Google A battle of two old unicorns

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

March 11, 2020


A battle of two old unicorns at 45%

It’s a bit sad that we’ll have more and more trouble doing proper Glen Mhor or Glenury (or Glen Albyn, Glenlochy etc.) tasting sessions, at least with only expressions that we haven’t tried yet. Which means that we may have to gather singletons more and more often, as we’re about to do today. Glen Mhor vs. Glenury Royal, I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but there, little choice… But hold on, at least both share almost the same vintage! And were bottled at the very same strength, so I say this is still a sound comparison!

Glen Mhor 1969 (45%, Campbell & Clark, cask #1407/1409, 2265 bottles)

Glen Mhor 1969 (45%, Campbell & Clark, cask #1407/1409, 2265 bottles) Four stars
I’m not too sure when this was bottled, it’s most certainly more ‘modern’ than it looks. Mid to late 1990s, I would say. What’s more, it’s a 70cl bottle. As for Glen Mhor (closed 1983), beyond the fact that it’s Valentino Zagatti’s favourite tipple, all I’ll say is that some surprises may now occur... Colour: gold. Nose: artisanal muesli, burning bread, soot, ink, exhaust, pine cones, damp dunnage warehouse, raw wool, cured ham, cachaça, cardboard, fino, walnuts, Maggi sauce, glutamate, miso, pipe tobacco, barbecued mussels, dry Madeira… All that is a tad incoherent, I’m not sure any contemporary distillers would dare make this kind, but it’s got something eminently charming beyond the many WTF moments (apologies, carried away). Mouth: a tad better focused, but barks and wood chips tend to do whatever they want, while bitter oranges and a bizarre sootiness start to dominate this extremely old-school malt whisky. More burnt chips, cardboard, tobacco, leather, graphite oil… This baby really plays by its own rules. Finish: rather long, dry and bitter, but some nicer orange peel and burnt caramel are ruling the aftertaste. Touches of cardboard too. Comments: really a strange brew, as Clapton would have said, but it’s charming. Antiquated and charming.
SGP:272 - 85 points.

And now the Glenury!

Glenury Royal 50 yo 1968/2018 (45%, OB, Casks of Distinction, hogshead, cask #8709, 192 bottles)

Glenury Royal 50 yo 1968/2018 (45%, OB, Casks of Distinction, hogshead, cask #8709, 192 bottles) Four stars and a half
Very smartly, Diageo have added to the label that Glenury (closed 1985) was ‘The only distillery ever allowed to use the suffix royal’. It’s true that in the case of Lochnagar, it was rather a prefix, not a suffix. Well played! Now vorsicht, Diageo also had a 1968 bottled at 36yo that was pretty flabbergasting (WF92 when I tried it in 2005), so will the 50 years have taken their toll here?...  Colour: full gold. Nose: this is so much neater than the Glen Mhor, tidier, and almost as complex, even if some slightly worrying notes of pine resin are emerging (not always good news w.r.t. the palate, but we’ll see.) Old books and papers, old furniture, all the polish that’s needed for maintenance, orange peel, fabric, broken branches, green bananas, putty and oil paint, moshi, bean curd, then some surprising candyfloss and toffee apple. Welcome to the fair! Mouth: when old oak gets rather sappy and herbal instead of teaish and tannic, that works in my book, even if the fruitiness got pretty discreet after all those years. Or say rather on peelings, stems and pips than on flesh and juices. Quite some herbal teas too (hawthorn, thyme, rooibos, perhaps hibiscus…) and once again this feeling of green bananas, or banana skin. But here, the tannicity hasn’t won the war here, hurray and bravo! Finish: many very old malts tend to become a little mentholy and resinous at this point, which is happening indeed, but without excess. Especially the aftertaste remains rather fresh, which will grant this old baby a very good score in my humble little book. Comments: another little miracle here. Distinctive indeed.
SGP:361 - 89 points.







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