Glen Spey 21 year old, 50.4%

Price: $185.00 Issue: Spring 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

Somewhat sidelined thanks to the presence of Glenrothes and Glen Grant (not to mention Speyburn) in the same village, Glen Spey gets on with producing fillings for numerous Diageo blends (primarily J&B). As a result, it's rarely seen as a single malt, with even independent bottlings pretty thin on the ground.

This 21 year old is the color of old gold, and while the nose initially surprises with a hint of suet dumplings, there's a rich and dangerously hedonistic sweetness behind, which is strangely hard to pin down. Coconut cream? Suntan lotion? Blackening butter in a frying pan? Eventually it appears to settle in the crème brûlée area, along with a fruity base (sweet, of course). There's a light green note that suggests it might be distillery character coming through, but water suggests it's new wood.

In the mouth, there's vanilla fudge and toffee, before a hint of muesli alongside dried mango. Overall it's a bit like eating breakfast in a new ski chalet. Showy and impressive, but for me the wood's in charge.