Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review - Timorous Beastie 40 years old

This 40 years old expression is the latest limited edition in the Timorous Beastie series from independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co. As with the regular bottling of Timorous Beastie this blended malt whisky is created using single malts from Highland distilleries. In this case the minimum age of the whiskies are 40 years and include malts from Dalmore, Glen Garioch and Glengoyne amongst others. Timorous Beastie forms part of Douglas Laing's Remarkable Regional Malts range - this features blended malts from each whisky producing region of Scotland and includes Big Peat (Islay), The Epicurean (Lowlands), Rock Oyster (Islands) and Scallywag (Speyside).

The Timorous Beastie 40 years old has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 54.7% ABV, is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. There are just 1,080 bottles and they were made available via selected specialist whisky retailers worldwide. The price is £199 a bottle and it now seems to be largely sold out.  We thank Douglas Laing & Co for supplying our sample.

Our tasting notes
The colour is pale gold and the nose has a lovely blend of initial aromas - think of golden syrup, freshly polished wood and candied lemons.  Underneath are distinct aromas of malted cereals, dried tropical fruits (mango and pineapple especially), honeycomb and earthy baking spices. 

On the palate this whisky feels immediately spicy - this is reminiscent of warming wood and earthy spices, with cinnamon and ginger most prominent.  Then comes a delicious set of fruity and sweet notes that combine superbly with the spices. The fruitiness has the dried tropical element from the nose (the pineapple note in particular), along with darker dried fruits such as sultana and a hint of candied lemon.  The sweetness is driven by honey and golden syrup notes.  Behind these characteristics are further distinct notes of bittersweet malted barley, hay and beeswax, plus a faint whiff of peat smoke in the background.

The finish is long and expressive.  The bitter and earthy elements linger longest - the malt, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and soft smoke.  The sweet and fruity notes begin to slowly fade and the honey characteristic is particularly prominent until this happens.

What's the verdict?
This Timorous Beastie 40 years old is an elegant and classy whisky.  It demonstrates how good a blended malt can be when using the core ingredient malts sympathetically.  The whisky is bold, lively and expressive, which are qualities that can sometimes be missing in whiskies of this age.  We enjoyed this a lot and feel that it offers great value for money for a whisky carrying a 40 years old age statement.  Excellent.

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