Invergordon 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (W&M204 )
Review: Invergordon 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (90.5/100)
Wilson and Morgan – Bottle #198 of 767 from Butt #14 (W&M204 )
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published August 09, 2016
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.
The 1984 Invergordon 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky was distilled in 1984 and bottled in 2015. This whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Special Release Series which comprises of special bottlings 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 (57% alcohol by volume).
In the Bottle 4.5/5
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 $270.00 (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. And unfortunately, the side labels feature a very small font on a beige background which is very difficult to read. 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’ 30 Year Old Whisky perhaps deserves just a little better to garner a perfect score.
In the Glass 9/10
When I poured the Invergordon 30 Year old Whisky into my glencairn, it showed me a rich golden colour, and the breezes above the glass instantly brought me complex aromas of rich caramel toffee, fine wood spices and firm fruity aromas of dried apricots, dates 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 30-year-old cask strength whisky.
A rule of thumb I use when examining well aged spirits is to let the glass breathe for as long as I can before taking a sip. Although it is difficult to wait for a thirty year old whisky, the results are well worth the procrastination. The initial notes of caramel toffee, oak spice sherry-like dry fruit have gained strength and been joined by a light but firm impression of peat smoke. There is a nice winding of vanilla in the breezes as well as firm hints of old leather saddles and bits of baking spice. Impressions of corn syrup and Graham wafers bring the grain into focus with a touch of grassy meadow in the background.
In the Mouth 54.5/60
The whisky must be sipped carefully as it carries a spicy, alcohol-rich punch of flavour through the palate. A large sip puckers the mouth and batters the taste buds, but a small sip is very rewarding as it brings into focus a lovely maple-like sweetness which underlies the whisky. Fine oak spice and cereal grain meld into the maple yielding an impression which reminds me a very much of Shreddies breakfast cereal. Sherry-like flavours of dates and raisins join in as do hints of dark peat smoke and musty old leather. When I add a touch of ice to my glass I notice additional flavours of angelica root and dark licorice, some bitter chocolate, and perhaps a touch of espresso.
I certainly like what I have in my glass, and the Invergordon whisky soon became a fixture on my whisky shelf as it seems I want to steal a small sip on most nights.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The finish is shorter than one would expect (medium length rather than long and lingering), almost certainly a function of the Coffey column still which yields a lighter whisky than a typical pot. After the swallow, flavours of graham wafer dipped in maple and corn syrup seem to ebb for a short while to be replaced by a ribbon of peat and some heated oak spice. A light cooling mint keeps everything in check so long as the sipped are kept small and well spaced.
The Afterburn 9/10
Wilson and Morgan certain seems to be third-party bottling company I should have learned about sooner in my whisky explorations. This is the third Single Grain Whisky from this independent which I have sampled, and it is the third that I have scored in the 90s which places the Wilson and Morgan Invergordon 1984 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky firmly into the realm of spirits which I recommend as a primary sipping spirit. In fact, it is a spirit which I plan to hoard to myself stealing small sips each night until the last drop is gone.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
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)