It’s been a little while since I last tasted whisky from Imperial. There was a time not that long ago, where it seemed like Signatory Vintage released a new Imperial ever few weeks, but those times are behind us now. I’ve now idea how many casks are still in the Signatory warehouses, but it seems as though stocks have dwindled.
Even though, Imperial, while a closed distillery, is probably one of the least iconic closed distilleries out there. Contemporaries such as Caperdonich and Littlemill are more sought after, not to speak of the the distilleries that closed in the mid-1980s.
That being said, Imperial does have a very agreeable flavour profile. Often fruity, sometimes waxy. It is probably one of the most accessible closed distilleries, both in terms of price as well as in terms of taste.
Imperial 1995 23 Years Old (48.9%, Signatory Vintage, C#50191)
Nose: Good god, this is buttery and waxy and fruity and… Great first impression! There’s honey, kumquats, lemon peel and freshly cut green apple parts. Hints of sisal rope too. Really, really good. Taste: Lovely sweet honey-esque arrival, with a pinch of cotton candy. Very reminiscent of the nose, as citrus notes and orchard fruits make an encore as well. The palate is a tad more spicy though (not a negative), with especially white pepper. There’s a whiff of bitter oak, too. Finish: Not non-existent, but surprisingly short for what is otherwise such a quality spirit.
Hadn’t it been for the finish, this would’ve been a 90 pointer in my book, quite easily actually. Nonetheless, this is proper stuff, and especially the nose is world-class.