Review: Teaninich, SMWS 59.54

Teaninich – SMWS 59.54 ‘Elegant, classy and simply beautiful’ 32yo

(Distilled 8/11/83, ex-bourbon refill hogshead, 186 bottles, 50.5%)

It can be a funny time of year this, the slightly penumbral interlude between Christmas and the end of the year. It can also be a time when perhaps you are feeling a little bilious, and maybe avoiding even the mention of the demon drink.

To this latter point I say only this: pull yourself together. Some decent whisky is all you need, and here are my thoughts on a very decent one indeed – in fact my Christmas and birthday present to myself (with thanks to the SMWS for having a sale at the opportune moment). Also a whisky that’s fairly unfamiliar to me; I think I’ve only had one Teaninich before.

Nose: Smells old and Highlandy – by which I mean there’s a distinctly earthy and mineral quality here as well as copious fruitiness. So, there’s apple pie, Seville oranges, almonds and a little eucalyptus. Plant sap too – like cutting back fresh green growth in the spring – and yellow flowers. With time there’s an increasingly phenolic thing happening: wisps of coal and wood smoke, combined with a certain beeswaxiness. I’m reminded of old Clynelish, which is never a bad thing.
Taste: Lots of amazingly complex citrus at first: lemon syrup, lemon balm, fresh oranges, and the warm herbal oranginess of coriander seed. That slightly menthol hint from the nose is here too, and it goes into a sort of Middle Eastern rose petal and cinnamon pastilla direction. There’s honey, too, with the wax from the comb, almond milk and persimmon flesh.
Finish: Gets smokier again, combined with a sticky, dark and slightly herbal sweetness. Cough syrup and quite a bit of liquorice, plus preserved Chinese plums and blackcurrant pastilles. Smouldering desert sage and citronella. Leaves you with a long lingering aftertaste of walnut, mango, herbs and coal smoke.

There really is a lot going on with this one, but it does all weave together so beautifully. It’s one of those slightly magical whiskies where the development is not only long but also structured, so the changes happen in sequence on the palate. And that slight smokiness! I wasn’t expecting it from the SMWS’s notes, but what a lot that adds to the whole picture here.

So,¬†certainly one for those of you who like older vintages of Highland malts like Clynelish, Glen Garioch and Glencadam, and about as good a whisky for seeing out the last days of this (let’s be honest, fairly ropy) year as you could hope for. I’m quite delighted with my self-giftage.

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