Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers (MSWD) is a family-owned business which sees them having several roles in the whisky industry. At the same time, they are grocers, brokers, blenders, bottlers and distillers. They were previously known as Morrison & Mackay, but they rebranded in 2020. You’ll probably know their independent bottling brand, Càrn Mòr, but they also bottle undisclosed Islay whisky with another brand, Mac-Talla. They also have a distillery in Perthshire, in the Lowlands, called Aberargie. I must admit I’ve never tried anything from this distillery. And finally, they have a couple of brands about blending, and the one that interests us is Old Perth. And more specifically, their Old Perth 1996 from the Vintage Collection.
Old Perth 1996 Review
The Old Perth range contains four expressions: a NAS, a cask-strength NAS, a 12-year-old, and the Vintage Collection. The current instalment of the Vintage Collection is the Old Perth 1996 we’re trying today. All the components of this blended malt were matured in sherry casks and distilled in 1996. Bottling took place in July 2021, giving 936 bottles, filled at cask strength (55.8%) without colouring nor chill filtration. About £180 in the UK, and between €200 and €240 in Europe.
Russet. Oily in appearance, with very thin and slow legs.
Neat: The nose is dominated by rich, fruity aromas of blackcurrant, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry jam, confirming that it has been matured in sherry casks. Behind these fruit notes are hints of old saddle leather, musty dunnage warehouse, and dusty books, adding depth and complexity to the nose. There are also subtle sour notes that are difficult to identify, as well as spices reminiscent of mulled wine.
With water: When water is added, the nose becomes sweeter, with balsamic vinegar and orange candy coming to the forefront. The fruit and spice notes from the neat aroma remain present but are more subtle.
Neat: The palate is surprisingly sour, with juicy redcurrant leading the way. There are also dark fruit flavours present, but they are not particularly sweet. Leather, wood polish, and sandalwood add a dryer profile. The alcohol content is more noticeable on the palate than on the nose. It is a bit hot, but does not burn. Cloves and tobacco provide additional depth, while flavours of prunes and underripe figs round out the taste profile.
With water: When water is added, the palate becomes slightly sweeter, with orange flavors emerging. The wood and smoke notes become more pronounced, while the sour and dark fruit flavors become less prominent. There is also a faint note reminiscing of smoke.
The finish is long and lingering, with dominant flavours of tobacco, leather, and clove. These flavours are underpinned by a sour grapefruit that adds a welcome opposition to the dryer main notes.
This whisky is a warm and delightful dram that I thoroughly enjoyed. It exhibits a good level of complexity and rich aromas and flavours. I appreciate that it was bottled at cask strength, as I prefer to drink it neat rather than diluted. The price is reasonable considering the quality of the whisky, especially compared to the inflated prices of many whiskies on the market today. Very nice.