Black Tartan 88 31yo Blended Malt

Black Tartan 88 Header article

If you’ve been around whisky for a while, you might have come across the term ‘single cask blended malt’. This may seem a juxtaposition in terms, since a blended malt is comprised of single malts from several different distilleries. How, therefore, can it possibly be a single cask? The answer can be found if we look at a practice which was widely employed by Highland Distillers, a company which is now part of Edrington.

In the latter part of the 20th Century, Highland Distillers married together new makes from several different distilleries and filled that vatting into cask. The whisky I have in front of me is just one such example; Skene Whisky have released a single cask which was filled in June 1988 with new make from Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes. This lay maturing for 31 years until it was bottled in March of this year… and et violà, we have a single cask blended malt.

Black Tartan 88 31yo
Skene Whisky
Single Cask Blended Malt
Hogshead #16
337 bottles
48% ABV
£248 here

Nose: Austere notes of sandalwood, wax polish, and old library books give way to orange oils, cherry blossom, quince, fig liqueur, manuka honey, and golden treacle. There are some fermenting citrus fruits and overripe bananas too.

Palate: A lovely oily mouthfeel, with beeswax, paraffin, and vanilla candles. Then cedarwood, exotic tagine spices, muscovado sugar, Danish pastries and glazed walnuts. The fruitiness arrives in the form of stewed apples and plums, macerated brambles, and a touch of mango chutney.

Finish: Antique oak, exotic spice and tropical fruits linger for a satisfyingly long time.

Overall: Beautiful whisky; complex, layered, well balanced, tropically fruity, exotically spicy, aromatically woody and with a wonderfully viscous mouthfeel. Ticks a whole load of boxes, including the numbers on the price tag – given the age, it’s very well priced, especially considering the big hitter new make names. Really good stuff.

 

 

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