An Impressive Age Statement and an Even More Impressive Price
Speymhor 38 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky ($179.99)
“I’m shocked and confused as to why I’m able to sell this to people for less than $200. These barrels could have easily ended up as a Last Drop or Compass Box special release retailing for 10 times our shelf price.” — David Othenin-Girard, KL SoCal Spirits Buyer
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If you’ve been a fan of Compass Box, then let us introduce you to a brand you need to know: Speymhor. While little known here in the States, this under-the-radar distiller has conjured up some remarkable bottlings, and chief among them is this captivating Speymhor 38 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. Much like Compass Box, it is a soaring blended Scotch of stunning depth and range. Scotch, both blended and single malt, at the 38-year-mark commands a premium that can climb well into the $1000s. Nonetheless, this expression can be had for the jaw-droppingly low price of $179.99. This is almost unheard of and counts among the best finds in Scotch we’ve seen this year. A joining of two casks, one from Speyside, the other from Highlands, it holds its own against some of the top expressions we’ve tasted from Scotland’s best blenders. We could go on and on about the myriad of flavors and textures; however, our SoCal Spirits Buyer, David Othenin-Girard, puts it best when he summarizes that this is “[a]n absolutely unparalleled experience at this price.” There’s simply no two ways about it. If you love a perfectly aged malt with striking vitality and power, you must own this bottle. There are only 200 to go around, so we don’t expect our allocation to last long. Time is of the essence on this remarkable opportunity.
The Speymhor brand (pronounced Spey-VOR) is small brand of blended and single malt from undisclosed distilleries. Bottled by the Glasgow Whisky Company, it’s not a brand we regularly see in the US. This exceptional whisky is a blend of both necessity and delicacy. It begins with a single cask from a high quality unnamed Speyside distillery from 1978. This cask showed exceptional depth and complexity, but was nearing the 80 proof mark and needed to be bottled soon. It was married with one single cask of 1978 from a distillery at the “foothills of the Highlands” that remained at considerable proof. Just two casks distilled in 1978 and bottled at a seamless 92 proof. Very few malt whiskies will offer more value or complexity than this special bottling. Expect a bouquet of deep tropical aromas—mango, cocoa, cinnamon and exotic honey. On the palate, wonderful texture and a rich sweetness prevents any bitterness of age from showing. Malty with tons of dark fruit, which makes us wonder if at least one of the components was aged in sherry. Surprising pop and freshness considering these very old whiskies can occasionally feel thin or overly ethereal. While the labels might not be as cool as the other prominent blended malt brands, the quality of the spirit is unquestionable and the cost, were it to be bottled by anyone else, would cost many multiples of this exceptional bottling. Only 200 bottles available.
David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: May 08, 2020
There’s absolutely nothing on the market like this. I’m shocked and confused as to why I’m able to sell this to people for less than $200. These barrels could have easily ended up as a Last Drop or Compass Box special release retailing for 10 times our shelf price. But, like the Munros bottling, this whisky was lost in time and space only to resurface right when the rest of the world’s Scotch whisky was becoming more expensive due to tariffs and unprecedented world demand. Now we finally have this gorgeous little two barrel blend from an otherwise unknown label and I was tempted to double the price. I don’t think anyone would complain about spending $400 on single vintage Scotch aged 38 years, but because it’s a “blend” it’s suddenly less valuable. I’d argue that this whisky is multiple times better than either of the two component whiskies would have been alone. Regardless of your feelings about blending, it will be impossible to deny that experiencing EXTREMELY old Scotch should be on every whisky lovers bucket list. Sadly, there’s almost no malt on the market over 30 years old that’s not thousands of dollars. So why would I sell this obviously under valued whisky for less than market value? I just don’t have a good reason except that I want people to enjoy and experience this and not covet and guard it. The color is nearly tawny. The nose is an explosive bouquet of rancio flavors – dried plums, old leather, fancy almond butter, dried spices – nutmeg, allspice, bay. The nose is so sweet and supple you almost expect the palate to be cloying, but the 92 proof keeps it from feeling flat or flabby. Lots of dark fruit, cocoa powder, Werther’s, roasted malt and old tropical hard woods. An absolutely unparalleled experienced at this price point.
Will Blakely | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 20, 2020
Nope. There’s nothing quite like it. Citrus and stone fruit with so much weight and richness on the palate, I might cry. Expertly blended, this avoids the pitfalls of a great deal of 35+ year-old malt, where all the fruit and acid of its youth is replaced by wood tannin and antique furniture. Tones of golden apple and juicy apricot remain, along with notes of their dried counterparts and deeply integrated oak and herbs that can only come from properly matured whisky. Round and dense and endlessly appealing, what it lacks in the nuance of, say, our Caperdonich barrel from Chieftain’s, it more than makes up for in the way it over-delivers on every penny of its cost. In this case, I can confidently say that older does mean better. Whether giving a gift or looking for a gem to add to your collection, this bottle is a no brainer.
Keith Mabry | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 05, 2020
What a stunning offering! Beautifully defined flavors of rich toasted grains, vanilla, allspice and cardamom. A rich and smooth palate lead to an incredibly long finish. A must for fans looking to step away from the bigger blending house styles.