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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Glenkinchie 19 yo 1964 Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice 40% ~ Brown label vs St. Magdalene 18 yo 1964 Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice 40% ~ Brown label

At the time, the Connoisseurs Choice range was meant as an introduction to lesser known distilleries. Little would they have known what a perfect little snapshot each of these bottles have become, freezing a little picture of time and place in a bottle for posterity.

Glenkinchie 19 yo 1964 Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice 40% ~ Brown label

One does feel the low abv, however this makes the whisky immediately accessible and renders its character clear and conspicuous. Old ripe sherry, the sort that borders on rancio, with thick leather and pungent old honey and mouldering resins. Yes it’s got some glass too, but it is also undoubtedly phenolic with traces of coal and cinders, cold stoves, ash pans, cold dirt and dry compost. Also mint tea sachets and licorice allsorts. Good balance between the rich and phenolic aspects.

So it is not a complex whisky, but it is a forgotten style, sort of like a paint by numbers Caravaggio where the only colour you can use is ochre. One must be forgiven for thinking how preferable that is to Glenkinchie today, which in artistic terms must be a close up photo of a lightbulb.

St. Magdalene 18 yo 1964 Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice 40% ~ Brown label

In a serendipitous turn, I discover these brown labels have a few tricks up their bottle sleeves. This St. Magdalene is in no way flagging. It is a firm spirit that bears the sherry, the abv and the weight of time with a shrug. The nose is still rich with dried jam and cocoa notes, and backed by loads of resinous and barky notes, all tightly composed. Not as phenolic as the Glenkinchie but there is still a host of soot and coal, and old tool bench to be found. Medicine aspects abound too, in the shape of camphor, turpenes and quinine tablets, and even a fleeting whiff of musk. Truly remarkable.

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2019 by in Glenkinchie, St. Magdalene and tagged , .
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