These days, you might not get too many chances anymore to try old-styled Scotch whisky as it was made in the 90s, 80s, or even further back in time. With stocks dwindling and prices skyrocketing, it certainly does not get any easier to lay hands on a truly time-honored release. One rare chance to still taste, smell, feel, and experience a dram from a long-forgotten time is the 2022 edition of Meadowside Blended Scotch Whisky, brought to life by the good folks of Meadowside Blending (who are also responsible for The Maltman, The Grainman, and a number of other top-quality brands). For this special release, which is limited to 1715 individually numbered bottles only, they dug extra-deep into their treasure houses. From there, they produced a number of long-forgotten sherry casks, the oldest of which are rumored to have slept there for more than half a century! To arrive at the bottling’s natural batch strength of 43.1 per cent ABV, the Meadowside Blending team added to the mix the content of one younger, more vigorous sherry butt. The result is nothing short of amazing: Meadowside Blended Scotch Whisky is opulent, complex, versatile, alluring, and compelling. While the Oloroso-finished drop has lots of depth and darkness, it also produces many bright and exotic fruit notes (which is a quality I have repeatedly found in well-aged, sherry-matured whiskies from way back in the past). If you got curious now, you have to overcome but one little challenge: Since word of this release’s excellence has quickly passed around, many bottles have already changed hands. So you might have to search a little bit before you find a bottle for a reasonable price. If one pops up within your reach: Get it, open it, enjoy it, and revel in the glories of the past!
Eye: Chestnut brown in the bottle, fox red in the glass.
Nose: A real fruit bomb! Behind a dense curtain of sherried aromas (brittle, bramble, oak, nut), there appear all kinds of juicy and chewy fruit notes: meaty papayas, brown bananas, squeezy lemons, alc-drenched cherries, and – especially – sugared blackberries and elderberries. Furthermore, the bouquet has a lovely creaminess, offering a wealth of nougat-y and chocolate-y notes, too. Sprinkled above all, there are dry, powdery spices of different sorts. This multilayered tapestry of smells is masterfully interwoven; it has a perfect balance and no sting or bite at all.
Palate: Darkness meets sweetness. Spiciness meets fruitiness. Elegance meets stature. – This opulent blended Scotch whisky is highly stimulating and rewarding. Among others, it offers very dark chocolate, purple winegum, pureed strawberry, whipped cream, crumbled fudge, and fresh cracked coconut. I also get lots of berries (mostly blue and black ones), and a spoonful of finely powdered cinnamon. Plus leather and parchment. From underneath, lighter fruits like mango, grape, and golden kiwi make themselves known. Time and again, some slightly salted trail mix (with salty peanuts contrasting against sweet raisins) peek-a-boos, too. The spirit feels liquid and runny on the tongue; yet, the longer ot stays there, the drier it becomes. I really love how ever-changing the 2022 edition of the Meadowside Blend presents itself throughout the degustation!
Finish: The finish goes on for a while. As the whisky exits smoothly and galantly, it emphasizes on pistaccio, nougat, coconut, caramel, mocha, and grape. At this point, the spirit also becomes a little livelier, introducing an zippy lemon tingle. Other than that, however, I do not get as many light and exotic fruits here as I got before; they are almost completely burried underneath a thick layer of creamy milk chocolate. Still, the aftertaste gets fruitened up by delicate cherries and sweetened raspberries from time to time …
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Alc. volume: 43.1 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price: ~80.00 Euro
More info: http://www.meadowsideblending.com/ (Blender)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer. ***