...and yes, this was very insightful again. Both drams offer the adorable old Highland style that is hard to find these days (because of the modern zeitgeist of extreme wood impacts and heavy wine finishes). While the Glendullan distillery character stays consistent the 1974 shows a more complex and layered profile than the 1978 which is more simple and straight forward. I certainly prefer the 1974 (if I have the choice) but the 1978 is a fine and very quaffable dram too.
The colour of the 1974 is deep gold while the 1978 is two shades paler at old gold. The nose of the 1974 is not punchy at all despite its 63,1% abv and offers a classical old Highland profile with honeys, waxes, floral notes and earthy aromas (forest floor with pine needles). it is delicate and balanced and grows stronger upon breathing adding barley sugars and spices. The 1978 is rather shy and closed first (not punchy too at 56,6% abv). After some breathing it opens up nicely and shows a comparable profile to the 1974 with some more sweet fruits and honeys but without the earthy notes. The differences are marginal, so the distillery profile (distilling regime) did not change between 1974 and 1978. To me this is a clear draw.
The 1974's taste is very old-stylish with lots of waxes, resin, oils and later barley sugars, autumn floral notes (haystacks), chalk and spices. All nicely balanced and layered without any flaw or off-note. The taste of the 1978 is of a comparable profile but a little more simple and not that layered. It shows more barley sugars and lacks the floral flavours, chalk and resinous notes. Nonetheless it is very interesting to explore and quaffable, provided you like the old Highland style. I prefer the 1974 on this dimension.
The initial mouthfeel of the 1974 is hot first, than nicely warming and greatly coats all of the mouth without distracting moments. The 1978 arrives smoother on the palate without the initial hot impression and is comparable warming and coating, so another draw here. Both own a finish of medium length where the 1974 adds more sweeter flavours (honeys and shy fruits) without any distracting moments again. The 1978 adds no new impressions and shows no distracting moments either. I clearly like the 1974 better here. Both drams open up nicely on water and get much more approachable on the palate. Actually, I like them both neat and reduced with the 1974 preferable at 48% abv and the 1978 at 43% abv. I suggest to explore these drams neat first and then play a little with water to find the best reduction level that suits you. Both drams are excellent swimmer, for sure.