You might already know this, but once upon a time Perth was the blending capital of the whisky world. It historically was home to many blenders and whisky bottlers. Bell’s, Famous Grouse and Dewar’s can all trace their roots back to Perth, but that seems to have been forgotten by many.
This brand was created in the early 20th century by Peter Thomson. Like many of the famous whisky blenders of old, he too started his career as a grocer in 1908. Very soon after he established his own whisky blends, one of which was Old Perth.
By the time Morisson Scotch Whisky Distillers acquired the brand, it had been defunct for a long time. At first they revived it with mostly small batch releases, many of them heavily sherried. More recently they’ve established a core range. There’s the Old Perth The Original, as well as the Old Perth Cask Strength. In the fall they’ll add the Old Perth 12 Years.
No longer a blend, Old Perth is now a blended malt. The entire core range has a very sherry-forward flavour profile.
Old Perth The Original (46%, OB, 2021)
Nose: Classic modern sherry influences with a spirity first impression revealing its youth. Plenty of cereal notes and some whole grain biscuits, as well as a little suntan oil. There’s stewed fruits, sour cherries and redcurrants too. Taste: Surprisingly creamy and pretty sweet, mainly honey but also some sweet pickled oranges. Touches of white pepper and sandalwood. Finish: A lingering bitterness and somewhat dry.
Could’ve done with some more fruitiness on the palate, but overall a decent blended malt. The nose and palate are quite different from one another.
Old Perth Cask Strength (58.6%, OB, 2021)
Nose: A little more closed, which might be the high abv. Somewhat spirity as well. Notes of fermented mash and cherries, with plenty of barley husks and toffee. Finally a whiff of leather and subdued orange notes. Water brings out marzipan. Taste: Sweet at first with some caramel and fudge, but also plenty of spices and fairly oak-forward. Touches of leather and tobacco. Much creamier after a little water. Whispers of cinnamon buns too. Finish: Drying and spicy. Sweeter after a little while.
Adding water is recommended but I still find it a somewhat challenging whisky.
Old Perth 12 Years (46%, OB, 2021)
Nose: Touches of burlap accompanied by apricots and nectarines, as well as whiffs of beeswax and crème caramel. So very obviously more mature than The Original and Cask Strength. Finally notes of apple skin, Williams pears and brown sugar. Taste: Creamy with gentle fruity notes, mostly along the lines of prunes and grapefruit. Finally some vanilla sugar as well as a welcome touch of mint and liquorice root. Finish: Lingering ginger and nutmeg, as well as orchard fruits. Ripe red apples and poached pears.
Again there’s quite a disparity between the nose and palate, the latter of which is dryer than you’d expect.
All of them are spicier and dryer than I’d expect. Did they use a lot of European oak? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s that aspect that has pulled the ratings down a bit. By far my favourite is the new 12-year-old, if only for the formidable nose.
Samples provided by Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers