Originally established as a tobacconists in 1894, Robert Graham has a longstanding reputation within the cigar world. Since a buyout and expansion in 2002 however, the brand has ventured into the scotch whisky world (so often paired with cigars) and started releasing their own independent bottlings just a year later. This particular expression sits within their top-end Treasurer’s Selection range of independent releases (all sitting within the 20-30 year old bracket) and is a cask strength bottling of an Invergordon single grain whisky. The light, golden liquid was distilled in 1984 (what a year!) and bottled in 2015, making it a nice round 30 years old and has been bottled at a remarkable retained cask strength of 62.8% ABV
Big grain nose. A strong, freshly-cut pine smell upfront. Pretty sharp flavours. Christmassy spices emerge after the booze eventually subsides.
BIG booze burn. Brandy butter body. A little nutty tang at the back there. Some dark fruits in there too.
Booze. Booze. And more booze. It’s a deep burn.
Firstly, this seems to me like a great example of an independent bottler being able to bring something to the market that you don’t normally see. With regard to the whisky itself though, it is pretty crazy to think that there is still this kind of percentage left in the whisky after 30 years of maturation in the barrel. Those angels most have taken their eyes off this particular cask! You can see that all three sets of notes above contain the word ‘booze’ because the alcohol content truly dominates this whisky. The flavours themselves are pretty soft in comparison, with an almond / butter flavour lingering after the lengthy boozy sting. The 10ml sample gave me enough to appreciate the whisky but just not enough to thoroughly explore it. Given that this was not my first whisky of the night, I did start to glance at buying one online to find out more. Surprisingly, for a 30 year old whisky, this bottle actually has a fairly low price tag for a 30 year old whisky – £121 (at the time of writing) – though I am judging that when comparing it to its malt scotch contemporaries (where you usually look at 3-5 times that figure). Presumably the difference in price is more to do with it being the less popular single grain style of whisky. That said, it still costs enough to put me out of the race at this time. What it has done though, has tempted me to try more grain whiskies. Though next time, probably with a drop or 20 of water as this dram was a full-on cask-strength beast. I wonder if one of our other Whisky Unplugged contributors (S) has any of that cask strength 30yo Carsebridge left…?
Sample disclosure: This sample has been received as part of a monthly subscription to The Dram Team service. All notes have been drafted as an honest and independent review of the whisky and we welcome you to also to add your thoughts and comment on the whisky below.