Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 19

19 12 2014

With a scant five days left until the last calendar door swings open, we’re setting a new age record today with a whisky whose name is about as hilariously British as they come:  The Antiquary 21 Year Rare Old Blend.  (And Scotland:  you voted to stay in the UK, so you can’t get mad at me when I say “British”.)  The Antiquary is a sub-label of the Tomatin distillery which was featured here back on Day 12 — if you start researching scotch you’ll realize just how much a seeming multiplicity of brands and labels are consolidated under a very limited number of owners.

Did Jane Austen come up with this name?

Did Jane Austen come up with this name?

“Rare Old Blend” is an accurate description for this calendar, as I believe this is is just the 4th blend out of 18 scotch whiskies so far; it’s a single malt world out there in terms of consumer demand, although high-quality blends are probably the place to look for near-equal character and complexity at a way better price.  This 21 year old blend comes in at $115, extremely reasonable for a whisky of that age.  It’s a mixture of whiskies from all over Scotland, primarily Speyside and Highland but with a “splash” of Islay and Lowland scotch thrown in.  Campbeltown apparently failed to make the cut.

I loved the colour on this whisky, a glorious shimmering orange that belied its obvious age.  There was a surprising jolt of heat on the nose, joined by toffee, caramel, tangerine and nutmeg, all smells quite fitting to the current season.  Every time you take a sip, The Antiquary (I can’t get enough of that name…it sounds like a Sherlock Holmes hideout) just unfolds on you in waves, parchment and dust, salt and spice, corn and barley, with a hint of burnt vanilla.  The alcohol was again a bit prominent given that it’s a relatively normal 43%, distracting to the point that I ultimately added a bit of water to smooth it out, which worked like a charm.  If you have this at home, give it a few drops and see what happens.  Till tomorrow!

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