Alloa 40y single grain. Hart Bro's, cask 30295, bottle 36 of 204, July 1964-Feb 2005, 42.5%
Nose: The luxury of honey and butterscotch with a hint of apricots, peaches and cream. Overlayed on this is a delicate promise of something just very slightly spicy.
Palate: If I follow Richard Paterson's rule, the first sip of any whisky should be kept in the mouth one second for each year of the whisky's age. OK, back in 40 seconds with a report ................... Mmmmmm, my first impression was that after the nose, I expected a luxuriously thick, fruity syrup with lots of honey. The texture was rather normal, not syrupy at all. It took something like 10 seconds for the flavours to emerge and the first one was of a slightly sweet, perhaps butterscotch likeness. After the twenty second mark, the spiciness began to grow and overpowered the sweetness. But this was certainly not unpleasant. This spiciness spread from the middle of the tongue to the extremeties and brought with it the flavour of peaches and ice cream - a wonderful experience. From 30-40 seconds this peaches and ice cream flavour dominated and the spiciness receded to the background.
More Nose: Whilst I have been typing, the whisky has stood on my desk and I have decided to nose once more. It now retains the peachy fruitiness, but also offers aromas of wheat and cereal alongside. In fact, there is almost an aroma of a bowl of something between Special K and Weetabix, but not quite porridge. Please don't be put off here, these aromas are a delight and nothing like as bad as they sound from my description!
Palate again: So here we go with sip no. 2 ..... Once again, the build-up of flavours is slow. This is not a whisky which immediately hits you, it creeps up gently and then explodes into a fruity, spicy life. The peaches and cream were there again. So was the gentle spiciness which took a few seconds to emerge, this time on the back of the tongue. On the third sip, the butterscotch started to emerge with the spiciness. In fact, although there is no taste of ginger, it reminds me of a ginger-style tingle as opposed to a chilli-style one.
Aftertaste: The aftertaste, including the after-tingle is long and pleasant on both the front tip and back of the tongue. This is more a butterscotch than peaches and cream flavour which I suppose suits the idea of butterscotch.
Overall impression: Wonderfully smooth, just a like a single grain should be. Lots of nice fruit with peaches and apricots, but also a slightly spicy butterscotch element which dominates the aftertaste. This is a thoroughly pleasant dram and I can't help thinking about what kind of blend I could design with this as the base, if only I had the skills of a remarkable few in the trade. I could envisage mixing this with some Glenlivet Nadurra CS and maybe the 18y as both also have lots of summer fruit flavours. For balance I may include something like Benrinnes or Blair Atholl and if I could get the quantities right, I am sure it would be a winner! As a second thought, Ardbeg 30y would also be a great partner to this Alloa if anyone wanted to create something totally sublime!
With water: Oh dear, just 3 drops of water in about 1cl of whisky was too much. The palate was weakened but the aftertaste improved and lengthened - strange, I have never encountered this before.