Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 3 - Blair Athol 9yo & Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 4 - Ardmore 13yo


We're looking at a couple of releases from Signatory Vintage's 100 proof range, bottled at 57.1% ABV and offering what looks to be fantastic bang for your buck.

Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 3 - Blair Athol 9yo

Region: Highlands

ABV: 57.1%

Price: £45.00

This is a small-batch release that's a vatting of multiple first-fill oloroso sherry butts, distilled in 2013 and left to mature until 2023.

Nose

The nose opens with a whack of sherry aromas, more acidic than expected, but still maintaining a rich, nutty and slightly charred profile. There’s brandy snaps, candied ginger, grape must, blackcurrants, red kola, raspberry jam and something that reminds us of banoffee pie - bananas laced with caramel sauce. We’re also getting some cherry compote, smoked venison jerky and some butterscotch that appears occasionally as we continue to nose the dram. The alcohol is in reasonable balance, there’s a warehouse mustiness that sits on top making some of the subtler aromas harder to detect.

Palate

The palate opens with a creamy texture, somewhat unexpected but pleasant none the less. We’re hit with lots of cherry juice up front, macerated strawberries, cinnamon sticks, and warm toffee sauce drizzled over red apple slices. We’re impressed with the alcohol balance, this is dangerously drinkable at 100 proof. It’s very sweet up front, moving into a warmer, richer and slightly woodier medium length finish. Time and air brings out black forest gateau, a lot of that cherry and chocolate intermingling on the palate, and a little bit of cranberry juice appearing towards the latter part of the palate. We’re also finding some orange and almond cake as the finish develops.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose turns to a meatier, richer style of sherry, with less of the sweet fruits appearing upfront, although they do still sit somewhere in the background. Roasted nuts, more of that venison jerky and a little reduced balsamic vinegar too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has more upfront oak, giving it a little more tannin/bitter flavour on top of the blast of sugar coated fruits that we get straight away. There’s still lots of cherries, strawberries and raspberries, hazelnuts and chocolate. We’d probably skip water here, it’s not needed.

Conclusion

This is actually really good, not overly complex but it’s one of those drams that you keep going back to. Lots and lots of sweet sherry, not too much distillate character, but it’s what the market wants. It’s a sherry bomb, but one we could have multiple drams of in an evening.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

We’re struggling to think of bottle we’ve bought recently that offers better value than this.


Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 4 - Ardmore 13yo

Region: Highlands

ABV: 57.1%

Price: £45.00

This, like the Blair Athol, is a small-batch release that's a vatting of multiple first-fill oloroso sherry butts, distilled in 2010 and left to mature until 2023.

Nose

The nose begins with streaky bacon crisped up in its own fat, earthy peat smoke, dried leaves on an autumn morning, rusted iron nails, and roasted hazelnuts. The nose feels somewhat restrained, we’re struggling to get a lot from it. Time and air brings out Battenberg cake, dark chocolate buttons, spent coffee grounds and freshly sawn oak planks. There’s also some stale shortbread that appears along with very light citrus notes if we go looking.

Palate

The palate brings a completely different experience to the nose, bursting with fresh green apples, lemon and limes, moving into sweet vanilla icing, then into an earthier herbal smoke as the palate develops. There’s a little bit of spice here, white pepper mostly, that leaves a tingle on the tongue through the medium length finish. The mouthfeel is a touch thin for our liking. Time and air brings out a little menthol and charred twigs.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose becomes overly bready, 50/50 white and wholemeal bread, barley sugars, lemon zest and the same style of earthy peat smoke. There’s a floral, perfume-y aroma appearing now too. We’re finding some pencil shavings and coriander seeds too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate opens in a similar way to the unreduced one, with a bit more oak and earth. Lots of sweet vanilla, orchard fruits and citrus, creamy lime cheesecake with a digestive biscuit base.

Conclusion

The whisky has a restrained nose, but punchy palate. We’re not getting too much overt sherry influence, especially for being first fill, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a good dram, not anything mind-blowing but solid whisky.

Score: 6.5/10

Value

Like today’s other review this release is fantastic value in today’s market.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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