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GLENDULLAN 23 YO RARE MALTS (1974/1998, OB, 63,1%)

Glendullan is one of those Speyside distilleries whose blurred contours blend with those of countless other brands that start with “Glen”. Founded in Dufftown in 1897 by William Williams (ah, that fantasy for names, so typically Scottish…), it is in fact a neighbour of Glenfiddich, although the current distillery is a twin of the original and dates back to 1972. Like many other Diageo distilleries, Glendullan mostly supplies whisky for blends, and the only official bottling goes under that enigmatic and confusing Singleton hat. Around here, we’ve had a few Glendullans in the past. In fact, talking about our reviews, just one: the forgettable bottling for Game of Thrones, bottled in 2019. Here instead we change category and we dedicate ourselves to a 23 years old, from the glorious 1974 vintage, bottled at cask strength in the Rare Malts series – we’re quite happy about that.

N: elegant and immediately austere. Behind a curtain of fresh grass, walnut husk and vanilla, an outfashioned environment opens: furniture polish and an antique patina. The fruit is quite limited: unripe apricot and orange (Triple sec liqueur). There is also a pleasant scent of donuts. The very high abv closes the doors a bit, with (a lot) water the barley emerges and the orange increases.

P: decidedly intense, even violent at times. If it was a movie, you would need the “parental advisor”. Again it opens with that apricot and lemon acidity. Then everything is mixed as if on the palette of a painter with tumultuous talent: milk chocolate, yellow apple, a hay barn. There is also greaseproof paper, to testify the work of time in the more than twenty years spent in the bottle. Very hot, challenging.

F: medium long, dry, clean: orange and dry hay.

An extreme whisky in its mediatas, we dare say. Beyond our unhealthy passion for oxymorons (not to mention our fetish for anaphors and synecdoche), it seems to us that only the monstrous abv elevates it to a phenomenon. For the rest, it is a rather austere and reserved malt, without taste-olfactory tantrums. Solid, with some hints of ancient elegance, but indomitable. 86/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Black Angels – Prodigal sun.

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