Fettercairn 1988 SV (blind)

"Great dram from a fairly unknown distillery, this was one of the surprises of the competition and proves what fun blind tasting can be!"

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest

It is always a pleasure to discover a distillery that has not even been on your list to taste. This was the case when I poured this blinded dram into my glass, at least that appeared after the answer was revealed. What do we know about Fettercairn? Nothing, but we can ask our palls from the net! Fettercairn, which loosely means foot of the mountain, was founded in 1824 by Alexander Ramsay. He brought with him the symbol of the unicorn, which is still related to the distillery. The other Fettercairn symbol is the arch, which stands for the entrance to the town. What I have seen from the distillery are some sherry cask bottlings with remarkable names like Fior, but that is not what was in our glass. No, we had an independently bottle jewel from Signatory Vintage.


Interesting nose… it start with a lot of wax, orange oil, and sour yellow fruits. Reminds me very much of Clynelish, these waxes. Funnily, the nose changes direction into a fresher, fruitier heading. Pineapple, Grannie Smith, yellow plums, nectarines and others. It switches between continuously the sour and sweet sides of these fruits. After a while the sweeter one become more dominant (canned pineapple, peaches). It has become now also much lighter (Hazelburn springs into my mind). These is also some beach sand, twigs and dried grass in the background. I can go on and on (fresh perfume, orange juice, all kind of oils, mint, lemon juice), but to make it short: this is awesome!


Oh yes! Waxy, olive oil, rosemary-covered oily potatoes from the oven. It quickly cover the tongues with a tasty oily layer. The cask strength feels very comfortable. It becomes slightly sandy, a hint of brine and I can also find a suggestion of smoke. What come in particular forward are some metallic notes, very clearly, something like copper and steel. There is also a more plasticine side. Ben Nevis? Clynelish (again)? What is sure is that this is very good. Citrus fruits, orange skin, lemon-flavoured olive oil, walnuts, I mean it gets better and better. The finish is long, waxy, no let me correct myself: very waxy, orange-y, and I get sunbathing cream (!?). 


This must be the best one we had so far in the tasting competition (and I was not the only one with this opinion). I guessed Ben Nevis, but it could have been other famous distilleries or brands (Clynelish, Hazelburn, even Highland Park). But it was’t, it was Fettercairn (Fetterwhat?), Fettercairn! What..a…surprise! This distillery has been added to my list to watch among the independent bottlers. I suddenly know (again) why I like these blind tastings (apart from the confronting and frustrating wrong choices).

What others thought

Competition day #13

Fettercairn 1988 SV

Whiskybase: 88.59 (19 votes) Contestants: 8.0/10

This sample was part of the


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Nose 88.5%
Taste 88%
Balance 88%
Depth 89%
Finish 88.5%