North of Scotland 50yo by Sansibar Whisky for (Review)

North of Scotland 50yo by & Sansibar (Single Cask Grain Scotch Whisky Blog Tasting Notes BarleyMania)

Now and again, I invest in whisky. When I do so, however, I don’t aim for a quick buck or a huge margin. Rather, I go for a special experience and a rich moment. One example of such an investment is my recent purchase of’s fifth anniversary bottling: a 50-year-old grain whisky from defunct Highlands distillery North of Scotland. I bought this bottling, which co-released with their friends from Sansibar Whisky, with a clear plan in mind, namely to put it into the back of my whisky shelf for the next ten years and open it on my 50th birthday. Considering the way the whisky market develops, I figured that I had to act now if I wanted to sip a 50 Years Old on my own fiftieth. Thus, I proceeded to order this bottle, which is both the oldest and the most expensive pour I ever bought. But hey, sometimes you gotta make your move and in this case I am happy I did so in late 2021 and not in early 2032 (cause who knows what such a release will cost then). Luckily, I also got a sample together with my full bottle, so I could already enjoy one dram in advance. My verdict: and Sansibar Whisky launched an outstanding single cask grain whisky here; one that is half a century old and impressively shaped by the years! It is rich, flavorsome, complex, intense, surprising, and ever-changing in the glass. I cannot wait to revisit it again in ten years … (which admittedly is one helluva long wait, damn!)

by Tobi

Eye: The spirit’s color is sandy golden. When swirled around a little, it puts slow-running legs of medium thickness onto the inner walls of the nosing glass.
Nose: The initial sniff is mouthwateringly sweet with rich treats like millionaire’s shortbread and crème brûlée. Over time, these heavier notes make space for lighter ones, especially those of butter cookies, vanilla powder, and icing sugar. Additionally, there is a spray of fruity aromas: citrus peel, strawberry jelly, pineapple juice, and tangerines (the latter poured straight out of the can). Occasionally, some of the thicker smells return briefly, contrasting very well with the bright and delicate scents mentioned before.
Palate: In the mouth, the whisky is light(-ish) and playful with even-leveled amounts of baked goods (lemon cake), sweet treats (bubble gum), soft kernel (sunflower seeds), accentuating spices (white pepper), and typical grain flavors (modeling clay). Now, the oak also steps forth: There is a well-pronounced woodiness underneath all the other notes. The fruits from the nosing seem to be not longer present at this stage; but here and there I still taste a wee splash of lime juice or apple crunch. Interestingly, these flavors are not there all the time, giving me the impression that no two sips of this old and complex grain whisky are the same.
Finish: When it’s time to make an exit, the whisky rushes down the throat in a strong, memorable manner. It rears up one last time, putting more intensity onto the taste buds than one might expect from a 40.4 per-center. In regard to the offered flavors, the long finish provides spearmint gums, pistaccio ice cream, trail mix (lotsa peanuts!), vanilla pudding, carrot cake, and apple peel.

Type: Grain Whisky
Region: Scotland (Lowlands)
Age: 50 years old
Alc. volume: 40.4 per cent
Cask: ex-Bourbon
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
# of bottles: 344
Price: 400 Euro
More info: (Distributor) ; (Bottler)

*** I bought the bottle myself as a regular customer. ***

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