Region – Speyside – 46% ABV – still available here and there for around $80-85
Imperial distillery – dismantled then destroyed, and now, in 2015, resurrected as the Dalmunach distillery.
Sadly, they’re not trying to replicate what Imperial produced at this new distillery. Still, it’ll be exciting to see what Dalmunach produces.
While not my favorite whisky producer in the world, when I’m out and about looking for indy bottlings of whisky, Imperial is the number one distillery I seek out. Like Springbank, Imperial has a style that is all its own, and completely unmistakable: Mineral-like, flinty, sometimes a bit chalky, and nearly always rich (be it ex-bourbon matured, ex-sherry matured or otherwise).
What does this one taste like? Funny you should ask…
On the nose — Marzipan soaking in salted water. Lemongrass infused honey. All these things are sitting in the center of a dry granite quarry with dust in the wind.
Pocket change, and somehow the smell of the taste of a copper penny in your mouth.
Sugar-free apple sauce.
On the mouth Wait, I shall now begin calling this category “In the mouth” because A) you put whisky IN your mouth, not ON it, and B) those that dig innuendos can think of this line as a sophomoric dick joke.
In the mouth (teehee) — Man, this does not disappoint. It’s that rich, meets minerality, meets chalkiness I described above.
Elderflower liquor minus the added sweetness.
(“Minus the added.” I like that. Consider it ™’d.)
A rich, oily mouthfeel is complimented by notes of cream soda (a slight fizziness on the tongue helps support this note) and melting Bit-O-Honey™.
Finish — Medium-ish. There’s a nice peppery-spice left on the back of the tongue and the granite dust slowly fades away, forcing you to take another sip.
In sum — This is a cracking little Imperial, to be sure. Even at 46%, it’s got great life to it and is satisfying. I still think indy bottlers should bottle always bottle at full cask strength, giving the consumer the choice to dilute.
Still, one of the brands my company imports (Chieftain’s Range) releases some whisky at 46% so…throwing first stones and all… (was it Jesus or Billy Joel who said that)?
It’s a fine Imperial. I’d personally buy another bottle if I saw it on the shelf…