We’ve seen quite a few blended malts on these pages, and released in general as well. Most of them are mature stock either blended at birth or before the casks were sold to brokers and bottlers, who are either not allowed to share information on the contents, or simply don’t know. Or these malts are teaspooned. But this Blended Malt 1997 23 Years from The Maltman is different.
There’s plenty of independent bottlers with their own blended malts. One of the best examples is the Remarkable Regional Malts range by Douglas Laing. These blended malts were built from scratch by carefully combining different components. The Thompson Brothers are another example. They recently created the SRV5, a blended malt from a solera vat.
But a lot of the blended malts that come to market are the result of excess stock from the big whisky companies. Edrington is a prime example. They’ve dumped many a cask of blended malt, often consisting of some sort of combination of Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes. Almost any secret blended malt (so to speak) from the past five years or so, has been rumoured to be Edrington stock.
That does not seems to be the case with the Blended Malt 1997 23 Years from The Maltman. On the label it proudly states that it is made from Macallan, Deanston and Tobermory; distilleries owned by two different companies. The outturn of well over 1,000 bottles also suggests this was not a pre-blended single cask.
Blended Malt 1997 23 Years (45.8%, The Maltman, 1086 bts.)
Nose: A subtle meaty element at first, as well as lightly smoked paprika powder, tobacco and old leather. It quiets down after a little while and settles into notes of apple peel, plums, pralines and almond paste. There’s a touch of bung cloth and copper as well. Taste: Slightly drying. Whiffs of hemp rope, smoked almonds, tobacco and menthol, this is not what I expected, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. There’s shoe polish as well, accompanied by milk chocolate, crème caramel and toffee. Finish: Some liquorice, oak tannins and cranberries. Finally a touch of resin. Medium in length.
Complex and far from a dime-a-dozen, this Blended Malt 1997 23 Years from The Maltman is not your average sherry matured whisky. It's at perfect drinking strength, but presents a challenge in all the best ways.