The Wine Society 1989 30yo Highland Single Malt

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The Wine Society has launched the first expression in its new Reserve Cask Selection, a 1989 30yo single malt from an undisclosed Highland distillery. Impressive numbers for an inaugural bottling, but they’re nothing compared to the RRP… a mere £95. Extraordinary value, and extremely admirable given that this whisky could have been priced much higher in today’s market.

The society invested in newly filled casks up until 1992, when their bottling line in Stevenage closed. At that time, the whisky loch was still very much at a high water mark, and so casks would have been procured relatively easily, and for a very keen price. Fast forward to 2020 and the society have passed on that keen 1990s pricing to its members with the launch of this expression, which is a vatting of seven sherry hogshead and two sherry butts, which predominantly held amontillado and palo cortado sherry beforehand.

Spirits Buyer Sarah Knowles MW said: “When I took on buying spirits for The Wine Society in 2017, one of the things that excited me most was our near-legendary stocks of treasured old malts, secured at historic prices and still maturing in Scotland. The launch of our Reserve Cask Selection presents the start of something new for these fine whiskies, to have a light shone upon them and enable us to try them in their purest form. With dwindling stocks of these old malt whiskies left, I will have to find alternative sources for our blended malts. Given the quality of these now fully mature whiskies it would be criminal not to offer them to members in their pure form. This is the first release, but each will continue to be a vatting of our re-filled sherry casks from a single distillery from a single year, if not a single day.”

The Wine Society Reserve Cask Selection
Highland Single Malt 1989 30yo
Seven sherry hogsheads & two sherry butts
2,064 bottles
46% ABV
£95 RRP

Nose: Sandalwood, waxed cricket bats, and polished antique furniture initially, followed by butterscotch, milk chocolate, muscovado sugar, orange oils, nectarine, and apricot.

Palate: Toasted coconut and sugared almonds give way to black bananas, stewed pineapple, glace cherries and acacia honey. There’s some toffee apples, cedarwood, beeswax, and gingersnap biscuits too. Such a silky mouthfeel too.

Finish: Aromatic woods, honeycomb, and some caramelised fruits.

Overall: An absolutely delicious whisky, with the fruitiness balanced nicely by the aromatic woodiness. The age shows, but the liquid isn’t at all tired, and isn’t over-oaked at all, which can be a danger with old whiskies. I’d have loved to have tasted this at natural cask strength, but for £95 it’s not hard to see why all 2,000+ bottles sold out in a matter of days. Good luck bidding on this on the secondary market.





  1. Really great to see a quality, well aged whisky, released at such a good value price point. If only this were more of an every-day occurrence! Cheers, Ed

  2. Thank you for sharing an informative post…we also have our whisky glass store. If you want to buy unique glasses then visit us online at alfadesigns
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  3. Will definitely have to try this one!

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