Single malt whisky - tasting notes

21 Mar 2012

Imperial 1991 (Silver Seal)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Imperial

Middle-aged Imperial is usually quite nice with a typical Speyside profile, check the Imperial 1990 by The Whisky Agency for instance. Shortly after, Silver Seal released this Imperial 1991.


Imperial 1991 Silver SealImperial 19 yo 1991
(55,3%, Silver Seal 2011, 199 btl.)

Nose: a full nose, rather aromatic, with malty notes, vanilla, fruits (especially apple and orange) and a dash of honey. A fine layer of fresh herbs and oak. A few mineral notes as well. Everything we expected from this kind of Imperial. Mouth: nice interplay of soft syrupy fruits (vaguely tropical, but fading quickly) with lots of spices (ginger, pepper) and an obvious bitterness (Seville oranges and pine resin). I’ve had rounder and more candied expressions but it’s still nice. Finish: medium long on liquorice, grass and oak.

Quality-wise we’re not complaining. Even with the slight oakiness it’s pretty much in line with expectations. But why are Silver Seal bottlings 20 to 50% more expensive than similar releases from other bottlers? The last few days we’ve seen many comments about increasing prices – in the case of Silver Seal it’s actually quite stunning. Around € 130.

Score: 86/100

Imperial 1991 (Silver Seal) 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2012-03-21
  • MARS

    In the case of silver seal, it’s not new. I can’t remember a cheap bottling from them.

  • Pieter

    Good bottlings may cost more, but like you said in your comment yesterday, also not so great bottlings might cost more than usual. So you can never say whether you will buy a good whisky according to it’s price. Luckily some bottlers are known to be reliable in releasing good stuff alone.

    But even then you can get dissapointed. I liked whisky before that no-one seemed to be fond of, and also the other way around… So you’re always taking a bit of a risk with each purchase you weren’t able to taste. But it’s good that there are some trustworthy bloggers so you often have a good idea how a particular whisky will taste. Thumbs up for that.

  • Christof

    At maltstock i had a chat with max righi and he told me that his choice of empty bottle and labeling meant an extra 10 euro per bottle.
    He made this choice because as he told me if he bottled his whisky in plain bottles we wouldn´t sell another bottle in Italy. apparently looks are still extremely important over there.

  • Ruben

    I’m afraid the difference is much more than € 10, and other bottlers like Malts of Scotland also have unique bottles and expensive labels (including a die cut shape and silver foil).
    Anyway I’ll stop raving about it now. Maybe Silver Seal isn’t really planning to have a big impact outside of Italy.

  • Troy

    Love the blog Ruben, never commented before. Please don’t “stop raving” :)

    Ultimately, with only few exceptions, price does matter. I appreciate the comments regarding value for money. Likewise, I love the banter that comments generate.

    Great blog!

  • MARS

    That said, all the bottlings I have tryed from silver seal were high if not very high standart. But I didn’t try a lot of them, sadly(the price is a little bit too heavy for me).
    I must say that it can be an advantage as the bottles didn’t go away too fast and if you need one, chances are high it’s still available a long time after it’s release.

  • Thomas

    And the price difference gets very evident if you look at presumably shared casks like the PE… where the difference was even higher than 50%. So far, exactly because I thought I was getting the same value for much less money elsewhere, have a long time ago stopped buying Silver Seal bottlings.

    Good thing that there is so much choice out there… everybody can pick his favourite bottlers.

  • Gianni

    I write from Italy, and I spoke with Max many times. I have to say that it’s true that his bottlings are quite expensive (and sometimes they look definitely overpriced, if compared to other bottlers), but I must also admit that he usually sells everything, so as long as there’s someone who’s buying… Not so good for not-so-rich enthusiasts (quorum ego), but it makes sense, I think. Actually, S.S. is very active in eastern markets (which seem to be eager to spend money), so I don’t think the price really derives from italian market, or at least not only from that… This also because italian market is not so big, and it’s all pointed to high level (read: luxury – whisky is not as popular as in northern europe, or even in Spain; we are trying to build a whisky culture in these years… weird, as italians were kind of pioneers in bottling single malt whiskies in the 50s and 60s)! Here enthusiasts are few, while on the other hand there are many collectors who are clearly more inclined to spend money…! That said, I have sampled many S.S. bottles, and I’ve never been disappointed – which at least is a statement of the usually high level of the casks they select.

  • max righi

    hi you are right . our bottles are little be more expansive of the others but not is easy to choice to bottling and save cost or keep our standard of : different shape of the glass and cost more also bottling this kind of bottle , 3 label in expansive paper -design of the label and the boxes , boxes normally luxury and also there are cost that you don’t know .
    we have many cask (also young ) and keep in warehouse in scotland not is free and also our custom is very expansive .
    now for me is a problem because i know if i do cheap glasses and cheap packaging many people like you prefer because pay less the bottles but many others like to buy also for present and also for himself but with good package . so trust me not is easy to take a decision about that .
    in meantime we would like keep this standard of quality in package and we will not change . i hope you can understand me .

  • Pingback: Imperial 19 yo (1991/2011, Silver Seal, 55,3%) | whiskyfacile()



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Lagavulin 12 Years (2015)
  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1929 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.