Blind Tasting Competition #18: Imperial 1995/2014 Signatory Vintage
Here we are, the grand finale of the Blind Tasting Competition. I’m extremely happy with my performance. Most of the competition I’ve been in either first or second place, switching places with Arjen quite a bit. After sample #17 I’m in second place, only 19 points behind Arjen and 76 and 97 points in front of Floris and Bram. Second place should be doable since 100 points is the maximum score for one sample, and that makes it rather difficult for Floris or Bram to catch up with me. But secretly (or actually not so secretly) I’m hoping to overtake Arjen for first place.
I think I recognize sample #18 as a Clynelish. Now I just have to decide how old it is and at what abv it is bottled. Here are my notes.
Imperial 1995/2014 (52,4%, Signatory Vintage for Asta Morris, C#50147)
Nose: Vanilla, white fruits with apple and pear but also some orange. Honey, wet rocks, minerals. And also a nice waxiness. The nose can be a bit too alcoholic, but is otherwise lovely well-rounded.
Taste: Waxy, white pepper and slight bitter. Orange, lemon, grapefruit. Maybe a chalky note, also some cinnamon. It tastes rather old. And it has something weirdly cheesy.
Finish: Apple, stewed pear, salmon and again the weird cheese thing.
It certainly has its flaws, mainly the weird cheese note. I don’t think any of the other contestants in the Blind Tasting Competition agreed on the cheese thing. But I’ve tasted it twice a couple of days apart from each other. Both time the cheese appeared. But it is still a good whisky.
Now for my guess. I already stated that I thought this too be Clynelish. It was the waxiness that brought me there. After browsing Whiskybase for a short while, I went with this 29yo Clynelish from the SMWS. I was completely wrong.
So no first place for me. But even a perfect score on the last sample wouldn’t have helped me, because the Arjen, the guy I was trying to surpass, scored 100 points for sample #18. He is a very deserving winner.
I still ended in second place though. Way higher than I ever expected. And the coolest thing might be that I never dropped below third place. Thanks to Ewald and Leon for organizing the Blind Tasting Competition, it has been a blast!
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.