Invergordon 1973 42 Year (The Exclusive Malts)

Single Grain — Highlands, Scotland

4.0 out of 5 stars
Disclaimer: this review isn't for the listed Invergordon, but for 2 separate samples: a young 9 year old sample, independently bottled by Battlehill, and a 44 year old, independent bottling by Maltbarn. This is a combination of 2 separate reviews and will be a pretty long read. Turn back now if you aren't settled in.... To kick off our third round of Scottish distillery samples in a more exciting way, I decided to try the "official" Invergordon sample I supplied beside the extra sample my friend Pranay generously added. This isn't a comparison, but more of a case study in generations of Invergordon's single grain whisky. The 9 year old along side a rare, 44 year old sample. Up first is the older, much rarer 44 year old from German independent bottler- Maltbarn. This one is a slightly darker, amber than the much younger 9 year old. No surprise there. The nose is heavy charred oak. Heavy char- almost burnt. It's a bit of a shock after huffing its younger sibling. Yet, right on cue, those same cereal notes and toasted marshmallow notes appear. This time, though, they bring some berry sweetness instead of vanilla. It's a bit of a surprise. This one smells delicious and decadent. On the palate, there's the same initial blast of oak cask notes. This one seems like a more traditional, American bourbon. Lots of spices and significantly drier than its counterpart (the 9yo). Cinnamon and pepper spices and heat, with a similar fig and nutmeg finish. Speaking of finish, this one takes on all the typical, oak barrel notes while still being short and not really hot at all. I get the impression that the barrels used weren't of the highest quality but that long slumber extracted everything that was available and ultimately turns this one into a more complex dram. I think I could spend more quality time with Scottish grain whiskies and not feel "shorted" by any means. These siblings play well together and paint a beautiful picture of what's possible when aged properly. Blends be damned- I'd like to have these on hand when I really want something a little different, but I don't feel like experimenting with crazy blends or heavy flavor bombs. I just want to sip and get happy. 4 stars. Next up is the newer stuff- the 9 year old, independent bottling from Battlehill that comes in at a cask strength of 58%. It's a very pale yellow and smells of candle wax and cereal box marshmallows. There's hints of vanilla, figs and nutmeg. Even at 58% there's no evidence of ABV at all. The youthful, lightly charred oak provides an interesting backbone here, too. On the tongue, there's an initial blast of oak and pepper spice that's short lived and fades into a freshly opened box of Lucky Charms cereal, with the marshmallows! The vanilla and honey sweetness helps temper the burn as it fades into a sweet wheat and malty finish. It's more oily than I expected but rather short. I really expected a lengthy and hot finish because of the ABV, but I guess that's the joy of grain whisky. It's pretty smooth overall. It's really non-offensive, but with little to no depth, which is why it's mainly used for blending I suppose, but it's still surprisingly enjoyable. Liquified, Saturday morning cereal- with a kick. 3.75 stars. I like this more than I probably should, haha. To sum them both up- they are equally enjoyable for how simple they both are. This was one of the more enjoyable side-by-sides I've been able to do, not just on our "tour", by in general. A big thanks to Pranay for providing the oldest sampled whisky I believe I've had to date. This couldn't have played out any better. Cheers, thanks for sticking around and reading my novella.