So each year, for my friend’s birthday, I bring him out to that pub I won’t shut up about and buy him and myself a flight of Scotch. Suffice to say, I enjoy his birthday almost as much as he does. If you’re following my posts closely, you’d be creepy…. also, you’ll remember I did this last year as well.
This year we did the Highland/Speyside flight:
- Glen Garioch 15 year
- Glenmorangie 10 year 100 proof
- Brora 1981 18 year Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask
- Macallan Cask Strength Sherry
- Glenfiddich 15 year Solera
- Glenlivet Scott’s Selection 1977
Each dram is 1/2 oz, and we both ensured to take breaks between each one, with water, and both of us ensured that what we had for dinner was not overtly strong in spices (I had the bangers and mash, and seriously, the bangers were like butter). I didn’t re-review the Macallan or the Brora as I’ve done them before, so feel free to check out my past reviews I’ve linked above. Or hate me for it, either way.
So we start with a Highland. And as many of you may know, I’m not a Highland fan. It’s probably my 6th least favourite region in Scotland. Probably. So take this with a grain of salt.
Glen Garioch has had a colourful 200 year history. They started in 1797, moving through multiple owners, coming back to the Manson family (not that one) each time in the end (though now it’s owned by Suntory). In 1972, they had to discover a new water source, as the old one dried up. They closed in 1995, releasing the last of their peated barely malts. They eventually reopened in 1997 without peat, and in 2009 they took on a new look.
The Glen Garioch 15 year I had was from the old marketing prior to 2009, though it’s (most likely) still the same malt. This one is aged 3 years more than their current front liner (12 year) and seems a little darker, yet the Founder’s Reserve and the 12 year now have higher Abv… so I don’t know if I’m being spoiled or taken advantage of.
Which, if you read these reviews, know both happen quite often.
Colour: Antique Brass
Nose: Wet Forest, sour vegetal, grapes, wet hay, scallops
The wet forest part takes over as much as possible. It really brings you back to walking through the woods during a light rain storm. Very strong, and yet very one note. I hope for more as time goes on, but it stays on that way, sour vegetal note throughout.
Taste: Lemon, chipotle, potato, grapes, little wood, white chocolate, white pepper, cranberry
The white chocolate is the star here, giving you something different than the usual fruit and wood notes. A little bit of woodiness eeks its way in, but it’s really not fooling anyone.
Finish: Peat, cherry, strawberry, lemongrass, nutmeg, faint cinnamon, cranberry, smoke
And then the wood hears my comments and sets my mouth on fire. There’s a lot of heat and smoke at the end. It’s trying too hard almost, though it’s mellowed out by some other flavours.
Conclusion: This is a nice Highland. Is it the best I’ve had? No, it’s too rough and the finish tries to hard, but it’s really quite nice compared to others. Does what it should do (IMHO) as a Highland: Smoke, Fruit, Wood.
Granted, some might say Cambelton does that better, but I’ll let people decide that. Feel free to comment which region is better. As for this one, it’s a solid Dram, can’t wait to try the 12 year and finding the 1995 with peated barely.
Scotch review #61, Highland review #7, Whisky Network review #83
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #48