and orange marmalade. Someone suggests some sherry influence, but we’re sipping a whisky matured in refill bourbon hogsheads, so fake news. Actually, there’s no doubt the malt is the main note, with an almond hint. With water it changes a lot:
lime and lemon tree leaves. The empty glass is now a vanilla bomb.
P: the oakiness is stronger here, despite the body, deliciously oily. Cocoa powder and cloves, a slight astrincency. Poached pears, peach juice: it’s still fruity and sweet. Some custard, and later the core of the whisky: a round, solid, wonderful malt.
F: rather bitter and dry, but also peppery and floral (peach flowers). With water, some tangerine emerges.
It’s probably the less convincing malt of the night, because it’s undefined and undefinable. The range of aromas isn’t wide here, either, but we must say that the result is however pleasant. It’s nicely made, but likely to be confused between other similar whiskies. 86/100 – and it’s good to know that is the same judgment we reached years ago.
Pittyvaich 28 yo (1989/2018, OB, 52,9%)
N: super fruity! Red apples, cantaloupe and fruit pastries. There’s also some ripe pineapple and a distinct touch of eucalyptus, to stress the freshness working as Leitmotiv tonight. Custard, almonds, a bourbon sweetness. With time, the long maturation speaks more loud: closed drawers. With water, candied lemon.
P: warm and tingly, the alcohol doesn’t hide. The pastries are still here, most of all with tangerine and pineapple. Luxuriously buttery and cosy (cocoa butter?). The grassy side is less prominent, and it appears only after a while. Is this celery? A touch of dried coconut. Water blots it out, don’t do this at home!
F: Brazil nuts and citrus.
The most fruity and bourbon oriented: it seems like someone distilled a whole patisserie. The finish is rather simple and it lacks a bit of personality. Very well balanced but not outstanding. 87/100
Pittyvaich 29 yo (1989/2019, OB, 51,4%)
N: new game, new rules. The nose is immediately less expressive, more difficult and closed. It starts with a sulphury hint, maybe matches? Warehouse, autumn leaves. Dark suggestions, from chocolate to chestnut honey. It’s dense and
accurately crafted: there’s no freshness, dried pears and strudel with cinnamon. The sherry influence is evident, but not exaggerated.
P: the sweetness and the pleasantly sulphury side go hand-in-hand. Almost moldy orange and a hint of Marsala, due to the ex-Pedro Ximenez casks. It still
dark and damp: carob, brewed tea leaves, honey (chestnut or linden honey, not too sweet anyway). Milk coffee with sugar and caramel, walnuts that reminds us its venerable age.
F: licorice! Sweet orange. It’s sticky and mouth-watering.
The most complex: the challenging mix of sherry sulphury notes gives some extra depth, to detriment of the herbaceous freshness we were used to. It’s never annoying, but the sweetness is always here. 88/100