From Scotland’s various ghost distilleries, Imperial in Speyside still ranks among the more accessible ones. Sure, new Imperial bottlings do not exactly pop up twice or thrice a week. And when they do, they do not sell for bargain prices. Yet, it is much easier and cheaper to buy an Imperial than – let’s say – a Rosebank, a Brora or a St. Magdalene. Recently, I decided to seize the moment and buy my first full bottle of Imperial: an incredibly good 22 Years Old from Scottish indie company Chapter 7 Whisky. I first had a sample of it, which I enjoyed so very much that I could not help but follow up with a complete purchase. On the one hand, I did not make that decision lightly; after all, this was only the third time in my life that I have spent over 200 Euro on a single bottle. On the other hand, I did not have to ponder too long either. I mean: Hey, I already wanted to buy an Imperial for quite some time. And this expression, which got made in the distillery’s final year of operation, seemed like a great choice. Quality-wise, it is a total jaw-dropper and wallet-wise, it is still a bit friendlier priced than similar releases that are currently available on the market. As I am not much of a collector, I opened my bottle straight away. Since then, I had several drams already, all of which reassured me that this special whisky was worth every cent I paid for it! It is so fruity, so full-bodied, so pleasing and so rich in taste, character and story. Via its inviting scents and flavors, this gorgeous Imperial 22 Years Old tells a wonderful tale of Speyside’s moved past; a past that saw some distilleries conquering the world and others, like Imperial, vanishing from sight. Over a glass of this exceptional whisky, I could listen to that soulful tale over and over again!
Eye: White wine-like, albeit a wee bit darker and fuller.
Nose: From the nosing glass, an immense fruitiness evaporates – peaches, maracujas, melons, tangerines and golden kiwis. These bright, clear notes are joined by heavier aromas of white chocolate, vanilla milk and “Nimm 2” drops. Furthermore, there is powdered dextrose and, way in the back, juicy lemon. A most beautiful and mouth-watering fruit basket!
Palate: A well-rounded and well-designed Speysider with a perfectly integrated cask strength ABV. In it, all sorts of sweet and fruity and fresh flavors come together to form a strong union: Lime, peach and pineapple mingle with lemon cake, summer tea and cappuchino foam. The equilibrium between these well-orchestrated relishes is positively thrown off balance by a spoonful (or two) of grated ginger. With time, the slight bitterness of squeezed pomelo becomes apparent, too.
Finish: Towards the end, the whisky gets cooler and fresher. Now the sweet notes step back. At the same time spearmint, anis and cooled-off tea bags step forth. The fruits become less tropical at this stage. They take the form of light grapes and crisp pears, among others. Furthermore, there is lemon curd and icing sugar. While the bulk of the flavors in the finish is gone after a good but not excessively long while, an assortment of soft and silent notes stays on and on and on …
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 22 years old (Vintage 1998)
Alc. volume: 52.1 per cent
Cask: ex-Bourbon Barrel
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
# of bottles: 218
Price range: 210.00 Euro
More info: https://chapter7whisky.com/ (Bottler)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer.***