Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by ImpEx. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Sam Filmus founded ImpEx beverages in 2008 with a vision to import premium and rare spirits from around the globe. We have previously reviewed several of ImpEx Beverages’ rare selections here at The Whiskey Wash, and now we get to review some special bottles in their very own line-up. The ImpEx Collection Edition One launched in July and features six Scotches, one Israeli whiskey, and three rums. Bottles in the collection range in age from three to 40 years, which makes this line-up rare.
One of the Scotches in The ImpEx Collection is a 21-year-old Orkney cask distilled in 1999. While ImpEx does not disclose the distillery, it most likely is from Highland Park (there are only two distilleries in the Ornkeys, Highland Park and Scapa). ImpEx Beverages has released other Orkney single barrels in the past.
When selecting barrels for this inaugural collection, ImpEx Vice President Chris Uhde asks three questions:
- Is it delicious?
- Would I be proud to share and enjoy this whisky with friends?
- Does the cask fit in a complementary way with the other casks being offered in the release?
If Uhde cannot answer “yes” to each of these questions, then the barrel is not selected for the collection. Of the three samples available to me, they do form a cohesive line-up so far. What a lucky job getting to select a rare barrel.
Given the ages of the whiskies, you will have to scour every crevice to find a bottle. The ImpEx Collection is the culmination of the company’s growing portfolio of spirits. Having access to rare casks means having a collection on par with Diageo’s Special Releases. Let’s see how the 21 Year Orkney Cask in the ImpEx Collection fares.
Tasting Notes: The ImpEx Collection 21 Year Orkney Cask #58 1999
Vital Stats: 50.8% ABV. Orkney distilled whisky matured for 21 years in a hogshead. 301 bottles available. 750ml $210.
Appearance: Pale straw
Nose: The nose is immediately fruity with bright lemon peel, lots of apricots, and a bit of apple. I would say it is reminiscent of preserves. Baby powder and heather mingle underneath the surface. The aromas are complex and layered. Toward the end of the nose, faint banana bread and cardamom add warmth with coconut.
Palate: The mouthfeel is oily with a touch of heather smoke. The whisky is dessert-like with vanilla custard and pear galette. The finish is dry with oak. Grandma’s biscuits linger on the tongue in the aftertaste.
The 21 Year Orkney Cask #58 1999 from The ImpEx Collection is delightful in flavor and complexity. It is light and fruity, and the bit of smoke is just right and balanced. If you come across a bottle, scoop it up. You will not be disappointed.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...