Imperial is a distillery that I only discovered recently, which is a pity because it was mothballed in the late 90’s and demolished in 2005, so it is no more. What’s nice is that it never developed such a cult following like Brora (drool) or Port Ellen, so there are still affordable bottles floating around.
Signatory has been putting out quite a few early-mid 90’s vintage Imperials lately and I’ve been lucky to try several. The general character is quite rich and lactic with quite a “chewy” texture. So I happily accepted the chance to try yet another.
Aged 20 years. 51%ABV. Matured in a hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 50154.
Nose: Quite lovely. I smelled this for quite some time before trying to dissect it. Wallpaper glue. Floral. Lavender. Light honey. Tree sap. Fresh-cut pine. Macadamias. Orange peel.
Palate: Lavender, lots of lavender. Sandalwood. Honey. Candied pear. Slight note of cloves. Caramel toffees.
Finish: Long. Sandalwood. Lavender. Light fruits. Woodsmoke. Rich malt. Slight saltiness.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was a lovely whisky. Quite a good deal lighter in character than I expected. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone, but for me the fragrant lavender and sandalwood notes really made this special.