Overall rating
Blended Malt
North Star Spirits (NSS)
Bottling serie
Limited Edition No. 5
Stated Age
33 years old
Number of bottles
46.2 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
25 Apr 2019 7:37 am by Cap-buy
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredCask Strength

Average value

€ 178.80

29 × in wishlist

22 × member ratings

107 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Vega 1985 NSS

10 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.95 points

  1. Oogadal scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    Ok. So now the ridiculously hard to find Vega 1985 went on sale ‘online exclusive’ and UK only. Hmm. I already had a few (pure luck) and I received the NSS email and as I find this a really great whisky I didn’t think twice and grabbed another 3. I do want to review this dram as I find it absolutely stunning compared to the retail price (£105) You do need to give this some time in your glass and it benefits from the warmth of your hand. Nose: bam, popcorn! Say what? Yep, popcorn, the 2nd whisky ever I had that has got popcorn in it (the other one a Glentauchers bottled by Bruhler Whiskyhaus). This one is much older and also way better. It is rather sweet, but not too much. And, although ‘only’ around 46% it does have punch! Nose has very dark and almost overripe fruits, blackberries, vigs, that kinda stuff. This is just pre Tschernobyl stuff, but it gives the feeling of 70 ties great whisky’s, if I would tasted blind I would hang a early 1970-73 tag on it. Taste; great, you get exactly what you would expect from nosing. And there is that ‘old skool’ taste that is so hard to describe, it’s that endless seeming depth that makes sure you’re never bored by this. Finish: long, warm and again very entertaining, no off notes
    Note: I’m not rating this whisky 91 points to bump the rating and the price, my bottles are NOT for sale! EDIT; I did receive a question regarding this whisky has a ‘too much sulphur’ stamp in it’s DNA. I must say I do like some sulphate in a whisky and I find this one is definitely not overpowered by sulphate. If you can appreciate > 20 yo Glendronach single cask bombs you will love this! Even more considering this is not even half the Glendronach price.....

  2. Gris scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior


    Seriously, who is stupid enough to give it less than 89/100? You, fuckin' morons! Did you even taste it? XD
    • Nose
      From the outset, perfect notes (let's not be afraid of words) of dates and dried figs. I find it hard to say which ones stand out most, perhaps dates, from a short head. Honestly, I have rarely felt them so frankly. However, this kind of whiskey, which I prefer, I tasted quite a bit! Nice spicy notes too, like with a port of minimum 30 years of age, but high quality please! And well balanced, like a good Taylor's! Without doubt not the most complex nose to which I have been entitled but, damn (in French in the text), what beauty and what pleasure!
    • Taste
      Powerful! 46.2% but it would be given more clearly. A certain dryness in the mouth and very woody notes (hence the feeling that we probably also have older whiskey). Here we are also strongly on tobacco, like an old cigar box, as with a lot of (more) old finishes in good old sherry casks. We are also more, and perhaps even more markedly, on dates than dried figs. With a touch of plum. It sells dreams, damn (always in French in the text)! Question of tastes obviously but it's really my cam! It is powerful but at the same time it is round and superbly balanced. No need to add water, perfect as is. Again, not the most complex mouth to which I was entitled but the decision to stay on these few notes pays off!
    • Finish
      Looooongue, still on dates and tobacco, with a hint of chocolate and ginger. A beautiful killing!

  3. seacroft scored this whisky 80 points Expert Senior

    I bought this bottle at an online auction and did not know much about it. Apparently it was only sold on North Star's website with a clear warning about sulfur / gunpowder elements. Some people like this but most do not. One of the reasons for this sulphur flavour could be down to the sherry casks used in the Vega 33. In the past, during the transportation of oak casks from Spain to Scotland, it was not uncommon to sterilise the casks by burning a sulphur candle inside the cask. This killed off all the bacteria that could ruin a new spirit, however, it had the result of inflicting sulphury notes in the whisky. I will give this whisky a new assessment when I have decanted and oxidized it enough to get rid of most of the sulfur notes if it's possible. If you like old school whisky and have a budget (aroud 400 euros) you should try the Vega 1977, 40yo. There you have a whisky that has matured with dignity without the sulphur elements.

  4. mjts93 scored this whisky 89 points Member Senior

    First opening was all sulphurous gun powder. Near impenetrable.
    Left open for a month (splitting the contents into two bottles for more oxidization for a few weeks as well) and the nose is just wonderful with next to no sulphur. palate is weaker and still mildly sulphurous (although still not fantastic even without) and the finish is solid.
    • Nose
      93 93
      Cognac-like, grape gelatin (I've never had this note but it's so pronounced here-it's great!), coffee liqueurs, crystallized cherries. dates, prune juice, fresh tobacco, some brimstone (only a small amount after enough aeration of the bottle) and menthol.

      stellar nose.
    • Taste
      86 86
      Not at the level of the nose. the grape gelatin note is really pronounced but the sulphurous note takes more of a hold here. the wood is also more dominant here. Other notes similar to the nose just less pronounced
    • Finish
      89 89
      Medium to long. Fresh tobacco, dates and a slight resin and mint.

