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Auction: SC002 - Pouring Gold For A Platinum Year - Spink in association with Cask 88: Whisky - e-Auction
Lot: 1

Invergordon 1988

Distillery: Invergordon
Region: Highlands
Age: 34 years
Distillation Date: 2nd February 1988
Cask type: Second Fill Ex-Bourbon for 31 years, Ex-Oloroso Sherry Hogshead for 3 years
Peated?: Not Peated
Re-gauge ABV: 47.9%
Re-gauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA): 106.4 litres
New bulk litres: 222.5 litres
Re-gauge Date: 25th February 2022
Bottles: 317
Cask Number: 8990

A Rare Gem Indeed: A Sherry Finished Single Grain Whisky From a Golden Age in HM Queen Elizabeth's Reign

Cask description

The Wood

This cask is unusual in the sense that it is currently being finished in an ex-oloroso sherry cask having first been laid down for 31 years in an ex-bourbon cask, however it is far from finished with a strong re-gauge strength of 47.85% after 34 years. The technique of transferring spirit from one cask to another for a period of time was first popularised by David Stewart, the malt master of Balvenie and the familiar 'DoubleWood' series was born.

The Spirit

Invergordon Distillers Ltd established the distillery, and it began with only one tall column still. In 1963, two more column stills were added, and in 1978, a final, much larger one was added.. Invergordon now has a total of five skyscraper-like, four of which are used to produce grain whisky; the other producing neutral spirit. Fermentation time of around 70 hours results in a spirit with light and fruity character.

The Masters

Invergordon is quite remarkable for a number of reasons. To begin with, it is a grain whisky distillery, which means that the whisky is made from other cereal grains as well as malted barley. The grains used at Invergordon are wheat or corn (maize). The site actually only has one official bottling - a 10 year old single grain. Independent bottlings are almost as scarce, remarkable considering the vast capacity of almost 40 million litres per annum.

The History

Invergordon is a fairly new distillery, having only been founded in 1960, with the intention of large-scale grain whisky production. It is one of its kind in the sense of its location, all other grain distilleries in Scotland are located in the central belt due to more convenient transport links. What Invergordon sacrifices in ease of product transportation, it makes up for in location, nestled between the household names of Glenmorangie and internationally renowned Dalmore.

Tasting Notes

Nose - Nuttiness and creaminess dominate the nose - Deconstructed pecan pie, macadamia nut florentines and a healthy portion of amaretto chantilly cream. The earthier notes of hot oat biscuits and dry leaf-litter form the base of the bouquet.

Palate - There are preserved damsons and figs in abundance, as well as wholemeal toast slathered with black cherry jam. The texture is velvety like dark chocolate, punctuated by the occasional almond.

Finish - An extremely long finish which is tart to start, but more like custard creams as it continues.

The 1980s

The 1980s were the high period of Hollywood action films and cold war thrillers. HM The Queen herself had an action-packed start to the decade - being shot at on two occasions, once in London and once in Dunedin, New Zealand. She also calmly defused the situation when she awoke to an intruder in her bedroom in Windsor. A tense start to the decade indeed.

Luckily, such tensions don't transfer to casks in the warehouse, so whiskies living through the turbulent 80s were quietly sheltered from external happenings. Casks laid down in the 1980s have had over 30 years to develop some really deep and rounded flavours; only the chosen few casks are allowed to mature for so long. Furthermore, in the era between 1978 - 1983, whisky production in Scotland halved, making 1980s whiskies as rare as gold dust.

The 1980s resulted in a number of firsts for a British monarch: HM Queen Elizabeth paved new ground for the royal family in China; she was the first member of the British monarchy to meet the Pope; and her flourishing relationship with Ronald Reagan saw him become the first US president to stay at Buckingham Palace.

This decade also witnessed the arrival of the iconic princess Diana into the Royal Family; to this day her wedding to Prince Charles is one of the most watched events in television history, with almost one billion viewers witnessing the marriage live. The births of Princes William and Harry were equally joyous moments in the public consciousness.