Avonside Glenlivet 39 yo 1938 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Italy, Pinerolo) This one was distilled just before WWII. We already had a 33yo 1938 that was extremely good, albeit quite ‘mushroomy/mouldy’. Let’s see how this older version behaves. Colour: pale amber. Nose: indeed, we are not too far from the Armagnac here, with roughly the same kind of oaky tones, but instead of coffee, prunes and fruitcake we have rather notes of kumquats, bergamot, quince jelly and fresh almonds. Even freshly cut apples (granny smith). In short, this is somewhat fresher than the Armagnac but the general quality is roughly the same, that is to say pretty high – provided you like old spirits. Mouth: very good at the attack but gets then very dry and oaky, very close to the Armagnac in that respect, even I the Armagnac was globally better. Gets very resinous – wrongly so – and very tea-ish (strong over-infused black tea). A few very nice fruity notes do linger on (green bananas, apples) but other than that this is too drying for my taste. Finish: shortish but very tannic and oddly peppery. Comments: too much wood, too much time in cask. Too bad because most of the other whiskies in this ‘black label’ series are quite superb and sometimes totally stunning. SGP:261 – 80 points (for the nose).