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Invergordon 1984 – 28 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (SKU W&M 228)

Review: Invergordon 1984 – 28 Year Old Single Grain Whisky    (92.5/100)
Wilson and Morgan – Sherry Butt # 903169 (SKU W&M 228)
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 29, 2017

Wilson and Morgan is an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky based in Italy. The company was founded in 1992 by Fabio Rossi who also founded Rum Nation. Wilson and Morgan specialize in single grain and single malt whiskies which have been purchased by the barrel from selected Scottish distillers. The whisky barrels  purchased range in age from 10 years to 30 years and are left to age (usually at the distillery where they were purchased) until they are ready to be bottled sometimes after they have been re-casked for finishing in port, rum or Marsala casks.

Invergordon Distillers (currently owned by Whyte & Mackay) was founded in 1959 in the Highlands region of Scotland and the newly built distillery began to operate in 1959.  The distillery has three working Coffey stills which produce grain whisky (primarily from wheat and corn) for various Whyte and Mackay blended whiskies as well as other Scottish producers.

This 1984 Invergordon 28 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (SKU W&M 228) was distilled in 1987 and bottled in 2016. This whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Special Release Series which is comprised of Scotch whiskies, all of which are 25 years of age or older, and many of which have received an unusual or special maturation regime. This particular whisky was matured for its entire life in a 2nd fill Sherry butt and bottled at cask strength (56.5% alcohol by volume).

inverIn the Bottle 4.5/5

I was provided a 200ml sample for this review so I captured the bottle shot to the to use as the photo for my review. The only place in my review where I factor in the cost of the spirit is when I judge the presentation. My feeling is that very expensive offerings should ‘look the part’ so to speak as often these expensive spirits are purchased as special gifts or to honour special occasions. This means that although there is certainly nothing wrong with the manner in which this whisky is presented, I feel that for a spirit which is advertised for about $250.00 (Canadian) more could have been slightly more done to raise the bar.

The whisky arrives in a standard tall bottle with an easy to read front and back label. There is however, very little ‘pop’ to either the front or the back to capture my attention. The display box which houses the whisky is nice, but again not spectacular. A lower priced whisky would have garnered a perfect score, but a ‘Special Edition’ 28 Year Old Whisky perhaps deserves just a little better to garner a perfect score.

In the Glass 9.5/10

When I poured the Invergordon 28 Year old Whisky into my glencairn, it showed me a rich coppery/bronze colour, and the breezes above the glass instantly brought me complex aromas of  oak spice, butterscotch and maple toffee, orange marmalade, apricot brandy, and raisins. I tilted the glass and gave it a slow twirl. The whisky deposited a thick sheen onto the inside of the glass and the crest only very slowly dropped fat droopy legs. Everything looks as it should for a 28-year-old cask strength whisky.

A rule of thumb I use when examining well aged spirits is to let the glass breathe one minute for each year of aging before taking a sip. Although it is difficult to wait for a 28-year-old whisky, the results within the breezes above the glass were spectacular. The oak gained strength while at the same time its aroma melded into the butterscotch and maple toffee scents. Raisins and baking spices (vanilla cinnamon and nutmeg) joined in and within that yummy menagerie of scents and smells was a firm backbone of robust cereal grain. The air above my glencairn seems to represent the aroma of some sort of oaken syrup elixir which begged to be sipped.

In the Mouth 55.5/60

The first sip reinforced everything which I liked about the nose. This is a complex whisky full of charred oak and cereal grain, but tempered with rich vanillans and butterscotch toffee. There is a firm herbal quality within the grain which reminds me of fresh-cut green hay with just a smidgen of heather and menthol. Deeper within are fresh walnuts mixed with allspice and nutmeg as well as the light heat of cinnamon and clove. Reaching further down I taste leather and flecks of tar. An ever so light saltiness comes through as well as chocolate, maple and raisin flavours making this perhaps the best sherry cask whisky I have tasted in quite some time.

I love everything about this whisky, which is a showcase of how good a well aged grain whisky can be.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The Whisky has a medium body with a light oily texture. The combination give the spirit a lengthy finish which is full of oak and maple toffee. Cinnamon pools heat the tongue slightly, and a cooling aromatic menthol soothes the throat. Although the spirit is bottled at 56.5% alcohol by volume, I find sipping very pleasurable especially as the oak and toffee mixture in the exit seems to last and last.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

This is the fourth well aged straight grain whisky from the Wilson and Morgan which I have sampled, and it is the fourth one to have its score reach into the 90s. I often tell people that grain whisky is severely underestimated by collectors and connoisseurs. The Invergordon 1984 – 28 Year Old Single Grain Whisky proves my point.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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