Vega 1976 NSS

"High expectations, but this did not knock my off my chair, a good whisky nonetheless"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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North Star Spirits describes today’s subject like “a sweet and spicy Speyside blended malt Scotch whisky with a touch of Islay”. I have read rumours that the Islay distillery might be Bunnahabhain, which I can imagine to be a good fit fit for the Speyside fruitiness. However, for many of us “a touch of Islay” would sooner relate to something smokey. Anyway, the Speyside distillery could be the same as many of the other undisclosed Speyside bottlings from the 70s that we have seen the last years, but in fact we have no idea. Difficult to write anything more with so little information about the bottling, so I guess it is time to taste this!

Nose

First impression is that is rather restrained. Well it has been in the cask for quite some time, so it might be a little bit shy. Faint fruits, slightly grassy, sweet ginger, some pencil shavings. There is a promising depth behind this, which also provides some kind of balance. It becomes sweeter over time with fresh honeydew, sweet apples with raisins, apple cider and white peaches. Maybe we can lure it out with some water? Oh yes, more fruits, a whole basket of tropical delight, peach skin, some curry spices, and a clear hint of raisin cake and fresh cinnamon. There might be some refill sherry cask involved here. 

Taste

More prominence with spices, apples and pears that bring a nice freshness, which is balanced by an appropriate sweetness. Hints of tinned peaches, white wine, white peaches, but it fades rather quickly. Water brings more wood spices, spiced apples, a spoon a cinnamon and curcuma powder, winter spices, and more white peaches and honeydew. The after is reasonable, but not very long, with more spices and fresh fruits, in particular apples. I also tend to get more pencil shavings and dry white wine.

Overall

The problem with reading to many online reviews is that you build up expectations about a whisky, which I am afraid did happen here. Don’t get me wrong it is a very enjoyable dram with lots to like, but… it did not knock me off my chair. Not really. I think it lost a bit of power over the years and somehow I have the feeling the two (or more) casks canceled each other out on some parts. If you have the choice, I would recommend some of the other great Speyside releases of the 70s.

  • Review 2020-003
  • Blended Malt
  • Undisclosed Speyside and Islay distillery
  • North Star Spirits
  • Distilled in 1976
  • Bottled in 2018 (41 yo)
  • Spanish & American oak
  • Natural colour
  • Non chill-filtered
  • 46.1
  • 400 bottles
  • ±300-500
  • Difficult to find
  • Whiskybase #115475

What others say

Whiskybase: 89.53 (99 votes) * @Malt-Review: 7/10 (Jason) & 9/10 (Noortje) * @WordsOfWhisky: 90/100 * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 92/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

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

Cask influence
60%
Sweet <-> Spicy
40%
  • Peaches
  • Winter spices
  • Honeydew
Nose 87%
Taste 86%
Balance 87%
Depth 87%
Finish 86%
Score