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The long anticipated 42 Year Old Dùsgadh is a 1972 vintage, from the year the distillery was reopened following a gap that stretched to the 1930s. Some of the first spirit to run from the new stills, 'Dùsgadh' is Gaelic for 'awakening', and the beautiful copper packaging commemorates those very stills, which were finally retired last year. This is also the last of the distillery's peated stock from before 1996.
Included is a momento card, made of copper from the old stills, which entitles the bearer to inherit a bottle of Ledaig 10 Year Old Dèanta (Gaelic for 'finished') in 2024, a special bottling of some of the final spirit the stills produced, beautifully bookending a period in Tobermory distillery's history.
Nose: Gorgeous smoky dates at first, the complexity then becomes apparent, with honey dripped raisins, whole walnuts, Walnut Whips, orange cream Revels. So much honey! And beeswax. Plums, toasted almonds, Malted Milks, Crunchy Nut Clusters, toffee apples. The smoke is actually reasonably subtle, earthy and vegetal - in fact, petrichor may be more accurate on the nose.
Palate: On the palate, the peat is far more prominent, impressively so, but this is still hugely rich with honeyed nuts, treacle and blackcurrant coulis. If you keep it in your mouth, this slowly gives way, delightfully, to chocolate cake made with delicious bitter cocoa and a layer of apricot jam.
Finish: Sultanas, orange and raisin muffins, marmalade and drying smoke, becoming quite sooty after a few minutes, but also retaining that earthiness from the nose.
Overall: So has it mastered the years? Well it is gorgeous stuff, retaining very impressive smokiness for a 42 year old, although slightly less so on the nose than has perhaps been made out. Just as impressive is the vibrancy throughout with fresh plum and vibrant blackcurrant and apricot notes. The answer is therefore a resounding yes, and Dùsgadh is a hugely complex, unique single malt.
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