Imperial 20 Year Old 1995 Cask 50252 – Signatory Vintage TWE Exclusive (50.8%)

I’m back from the longest vacation I took since starting the blog, visiting seven different countries and meeting up with quite a few members of the whisky fabric on both ends of the trip – in Copenhagen and in Vienna. It was great meeting you guys, and I look forward to meeting many more members of this wonderful and generous world. Needless to say, if you get to my neck of the woods, shout out and we’ll get together for a dram (or, more likely, several drams 🙂 )

The package from The Whisky Exchange with four beautiful samples of exclusive bottlings reached me just two days before embarking on my Northern European sojurne, and while being able to get a review of the Blair Athol out before departing, the other three had to wait upon my return.

The Imperial Distillery was built in 1897 to celebrate Queen (well, Empress) Victoria’s diamond jubilee, but sports one of the saddest stories in the whisky world, as for most of the century that followed, the distillery was silent. In fact, the distillery fell silent for two decades a mere year after opening, because of the Pattison crisis. It was reopened in 1919, but stopped production for 30 years in 1925. Thus, in the first 58 years of its existence, Imperial was in production for only seven (!!).

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Imperial Distillery in 2010                 Photo Credit:

Things seemed to be looking up for the distillery, which was rebuilt in 1955 and produced whisky continuously for 30 years, until the disastrous early 1980s whisky loch, when DCL closed it in 1985. There would be one more spasm of life for the distillery, when Allied reopened it in 1989, and ran it for nine years, this time closing it for good. Allied merged into Allied Domecq, and was bought by Pernod Ricard in 2005. An attempt to sell the property for apartments was made, but the offer of sale was withdrawn when Pernod Ricard decided to build a new distillery on the site, demolishing the old Imperial distillery and building a beautifully modern distillery.

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Sadly, it was not named Imperial, and got a whole new start as Dalmunach. On second thought, given the rather sad history of Imperial, I don’t blame them for wishing to start anew….


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Signatory Vintage Imperial 20 Year Old 1995, Hogshead 50252, Distilled 18.9.1995, Bottled 2.5.2015, 232 Bottles –  TWE Exclusive (50.8% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Light gold, sturdy necklace making its way ever so slowly down with a lot of residual droplets.

Nose: Clean bourbon cask notes with honey, a touch of hay, bit of pepper, some dried orange peel and a distant hint of candy sweetness and faint malt.

Palate: Sizzling spice with a floral honey on the tongue. It’s dry and somewhat bitter with a hint of chili that’s a little restrained in a way.

Linger: Slightly bitter with a sweet honey and touches of citrus and white pepper. The finish is rather nice!


Good sipper, kind of middle of the road, not reaching any extremes of flavor. All in all, it’s a good bottle of whisky you’ll enjoy drinking, and at £70 for a 20 year old from a closed distillery, it looks like it’s priced just about right.

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