Imperial closed its doors in 1998 and its reputation has increased in the past few years thanks to indie bottlers who brought us some very fruity, bright examples.
Today we’re trying an Imperial 28 Year Old in the Marriage series from Elixir Distillers. It is a composition of five ex-bourbon barrels and the resulting whisky only has 40.8% alcohol (but I’m not sure it is diluted). It is definitely the oldest Imperial I’ve tried so far.
Imperial 28 yo ‘Marriage’ (40,8%, Elixir Distillers 2019, ex-bourbon barrels, 600 btl.)
Nose: very waxy. Hints of paraffin and waxed papers, then honeyed notes, ripe Cantaloupe melons, bananas and strawberries. Vanilla ice cream. Kind of a sun-drenched fruit basket. Hints of clay and buttercups. Some marzipan. Slightly dusty notes as well, which fit this profile nicely. Overall really warm and lusicous.
Mouth: a unique mix of mineral oils, mint and resinous oak, lemon balm and melons again. It shows a bit of fragrant oak that I associate with even older drams like these undisclosed 1970s whiskies. Fruit tea. Dried herbs, perhaps some light tobacco towards the end. A great profile, too bad it’s a little thin, at times it feels a little underproof even.
Finish: relatively long, on mineral and waxy notes, light vanilla and gently drying oak.
A great profile from a distillery that is becoming harder to find, showing succulent fruits but also venerable oaky notes. With a little more oomph it would have deserved a higher score. Sold out from The Whisky Exchange but still available from Master of Malt (for now). I think the price is quite reasonable given the age, rarity and presentation.