Chap Olympiad 2010 – Caskstrength & Bounder Wax

Posted on | July 18, 2010 | No Comments

In it’s 6th year, The Chap Olympiad is a celebration of bygone lifestyle with some fun games thrown in to spice up the day. Neil Ridley from  is a drinks writer for Chap Magazine, so out on location I caught up with Neil and we sampled an 1989 Imperial Scotch whisky from Berry, Bros & Rubb (see the podcast below).

I also has a quick chat with Mr Wax from Bounder Industries, famous for his super strong moustache wax!

The Whisky Guy Podcast/Blog


The Imperial, like many Scotch distilleries/whiskies today, is a celebration of a somewhat lost past!

Built in 1897 by Thomas Mackenzie in response to the demand for whisky created by the Pattison Brothers the distillery closed after only 2 years of production due to the whisky market crash (now know as the Pattison crash). The distillery was named in tribute to Queen Victoria, whose Diamond Jubilee fell on the same year.

Following the Great War the distillery opened once more, but closed after only 6 years. In 1955 Imperial was refitted and elements of it’s Victorian past removed; an enormous gilt imperial crown housed on the top of the maltings being one casualty of the modernisation. After the refurbishment and doubling of whisky production capacity Imperial managed to stay open until 1980 when it was mothballed and then eventually sold to Pernod Ricard in 1989.

The famous architect Charles Doig designed Imperial, so like many of his construction the distillery differs from other Speyside distilleries. Apart from a divergence from the traditionally stone buildings, which see’s Imperial built in red Aberdeen brick. Doig started to modernize using iron beam and pillar framework to make the building fire resistant.

The typical Scotch distiller saw a nearby water supply of quality as a key factor in the location of any suitable distillery site. Imperial, however is 18 meters above the River Spey and next to a railway line to improve it’s efficiency, all fitting with Victorian productivity. The Railway closed in the 1960.

Imperial also did the research for converting the waste material from distillation into cattle feed.

The distillery functioned from 1989 until 1998 when it was once again mothballed. At that point production was intended for the blending industry, specially for Teachers and Ballantine’s.

nb. Please don’t confuse Imperial Scotch whisky with the Bourbon “Imperial Whiskey” as shown in the image to the right.

Berry Bros & Rudd Imperial 1989

Abv: 46%

Age: 21 years?

Nose: A light citrus (Lemon freshness) comes out on first nosing. This is quickly followed by tabacco, tanned leather, full cream, vanilla, rose hip, a small amount of green wood and fresh mowed grass.

Palette: Lemon and limes jump out, but switched to mint, jasmine, a vegetal flavour of tequila andtrailing into a slight tabacco bitter/sweetness.

Finish: Medium and soft, great summer whisky!




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