Convalmore 1981 15 Years Old SMWS 83.7
Convalmore releases have been exceedingly rare over the past ten years. Yes, there was a Special Release in 2017, and Gordon & MacPhail has released a couple in the 2010s. But other than those, we have to go all the way back to 2008 for a release from another source (Douglas Laing, actually).
I guess it is safe to say that there’s barely any whisky left from this former Dufftown distillery. Probably only Diageo has some left, and G&M too, most likely. The last time the Scotch Malt Whisky Society released a Convalmore was 15 years ago. But the SMWS bottling I review today is from even longer ago: well over 21 years.
Convalmore 1981 15 Years Old (64,8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, C#83.7)
Nose: A whiff of rubber and diesel makes way for subtle notes of ripe fruits like mango, banana and apricot, followed by sweet barley aromas. Overall though, this is a tad shy. Maybe adding water helps? Yes, it does. It brings out a more mineral side, with a touch of lavender and lemon zest. Also, it reveals an intense waxiness.
Taste: Again, rubber is what comes to mind first. Quite an industrial first impression. Certainly unlike anything I’ve ever had from any other distillery. Even at almost 65 percent, this performs well. Lots of candle wax, hints of honey too. Quite earthy, as well a good amount of chili pepper. Man, this is quite an experience that I find hard to put into words. Water mellows it a bit, and makes it even more waxy, if that’s possible. It also highlights a previously overlooked fruity side. Think sweet apples and green grapes. I think I’m in love.
Finish: Lingering spices and fruitiness. Beeswax. Long.
Excuse me, does anyone have a spare bottle of this they’d like to get rid of? Jeez, this is something else.
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.