Category Archives: Convalmore

Convalmore 36 y.o. Review

The 28 year old official bottling of Convalmore from 2005 was, if not a knockout in the traditional sense, definitely one of my personal favorites. Its simple and elegant, yet bold, approach to a very naked and traditional style won me over big time. It did the same for others I know, as well. I seem to recall Dave Broom had a particular fondness for it. Though I see eye to eye with Dave’s views less and less as the days go on (though, having shared beers with him, I can attest he is a lovely man whom I’d love to hang with more frequently), I do have to say I’m riding shotgun with him on that particular dram. If memory serves, the 32 year old was really quite fine as well. So let’s dig into the 36 year old now. All three of these OBs are, of course, Diageo releases.

Convalmore’s last spirit ran through the safe in 1985. The buildings are still intact, but the equipment is long gone. It’s malts like this that make us mourn these closed distilleries with a tear in our eye.

58% abv (Wonder what this was racked at, in order to still be sitting at 58% after nearly four decades.) Distilled in ’77; bottled in ’13. Only 2,680 bottles.

Sincere thanks to my mate Brett Tanaka for the opportunity to taste this. The range of bottles he’s been opening for what we’ll call ‘The Brett Sessions’ are simply beyond comprehension. And I am beyond humbled to be able to partake. I’ll be reviewing dozens of them in the coming weeks/months.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Great attack! Wow. Almost savoury. Extremely well-composed. Perfectly matured, clean ex-bourbon style. Crème brulee with a sprinkling of pepper. Crème caramel. Almost apple pie-like too. Lightly toasted almond. Saw-burnt wood (like when your tool gets bound up mid cut). Biscuit tones. Honey. Gentle fruit notes, nudging into tropical territory, though hard to pinpoint specific fruits. Most of the sweetness, though, is just clean, fresh orchard fruit tones.

Palate: Amazing arrival. Uber juicy. Slightly tart and furniture polish-y. Apple crumble this time, complete with that cunchy, crusty, awesome toastiness. Brioche. Deeper fruits now, much deeper. They’re starting to fight the wood by this point, and just barely winning. Bottled at the perfect time.

Finish: Fantastic slow fade. A perfect flavor marriage of all that came before it. Dies a slow death.

Thoughts: Beautiful old dram. Leaves me wanting another glass. And another. And another.


Convalmore 28 y.o. Review

Convalmore 28 y.o.028

57.9% abv

Score:  91.5/100


This is an exciting whisky to finally get ’round to tasting and reviewing.  I’ve been wanting to do this one for a couple of years now, ever since it made its way into whisky lore and became a part of the cult canon.

Convalmore is another of those ethereal malts that only exist in print and tall tales for many of us.  The distillery was closed in ’85, not long after the rash of distillery closures that claimed victims such as Port Ellen and Brora, and as far as I know, the distillery was subsequently dismantled.  For shame too, if this malt is any indication.  Very few Convalmore OBs exist (two, proper; three, if you include the Rare Malts edition), and indies are nearly as scarce on the ground.  I think it goes without saying that if the opportunity presents itself, it is well worth making the effort to taste it.

This dram is held in very high regard by some incredibly gifted palates in the industry (Broom, Buxton and the bunch), and early reviews of this 28 y.o. malt helped to launch its reputation  far into the celestial stratosphere.  As you can imagine, that sort of ringing endorsement by gents I respect had me slavering for an opportunity to taste it.  My curiosity here was twofold; first, to try something from this now defunct distillery and second, to form my own assessment of the validity of hype for this collectible l’il gem.

On the more topical front, the plain jane packaging on this Diageo special release has earned more than a few comments over the years, and I must concede even I’m not immune to its ‘old tymee county fair’ look and subtle charm.  Keeping it simple compliments the rather uncomplicated whisky within.  Uncomplicated, however, does not mean without depth.  This really is a very elegant Speysider with enough going on in the glass to stay interesting for many long nosing and tasting sessions.

And while it never does quite reach the heights I had presupposed (my own fault, really), it is a really fine whisky nevertheless.

Nose:  Caramel candied apple.  White pepper.  Cinnamon.  A mix of citrus juices (orange, pink grapefruit, tangelo).  A touch of wax and oil paint.  White flour.  Soft white and milk chocolates.  Hot cross buns.  Vanilla.  Moist tobacco and clean soil.

Palate:  Beautiful mature waxy notes with a touch of char.  Strong and syrupy.  Tart and tangy fruit notes.  Very spicy…very chewy.  Rich in ginger, ground nutmeg and cinnamon.  Just a touch of fennel.  More juicy fruit notes, moving into more tropical flavours like tangerine and pineapple.  Mouth-coating and delicious.  The cask is still singing loudly here, but it’s clean and lovely.

Thoughts:  Bottled at an absolutely gorgeous age and state.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt