Chieftain’s 1982 Teaninich 28 Year Old – Review

*Thanks to the good folks at Impex Beverages for the sample.

Teaninich…yet another single malt scotch whose name receives a mild butchering by non-Scots/Gaelic speakers and even seems to create a bit of confusion amongst lauded Scottish whisky experts. Michael Jackson offers the pronunciations “tee-ninick” or “chee-ninick” in his Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch while Charles Maclean offers up “chee-an-in-ick” in his Whiskypedia. As to who is correct, I’d not wager a guess, these are the bleak quandaries and oblique mysteries that try mens’ souls…anyone care to weigh in?

Just down road from The Dalmore and not too far from Glenmorangie and Balblair, Teaninich resides in Diageo’s stable of distilleries, rarely seeing the light of day as a single malt. It’s one of the main components for Diageo’s blends, specifically Johnnie Walker Red. This particular 156 bottle expression from Ian Macleod’s Chieftain’s line was aged for 28 years in a re-fill hogshead and was bottled non chill-filtered at cask strength.

The Nose:  This has a fairly, rich almost dignified nose, very “fine Scotch”-like. Baked pears and chocolate cake, with hints of tangerine and white grapes. Very austere, polished oak with surprisingly light tannins. Behind that all, subtle herbal, floral notes, dried grass and hay, and a faint, faint earthiness.

The Palate:  Burnt toffee to start, with more chocolate-y grain emerging along with zesty citrus notes, sweet Meyer  lemon, providing a nice mouth-watering acidity. The oak looms larger and larger, coming through in waves growing spicier and more tannic towards the end. Bitter clove, camp-fiery woodsmoke and quite drying.

The Finish:  That tannic, spicy, dry woodsmoke gently carries on and on.

Thoughts:  Beautiful stuff. I love the regal, chocolate-y nose and oak-y progression of the palate. It really does have an air of “fine, old, Scotch” feel to it, it’s not too big, sweet, or woody, but it almost hints that it could be if it wanted to. While I don’t consider this a smoky whisky, I wasn’t expecting as much smoke as there was, and thought it really helped to balance the oak and spice at the end a little and made the finish delightful.

Chieftain’s 1982 Teaninich 28 Year Old, Highlands (North)

46.8% ABV (cask Strength, un-chill filtered)

Score: 88

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