It always makes me a little nervous cracking the lid on an old bottle. This one has a plastic cap so no worries about rotted cork, but you know that the instant the seals tear that money you spent is gone and you hope that what is inside is enjoyable enough to warrant the cash. I recently purchased this 1963 vintage Early Times and the bottle was in decent condition. For more details on Early Times se my previous post. In the glass it has a thick, coating effect with slow legs.
86 Proof (note the increased ABV compared Tom most anything 1970’s or later)
Sweet vanilla, corn, dried mint & slight butterscotch. There are some solvent notes in there as well that I often find in old bottles. Later celery & green melon presents itself. Coconut and some burnt marshmallow. Old sherry cask & oak.
A surprisingly clean sweet vanilla & dried spearmint, old wood & rosemary arrival. A very dry & bright arrival which I did not expect given it has been in this bottle for 57 years! The development is quick and reveals more old oak notes with some sweet melon. The sweetness, which is mild, remains constant throughout and tends toward butterscotch. There is a nice warming effect without any burn. No musty notes, seems to lack that old bottle flavor I so often find. The finish is short to moderate and clean. Not complex but very nicely balanced and there is a unique flavor running through the whole experience that is not complex but very interesting. I just can’t pin it down. Perhaps a slightly fermented mango with concentrated camphor. It is slightly anesthetic – Szechuan pepper corn, that’s it.
Water and 10 Minutes:
The nose now much more subdued, mild & sweet. There are still some mint notes but way in the background. The arrival now has more caramel, oak and alcohol. The dried up old oak and herbs seem less-so. The development is round and soft and slightly elongated. The water really hydrated it and the dryness on the tongue is also less though. The alcohol (which is lower by adding water) is more evident as is a slight old bottle taste that I did not find at all when it was neat. Water really seems to bring it back somehow and although it is still nice I seem to prefer it neat. The water makes it more familiar and newer, similar to more modern whiskey. The neat tasting was unique in how dry it tasted. The mints, oak, everything seemed parched in some way that was clean and unique. The water seems to turn the clock back on the flavors. They are still there but younger. The longer it sits with the water the better it gets but still very different from neat. That same unique flavor element is there and also younger.