The opportunity to sample older whisky is becoming increasingly rare. Which may sound obtuse coming from a guy who just reviewed the Glen Grant 1953 ‘Mr George Legacy’, but it is actually true. There’s simply less available and whatever does come to market is usually über expensive and far out of my reach. There’s a reason my Whisky Top 10 doesn’t need to be updated as often anymore.
Luckily I can always resort to buying samples. It’s just a great resource for any whisky lover, especially if you’re like me and love to explore instead, are curious about new releases and don’t really care that your whisky cabinet’s esthetic is contaminated by small bottles with handwritten labels that sometimes are barely decipherable. And even though I’m lucky to regularly receive review samples from a number of producers, I’m still always on the lookout myself. After all, I’d rather decide myself what to write about.
But with the rising whisky prices, samples are becoming increasingly expensive as well. Sure, that’s unavoidable, but I find myself barely blinking paying a third of the price a new bottle of Kilkerran 12 Years for a sample that holds just 3 centilitres of whisky. And sometimes it’s not even better than the Kilkerran. So, while whisky is a big part of my professional life, it’s also still a hobby and passion. Just an expensive one. Which I then try to pay for by writing about whisky. That’s the circle of my life.
Talking about circles, let’s circle back to sampling older whisky. Because that’s what I’m doing today. The Tormore 1988 32 Years from The Whisky Agency was released earlier this year and will set you back north of 300 euro. Seeing that Tormore is not exactly an A-list distillery, it’s not very surprising that there are still bottles around, regardless of this being a quality single malt.
Tormore 1988 32 Years (47.1%, The Whisky Agency, 187 bts.)
Nose: Warm apple compote with sprinkles of cinnamon. A slight minerality and juicy green grapes as well, followed by a hint of tangerine. Whispers of dried grass and even some tobacco. Taste: Soft fruits like stewed apples, but also apricots and with a touch of grappa and some eucalyptus. Slightly dry at times with whiffs of musty oak, but also some freshly cut grass. A pinch of white pepper also. Finish: Drying and lingering spices. Then a sliver of honey, grass and chalk. Ending on orchard fruits.
Good but not great, this Tormore 1988 32 Years from The Whisky Agency is a proper aged single malt, but at this price point you could probably do better. Not older per se, but better.