I’m often offered samples of whisky from strange places. This sample came to me via a square glass bottle with a wide lid. On a whim, I poured the sample into a Glencairn glass and quickly started jotting down tasting notes. It was immediately captivated. The nose is beautiful with complexity, booziness, and intensity. The palate is even more impressive. My original writeup on tastings notes for the palate were two paragraphs long.
Turns out this sample was Dun Bheagan’s 31 Year Old cask bottling from Inchgower Distillery. While this is a limited release, it’s still available in places for about $500 a bottle. If this whisky is in a price range you’re comfortable with, don’t waste time reading the rest of this review. Just get it.
While many might be familiar with the Dun Bheagan bottler, Inchgower Distillery is relatively unknown. The distillery produces malt whisky for Bell’s blended whisky. This is, simply put, a lower speyside distillery that plugs away each day to provide part of the flavour profile for blended scotch. It’s rarely bottled as a single malt scotch.
I’ve not had any Inchgower whisky previous to this, so I can’t comment on the distillery’s tasting notes, but this particular barrel bottled by Dun Bheagan is exceptional. Truly exceptional. Dun Bheagan has a history of finding and buying great barrels of whisky, so this is probably of no surprise.
Shout-out to Ian Tuck of Bon Vivant Spirits Agents for providing me with the sample.
Dun Bheagan 31 Year Old Cask (Cask #6994) 53.8% Inchgower
Category: Independent Bottler, 31 Year Old, Single Cask, Cask Strength
Nose: Beautiful leather polish notes, nice subtle caramel sweetness, great cinnamon spice, terrific leather notes. There’s a lot of booze here, but it’s all flavour.
Palate: A surprisingly boozy pour for a whisky this old. This is one of those rare pours that envelopes the palate. Your cheeks heat-up, your throat is coated, your mouth starts salivating. The core flavour is those fatty buttery oily notes. It’s mouth-watering. Even after thirty-one years of maturation, the malted barley sweetness inches its way out into the open. The sweet notes (there are plenty!) are a little harder to identify. This is a spicy pour of boozy whisky, and not all the flavours are obvious on my palate, but I know I love them all. The finish continues in this wonderful medley of flavors.
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original in any category (if you’re comfortable with the price)
Sometimes whiskies get classified, like with meals (morning whisky, dessert whisky, etc.). This whisky is the main course, the dinner, and it’s perfect. Quite possibly the most perfect single malt scotch I’ve ever tasted. It’s just that damn good.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original