Signatory Vintage The Un-Chillfiltered Collection is found everywhere. Signatory was started in 1988 and they must have had some ridiculous connections to begin (if anyone who has tried to look into purchasing casks knows it’s not that easy). They remain one of the few fully independent bottlers. In addition, they purchased Edradour in 2002. Whisky Distilleries has a whole bunch of info on them, so I suggest heading there for a good recap. in general, I believe that Signatory offers an amazing opportunity to try single casks and unique bottlings, from any number of distilleries. If you can get them for a good price, get them. The only downside is that tasting notes are few and far in between, and since all their bottlings are generally limited, chances are that they won’t help inform your purchase. So, you go with styles and distilleries, and hope for the best.
The Un-Chillfiltered Collection Signatory Vintage Highland Park, Distilled 1990, Bottled 2005
Age: 15 years (distilled on 05.07.1990. Bottled on 02.09.2005, which to me means 14 years, but who am I to argue with Signatory? Yes. It’s 15 years old. Thanks WhiskyNotes for pointing out the obvious that I missed)
Barrel: Hogshead. Barrel no 232/308 from Cask No. 5976.
Color: dull translucent yellow
Legs: really slow, really sticky. Not well defined, but medium large.
Nose: Fresh paint is a definite. Toasted almonds, opening up to citrus are underneath the paint. There’s some coconut in there too. It has been caramelized (or maybe it’s just burnt sugar with coconut).
Palette: This is surprising. It has similar complexities to other Highland Park’s, but I was expecting something way sweeter from the nose. This is extremely grassy. It has a lot of fruit, too. I taste pears and bananas. But, not really any citrus, and not really any toffee / vanillin that the nose would suggest. There’s a decent amount of smoke overtone here, but it’s not in the overpowering peat/bonfire sense of an Islay.
Body: Very buttery. It coats your tongue. Strangely, it’s also very light, which leads to the drinkability. The buttery coating isn’t cloying as I find in other whiskies.
Finish: Some good red pepper smoke and peppercorn that stays on the tongue. Red pepper because there’s definite smoke in there, but it’s sweetened somehow.
Overall: This is tasty. I feel the flavor profile has changed a bit as the bottle has gotten down to the last third. I used to get more citrus out of it - the palette followed the nose a good deal more (and if I remember the correctly, there wasn’t as much fresh paint on the nose). But regardless, the dram is, and always has been, decently complex, and always enjoyable. I don’t think I’ll be finding another one of these (one of those last remaining, dusty tubes found in an oft-forgotten liquor store), but I will remember it well. As always, if you have the opportunity to buy / taste a Signatory offering, go for it - you won’t regret it.
Your guess is as good as mine.