Hammer Head 1989 23-year-old

Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 16th February 2015

88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
76.56/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)
86/100 – RalfyHis review on You Tube here (Dec 2014)

Scotland, the heart of the whisky industry, has been a stable country since the battle of Culloden in 1746. Legalised whisky production, that we know today, started about 50 years later. This means that no Scottish whisky exists from a time when Scotland was having an identity crisis. What’s wonderful (in a historic sense) about the Hammer Head single malt, is that it dates back to before the Czech Republic was called the Czech Republic (named in 1992). This whisky was distilled in 1989, the year the Berlin wall fell, and the iron curtain started to crumble. All this was going on but still the good people of Czechoslovakia found the passion and desire to cask up some spirit, and let it mature in peace for 23 years.

When I say all that, you can understand why some people might think this a ‘novelty’ whisky, rather than something to be taken seriously. But 88.5/100 from Jim Murray (Whisky Bible author) and 86/100 from Ralfy are excellent scores from two people who know their drams. Jim Murray says in his review “don’t bother looking for complexity: this is one of Europe’s maltiest drams…if not the maltiest.” Malty sounds nice! On the other hand, 76.5/100 on Whiskybase shows this whisky might have room for improvement for some tastes.

Whether malty or novelty, I’m still very pleased to have this bottle in my collection!

Hammerhead 23yo 70cl

3 responses to “Hammer Head 1989 23-year-old

  1. But what do you think about it? We tasted it blind and were decidedly unimpressed. An interesting piece of history but…

  2. I’m yet to try it but, when I do, I wont be trying it blind after your experience. I think blind tastings are very useful for many reason but, it sounds like the Hammerhead is so ‘out there’ that the best option is to prepare your palate beforehand with some tasting notes. I know from personal experience that when I taste blind I still have a level of expectation, so when I smell sherry I’m instantly thinking “I expect this to be as good as…..” Also if my palate isn’t prepared for something different, I’m sure, like many people, I get that childlike reaction of “dear God take this shit away and give me ice cream!” 🙂 Perhaps having a full bottle of Hammerhead gives it time to grow on the drinker.

  3. I enjoyed my encounter with Hammerhead.
    Malty indeed!
    It surprised me with a velvety smoothness too.
    Packs a great back story as well.

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