There is a really intimate pleasure in cracking open a bottle of aged malt whisky. Almost a nervousness. A 40 year old is a huge treat indeed for most of us. 40 year old whiskies are exceptionally rare, can be incredibly complex and should always be treated with respect.

Whiskies this age can lose up to half their volume to evaporation and few casks survive maturation of over three decades well enough to create truly great scotch.

Glenlochy 1979 (bottled in 2015) – a Highland single malt scotch from the lost Glenlochy distillery in Fort William, bottled at 46% ABV by Gordon and MacPhail.

Whisky is such a personal experience that I’ll simply start by saying simply that the Glenlochy is lovely. The scent of a whisky can be intoxicating – fiery, sweet, smooth, smoky, fruity, peaty, sometimes all at the same time – and is worth pausing over before diving in. This bottle promised complexity and clarity and the golden glass delivered fully.

Tasting notes

The Nose: sweet vanilla, toffee apple, oak and a hint of fruits.
The Palate: light sugar, tropical fruit with notes of oak and treacle.
Mid-Palate: smooth and delicate.
The Finish: salt chocolate, lingering just long enough to leave you wanting more.

With ice, the experience changes, as you would expect. The most immediately noticeable difference is in the liquid itself. This is a non chill-filtered whisky. Below 46% ABV it’s a characteristic of non chill-filtered whiskies that they can cloud with the addition of water, as explained in our note on chill filtration and cloudiness. As all whiskies are so individual, the 46% is not a hard and fast number, but rather an indicator.
Check out the science here.

The Nose: sweet, fruity, light oak, toffee apple,
The Palate: mild, sweet, tropical fruits, unlocked complexity, a pinch of sea salt.
Mid-Palate: refreshing.
The Finish: fast and fruity, with a tiny hint of saltiness

Roadtested at the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Scotland.