Whiskey Review: Two Imperial 1995 vintages— 17 and 23 years

The young Imperial is interesting and different than Imperials I’ve tried in the past — almost unfinished — but pleasant and sharp. It lacks the polish that comes with a little more age, and I’m starting to favour the mid-20s on this distillery.

Imperial 17 1995 Signatory Vintage / 46% / $160

Another Signatory Imperial from the ‘Un-Chillfiltered Collection’, which usually releases at 46%, so unfortunately not cask strength. This Imperial is 17 years old, distilled on 21.08.1995 and bottled 15.03.2013 from Hogsheads 50129 and 50130, bottle number 237 of 793 total.

This bottle suffered a dry cork, but it was easy to replace with a loaner and it didn’t fall apart enough to prevent me corkscrewing it. The glued-on topcap also had deteriorated!

  • Color: old gold (0.65)
  • Nose: lighter fluid, acorns, raspberry, mojito, and burnt rubber
  • Taste: thick & oily texture; grassy butter, fish-cakes, tabasco, dessert tart, gunpowder
  • Finish: very long, vanilla icecream, a little oak

This younger Imperial still has some rough notes to work off, but I like it!

Rating: 86/100

Imperial 23 1995 Elixir “Old Highland Malt” / 48.2%

This Imperial is a bit mysterious — it’s a 23 year old, single cask, and that’s all that we know from the bottle. For Japan market.

  • Color: deep copper
  • Nose: heather, cream, drying whitelime, apricot
  • Taste: buttermilk, almond-tofu dessert, salted cripsy bacon; pears
  • Finish: long, oak and sweet crème brûlée

The previous Imperial at 17 years was nice, but 6 years and cask-strength does quite a lot for it, it’s infinitely more complex and has a really lovely round, rich mouthfeel.

Rating: 89/100

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Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade