A while back a fellow Israeli whisky fiend and blogger, Michael (found over at maltandoak.com), asked if I wanted in on a bottle share of a very special Glen Garioch. Now aside from the bottle just sounding really enticing, I could see how excited Michael was about it, and he is the biggest Glen Garioch fanboy I’ve ever met, so this had to be something special.
This is spirit distilled in 1978 back when the whisky was still peated (and that lovely highland peat) and then matured for 30 years in bourbon casks before being released as part of the distillery’s Vintage range in 2009.
Aged 30 years. 57.8% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at batch strength.
Nose: Initially spicy fruits and ash. Surprisingly active for such an old whisky. Settles down into some very rich wood, toffee and brown glue. There’s a very light herbal honey note to it and some dried green herbs, like sage and parsley, very faint. After a long time in the glass some shoe polish, new leather and dusty bookshelf notes turn up.
Palate: Woodspice, lots of woodspice. Leather. Glace cherries. Candied citrus peel. Wet oak, kind of like a maturation warehouse. Hints of wood smoke. Green chilli peppers. Icing sugar.
Finish: Long. Woodspice dominates here, mainly cinnamon, along with more green pepper notes. The smoke is a little more pronounced now. More candied citrus, pretty much orange marmalade now. Slight stinging bitterness (think capsicum) lingers on the tip of the tongue.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
A marvelously complex whisky. The age has really done this well. Not an easy whisky, and one needs to have encountered a lot of these influences on their own first to truly appreciate it. The peat influence particularly is wonderful here, subtle from aging but fully present the whole way through adding a lot of richness, much like a Brora of similar age.