Some of the best received releases from the last couple of years have been undisclosed Speysiders, especially from the 1970s. Now Whiskybase, under their independent Archives-label, releases not one, but two of these gems at the same time. And as a bonus they also throw in a very affordable Speyside 1998. Is it Christmas already?
Of the many undisclosed Speysiders from the seventies, the 1973 vintages seem to be especially well-liked. How stoked must these guys be that they can release two at the same time? Both have matured in an ex-Fino sherry butt and promise to be utterly delicious.
But let’s not forget about the Speyside 1998. These 1973-releases are nice and all, but also way out of reach for the average whisky drinker. The Speyside 1998 is more affordable, has matured in a sherry butt, and is definitely very good as well. Let’s start with that one first.
Speyside Region 1998 (52,7%, Archives, C#1034)
Nose: Soft dried fruits, like boysenberries and blackberries. There’s earl grey tea, with tobacco and a hint of furniture polish. A touch of pralines, and strawberries too. Finally a whisper of soy. Taste: Sweet, candied red fruit at first. Quickly transforming into notes of espresso, dark chocolate and cloves. The palate is quite dry. Finish: Lingers on milk chocolate and cherries. Medium to long.
Speyside Region 1973 (46,5%, Archives, C#9)
Nose: Fruit and oak and fresh ginger. Pink grapefruit, ripe apples, beeswax, honey and varnish. It explodes in the glass, doesn’t need to breathe at all. Pine sap, mint and pine needles make an appearance as well. Taste: Lemon peel, honey, grapefruit, some bitter oranges even. Also ginger, a hint of black pepper. Some soft tobacco notes and a hint of wood polish. Yes, of course there’s oak, but it’s light and lovely and in balance. Finish: Long, with oranges and subtle wood spices.
Speyside Region 1973 (46,8%, Archives, C#8)
Nose: Peach and nectarine. Kumquats too, as well as a hint of grapefruit and honey. Also oak, furniture polish and resin. A touch of hay, but then back to fruitier notes of apple cider. Maybe even slightly hoppy. Taste: Bitter grapefruit, herbs, stewed apples and beeswax. Soft, subdued lemon notes, accompanied by cinnamon, cloves. A touch of menthol. Finish: Ends on sweet notes, with a touch of pink grapefruit and honey. Quite long.
The Speyside 1998 is a very satisfying sherry-matured whisky. It receives some penalty points for the dryness on the palate, but otherwise displays a good complexity. Nice fruitiness, somewhat earthy, properly aged. Good stuff.
The two Speyside 1973s are in a league of their own. An abundance of fruit, a healthy oak influence and lovely sweet honey and beeswax notes. You’d be happy to have either one of these in your collection. That said, I do prefer cask number 9. I feel it is even fruitier than the other one, which is a tad more spicy (especially on the palate).