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Whisky Reviews

Old Rhosdhu (Loch Lomond) 1993, 27 Years Old, Maltbarn, 50.8% ABV



I came in knowing nothing about Old Rhosdhu but nosing from the bottle piqued my interest. It has an old intense dirty smokiness without any porky phenols I very rarely find from more modern distillate (I can only think of some Ballechin, the Campbeltowns, wood-fired Shizuoka, and peated Benriach OTOH). I can appreciate phenols, but I find them overwhelmingly obvious across Islay distilleries, to the point of almost swamping out the nuanced differences between Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Staoisha and Port Charlotte/Octomore unless I really strain to tune the phenols out.

Distillery: Loch Lomond

Region: Highland

Price: N/A

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon

ABV: 50.8%

Chill-filtered: No

Color: 0.6, old gold (natural colour).

Nose: Cigars, dried bergamot and tangerine peels, leather.

Palate: Cocoa powder, white pepper, highly-steeped pu-erh tea, salted plum pickles.

Finish: Green tea, ashes, gentian.

Conclusion: The preserved peels really sum up this whisky — musty in the best way possible, but with a tinge of citrus brightness to cut through the austerity of the whisky. I own a Maltbarn 21yo Aultmore and there is a family resemblance, not in exact flavours, but perhaps in philosophy; ex-bourbon aged whisky with a pre-ponderance of more bitter, herbal, umami, oaky notes, but with some concessions to soft fruitiness.

Score: 85