Old and Poised

North Star Spirits - Vega 1977 40y

Reviewed by victor


A blended malt with a very distinguished age - the oldest I've tried. My usual stance is that blended malts are in no way automatically inferior to single malts, as nothing magical happens when malt whisky from different distilleries are mixed together. If anything, the price is usually better for a given age. That's certainly the case here! This is a blend of "Spanish and American Oak" which probably means some ex-sherry and some ex-bourbon casks. The whisky (meaning all included casks from the different distilleries, I guess) was distilled in October 1977 and bottled at cask strength in January 2018.

1.2 (Chestnut Oloroso Sherry)

Nose

A bunch of stuff going on here, and most of it is off the good kind. The initial nose is best described as "sparkling", perhaps nosefeel is a thing as well as mouthfeel? A nice combination of fruit, honey and smooth perfume-y fragrances. Leather and tobacco at the bottom when going deep into the glass. Complex for sure.

Palate

Velvety but still light mouthfeel. Smooth is an overused term, but this is smooth and full. No sting or burn to speak of and a softness on the palate. A little more citrus and malt here, still accompanied by fruits and more honey. It has a tiny bit of that fun spritziness, but not as much as the nose.

Finish

Clean and hardly noticeable transition into the finish. Delicate, satisfyingly long but without added complexity or other interesting notes. A quick flash of a minuscule alcoholic burn before fading out the fruitiness and landing softly on leather and dried fruits. The velvety, waxy coating lingers nicely for a while.

This is a nicely done blended malt, that's for sure. It does show its age without bringing with it any hints of too much barrel, overoaking or anything like that. It's bottled at just 43.1% (cask strength though!) but it's hardly boring. The fruity flavors come though in a great way and there are some layers to peel off complexity-wise. Old and with great calmness.

Score

86 / 100
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