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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

November 3, 2014


Three Glen Garioch, some extreme

We’ve got two rather important official Glen Garioch to taste today, but first a clean indie from the well-known 1992 vintage as the aperitif.

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1992/2014 (51.6%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 227 bottles)

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1992/2014 (51.6%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 227 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: yep, medicinal fruits. Cut apples, green gooseberries, aspirin tablets and a little tincture of iodine. Then whiffs of coal smoke, grape seed oil and lemon skin. Pretty phenolic, rather between the old smoky ones and the more modern, fruitier ones. With water: rocks, grass and paraffin. A little shoe polish. Mouth (neat): bitter fruits at first sips, some peat, an oily grassiness ala Springbank, quite a lot of green pepper and then more ashes and grass. It’s only after one good minute that a more rounded fruitiness, around oranges and citrons, comes out. More ala Clynelish this time. With water: tart green fruits and grass and leaves. A salty touch. Finish: long, but a notch too grassy and bitter(ish), maybe. Loses three points here. Okay, two. Comments: big, rather austere spirit. There’s quite some peat, apparently. SGP:463 - 86 points.

Glen Garioch 15 yo 'The Renaissance' (51.9%, OB, 2014)

Glen Garioch 15 yo 'The Renaissance' (51.9%, OB, 2014) Four stars This first ‘chapter’ is celebrating the latest ‘reawakening’ of the distillery, in 1997. Yes there had been several ‘reawakenings’ in the past, not unlike at several other distilleries, especially when those have changed hands several times. Yes, even Ardbeg had a Renaissance. Colour: gold. Nose: not too far from the 1992, except that this has more vanilla and more roundness. More Ovaltine too, toasted brioche, coffee, pecan pie… The slightly sour medicinal side is well there, just subdued. I find the whole very pleasant, while it’s not lost the distillery’s peculiar style despite a rather obvious sweet oak. With water: the sour notes come out more. Cauliflowers? But that’s within the style. Mouth (neat): rich, sweet, slightly oriental (orange blossom water, baklavas), then much more lemony/grassy. Lemongrass, a little spearmint, half an aspirin tablet, then rounder notes of tarte tatin again. I like. Good oily body. With water: the oak comes out a little more (tea tannins), as well as a little more mint. The Ovaltine is back too. Finish: rather long, with some tea, oranges, butter and a handful of violet sweets. Comments: characterful. Officials always add more wood (so to speak – not obligatorily doing Zellwegers), but this worked for sure. Much less peat than in the indie. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glen Garioch 40 yo 1973/2014 (54.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt, cask #4297, 138 bottles)

Glen Garioch 40 yo 1973/2014 (54.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt, cask #4297, 138 bottles) Five starsAnother coup by TWE! As much as you may celebrate a renaissance with a 15 yo, the bigger Glen Gariochs used to come from the 1960s and early 1970s, when the spirit was peatier. 1973 was also the year when the distillery was rebuilt by Bowmore’s Morrisons, so it was a kind of renaissance as well. Let’s see if this is a Mona Lisa… Colour: coffee. Nose: you just couldn’t not think of the heavily sherried official 1968s. A lost style. Dilute a few mint lozenges in some ristretto, add a drop of pastis, some Cointreau, some chartreuse, a little liquorice, a spoonful of the earthiest pu-erh tea, and just one crushed blackcurrant. And maybe a little pipe juice. It’s like watching an old Fritz Lang movie again. With water: the best use of water. Softer, better integrated, a little fruitier? Blueberry tart? Mouth (neat): which kind of concoction is this? Plenty of mint, walnut liqueur, heavy liquorice, Ricqlès mint cordial, soot, chewing the heaviest black pipe tobacco (Balkan style), eating earth, crunching brown coal, sipping heavily reduced guignolet (cherry liqueur)… Quite an experience. Will this take water on the palate? Not too sure… With water: it does. Fruitier again, cleaner, even fresher – but this is no fresh whisky – with again these notes of stewed blueberries. But it won’t make your teeth blue, which is an advantage. Finish: long, a little more tannic, which had to be expected. Black tea and red grape juice. Comments: I’m not sure, but this could well have been one of these very rare genuine old solera butts. It’s probably not technically perfect, but this is whisky AND History. I haven’t seen a new one in this style since five years of more. SGP:473 - 92 points.

My that one was a session killer! I had thought we could have one or two more, but that was very optimistic…

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glen Garioch I've tasted so far







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