Coleburn isn’t a whisky that you come across very often. This Speyside distillery was one of many that closed its doors in the 1980s. And in the years that this distillery was in production, only whisky was made for blends, such as Johnnie Walker Red Label.

To be honest, I didn’t expect a Coleburn ever to be released again. But to my surprise, Gordon & MacPhail proved me wrong when they released this Coleburn 1981. Does this mean we can expect even more releases in the future? I have no idea, we will have to wait and see, but there can never be many if it happens.

When it comes to my experience with Coleburn, I have tasted a few in the past, like this one from 1980. But this is the first time I will taste a Coleburn that has matured in a sherry cask. So that can be very interesting!

This Coleburn has matured in 1st fill sherry hogshead for 38 years and is bottled at 55.9% ABV. Only 101 bottles were available.

Coleburn 1981 tasting notes:

Nose: The obvious sherry notes at first: tobacco, prunes, blueberries, and some lovely chocolate. A hint of leather and walnuts. But after a few minutes, light citrus elements start to develop here. Nice to see how the blueberries and the citrus interact here. With water: I get a lot of oranges. And this works very well here!

Taste: It starts with menthol, tobacco and orange zest. A hint of blueberries, cherries and a little topping of chocolate chips. Stewed apples covered in cacao powder. Followed by some oak spices. With water: much sweeter, and it’s leaning a bit more toward oranges again. But the palate is a little thin now.

Finish: The finish is somewhat short; I expected a bit more here. With chocolate and a hint of apple. A little bit of menthol, which hints towards After Eight. Some spices in the background.

I would have scored it a bit higher if the finish had picked up a bit more of the fruits. Personally, I preferred a few drops of water to bring out the fresher and sweeter notes. That really worked for me.

Thanks to Gordon & MacPhail for the sample!