Sunday, 20 October 2013

Whisky Discovery #550

John M.Robertson Special Old Scotch Whisky
Old Scotch Whisky
John M Robertson Special Old Scotch Whisky
This was given to me as a 'blind dram' from Andrew Purslow of the Wet We Whistle Whisky Club, or @Ardbaggie on Twitter, when I met up with him at the recent Midlands Whisky Festival in Stourbridge.

It was tasted blind at the time, although Andrew had posted a photo of this label sometime before when he was trying to find out a little about it. I'm not sure what was found out, as he has released no further details to me. However I have been doing a little of my own research to and although there are plenty of references to John M Robertson of 109 Nethergate, Dundee, I've not been able to learn anything about the whisky

References from old Dundee Post Office Directories at the turn of the twentieth century list the company as a grocer and wine merchant, still at 109 Nethergate, complete with three digit telephone number. 
An entry in the 1899-1900 Dundee Post Office Directory
However by the 1911-12 directory George Robertson occupies 109 Nethergate and the companys telephone number has changed to a four digit number
The 109 Nethergate entry from the 1911-1912 Dundee Post Office Directory
Yet in the same directory, George M Robertson is listed as a Scotch Whisky Distiller and Blender, at 38 Seagate Dundee. 
John Robertson & Son became distillers and wine merchants?
There's also an advertisement in the directory for their 'Yellow Label' Special Scotch
Their advertisement on Page 102 of the 'Classifieds' in the 1911-1912 Dundee Post Office Directory
So I really don't know too much about this whisky. Whether it's a genuine Scotch Whisky from the turn of the twentieth century, or a later replica bottling for an anniversary of some kind. I've posted the photo on Twitter and Facebook for more information and nothing has turned up apart from the early Dundee Post Office records and an advertisement in the Singapore press from the same era

We know very little about this bottle of whisky, but if anyone has a bottle of Robertson's Yellow Label Special Scotch........

So What Did I Think?

Initially this came across as young, fresh and grassy but with time in the glass waves of sweet vanilla started to evolve. There was a definite herbal element to the nose of this, green wood and a slight cabbage water note too, but only for a brief moment before the vanilla notes took over. However after a little longer in the glass there was definitely a sour vinegar like note to it. It wasn't unpleasant, just noticeable, but a quick shake of the glass would return the grassy vanilla flavours.

On the palate it was initially sweet with gentle spice. Again slightly herbal and the sour note picked up on the nose was more apparent on the palate. Ginger was the spice most notable. There wasn't a high alcohol burn so would guess that this was around the 40% abv mark. There were brief flashes of sweet pear drops which led me to think that it could be quite young. It turned quite dry towards the end leaving elements of Fino sherry flavours, not freshly opened slightly chilled Fino, but one that is past it's prime, an open bottle found at the back of the drinks cabinet.

The Fino Sherry dryness stayed to the very end with the warmth of a 'winter warmer' sweet and ginger spice.

The empty glass however was very malty and a little musty, with well seasoned wood notes, wood almost at the point of decomposition, which perhaps is a clue to the real age of this whisky?

My initial guess was this was a Lowland style whisky, the light herbal grassy notes playing on my mind. I thought it might be a current bottling at first and boldly stated Bladnoch, thinking Andrew had been into visit the distillery picking up a cask sample or something unusual there. However I also wrote that it could also be a young Speyside whisky, to be honest I hadn't a clue.

So if you know anything about this label - both Andrew and I would be very happy to hear from you!

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