  5. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur


    There are plenty of old whiskies around like this. Whilst many bottlings in recent years have become premiumised and over-priced, supermarkets’ Aldi and Lidl found a working model that offered its customers old juice at low prices. One could argue that North Star Spirits sit somewhere in between these premiumised and budget models. We all like what NNS are doing and how they are doing it, but that doesn’t mean I’m an automatic fanboy of everything they release. Not all NSS bottlings are [or can be] stellar.

    N: Once I’d acclimatised to the sulphur and given it a few days to settle, a characterful elegant soup of flavour emerges with all manner of cakes and sweet treats. Namely, Window Chapel Cake, sweet pickled walnuts, walnut stone & fig jam, fatty fudge, root ginger…. This could hold it’s own against many esteemed and premiumised malts but at the same time it wouldn’t go amiss as a 30yo Aldi Christmas special, especially those from a while back. This often reminded me of the Trojan [WLP], any number of beautifully well-aged often sherry-matured undisclosed 1970s Speysider’s, Lidl’s 25yo Glenalba [WLP], and occasionally even Balblair’s 1969 vintage [WLP]. As elegant as it is on the nose, has it got the steam to hold up to the palate? At 46.2% it’s got every chance, but a soft profile on the nose often means it’ll be soft and/or sharp to taste. That nose though, once the sulphur settles down, is a cracker – impressive and immersive with new pleasures every re-visit.

    T: Initially, soft and instantly disappointing narrow acute peppery slightly fatigued arrival. Soon becomes oaky, peppery sharp and citrus=spearmint fresh before a rapid dip in intensity.
    As the days turn to weeks my perspective changes. Like the nose, I find there’s a dichotomy between the subtle layered complexities that talk of rancio raisins & old dusty chesterfields, and the contemporary nature of active sherry-syruped finishing casks. Does it work? Yes, at times. When it fires, there’s all manner of olfactory joys. On the other hand, it’s occasionally all too easily relatable to the bolt-on mechanics of so many sherry-activated/invigorated old-timers and young/juvenile contemporary whiskies for that matter. However, even when it struggles to fully rise, what’s certain is there is a dignity to this blended malt that can be lacking with less well-considered presentations. Don’t add much water because it can easily drown, but adding a few drops leads to an amelioration of delectable dried fruits and oaky fruit syrups in a way that only whisky can provide.

    F: Sulphury dusty/woody-dry tail with hints of nutty tobacco. What’s commendable is the restraint of the ‘finishing’ for this old-timer. That’s where the Alid/Lidl offering often falls down the most. With an oaky doughy pancake finish, some quality sherry [cask] notes linger with a nice humming light syrupy-sweet ashiness at the death – dependent on water management/sip size/air intake,… honestly, it’s such a sensitive malt.

    C: There’s lovely stuff to glean but those old joys don’t always surface. Overall, very good aged whisky for the price but I won’t miss the bottle. OK, maybe a little for that nose.

  6. BehindSpace scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      87 87

  7. Gris scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      Starting with perfect notes (i just have to use these words) of dates and dried figs. Hard to say which ones mostly stand out, perhaps dates, from a short head. Honestly, I have rarely felt them so frankly. And i’ve to mention that i tasted a lot of this kind of whiskies, which have my preference, i really like it! Nice spicy notes too, like with a (minimum) 30 years old Port, of high quality! And well balanced, like a good Taylor’s! Probably not the most complex nose I’ve met but, putain (in French in the text), so lovely, what pleasure!
    • Taste
      Powerful! 46.2% but i’d give it more, clearly. Some, nice and balanced, dryness in the mouth and nice woody notes (with this feeling, we easily would think we also have older whisky). We’re also, strongly, on tobacco, like with an old cigar box, as with a lot of (older) whiskies finished in nice old sherry casks. We are also more, and perhaps even more markedly, on dates than on dried figs. With a touch of plums. Bordel (always in French in the text), great, sweet and almost perfect as a dream! Question of tastes, obviously, but it’s really my stuff! It is powerful but at the same time it is round and superbly balanced. No need to add water, just perfect as it is. Once again, not the most complex whisky i’ve tasted but that’s just wonderful! You know, like really great wine with really great cheese with really great bread for a really great moment with really great friends, who the hell really needs more than this? Really? Not me!
    • Finish
      Looooong, still on dates and tobacco, with a hint of chocolate and ginger. Holly shit (in english in the text), that’s killing me softly!!

  8. Gris scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    84 to 86 notes? Seriously? 2 options: 1) those people juste don't understand anything to whisky 2) they'd like to get a bottle for less than any decent price and/or just didn't taste it! XD

  9. Hvdree scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      86 86

  10. dRambo scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    pleasantly sulphurous nose - reminiscent of a Rothes - very tasty retro Refillsherrystyle
    • Nose
      91 91
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      89 89


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