Saturday, 24 August 2013

Glen Garioch 1997 vintage (Travel Retail Exclusive)


Distillery: Glen Garioch
Bottling: Distillery Bottling (Travel Retail exclusive)
Age: 15
Distilled: 1997
Bottled: 2012
Strength: 56.7%
Cask: 1st and 2nd fill ex-bourbon

Whenever I get, or get to open a new Glen Garioch I get excited it is my second favourite distillery after Balblair. Coincidently (or not?) both distilleries were subject to a modernisation of tired old packaging, and started releasing "vintages" rather than fixed ages (although Glen Garioch do a 12 year old)which while still characteristic of that distillery, is also characteristic of a certain year. While the vintages list the year, they don't specifically mention an age does that mean it is technically a NAS (no-age-statement) whisky, meaning that 1997 does not need to be the youngest malt in the vatting? That is a question I'll need to find an answer to.

Nose: Immediately a big fruity, estery exposion. Very typical of Glen Garioch to me with a big pear dominance, followed with apple, and banana, with plenty of lesser fruity notes of strawberry and citrus. The combination of fruits are very sweet and candied and the overwhelming memory triggered is of Jelly Tot sweets. Other fruity sweets such as Irn Bru bars and Fruit Salad are also present. Some other sweet but richer things like Chocolate Honeycomb, and the creamy, biscuitness of Nestle White Chocoloate Crunch bars. Plenty of other malty, biscuity notes like shortbread. There is vanilla in there as well, but blends in well with the fruity sweet notes. Lighter floral and heather notes as well.

Palate: Big fruits. Those Jelly Tots are back, and accentuated by the fiz from the high alcohol strength. Hold this in the mouth and let it dilute and mellow, the mouth-watering fruit sweetness comes through like Jolly Ranchers and it gets very chewy, waxy and oily. Creamy biscuitness from the crunch bars as it melts in the mouth with a distinct nuttyness. This also has a very rum-like feel in the mouth.

Finish: Very long, and spicy finish. Vanilla and the crisp sharpness of Coriander seeds. Rum & Raisin fudge, with a touch of citrus.

Comments: A very tasty, and complex construction from Morrison-Bowmore's master blender Rachel Barrie. In many ways this is superior to some of the Glen Garioch single cask releases as there is the higher strength which definately appeals to me, and it carries the character of the distillery and the year, but has the benefit of being constructed through multiple casks to give it more complexity than just a single cask alone. The only drawback of this wee dram is that it is only available through Travel Retail (Duty free to you and me), and I picked this up in Glasgow airport for less than £50. You won't get a single cask for this price. Pick this up if you get the chance or know someone else passing through a airport which stocks it.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Inver House 21 year old Blended Scotch Whisky


Distillery: Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottling: Inver House 21 year old
Age: 21
Strength: 43%

After my tour of Inver House I discussed this bottle with Malcolm Leask and managed to get some information. The 43% indicates that it is was export and was destined for Asia. It appears that it was possibly bottled in the early 90s, which would mean the whisky contained was distilled sometime in the 70s. I have forwarded the picture on to the experts at Inver House and I will update this page once I can find out some more.

Nose: This is very light and mild on the nose, but typical of lower strength whiskies so not particularly a bad thing for this whisky itself. Fruits in the way of apple, pear and tropical pineapple notes. Chocolate, Vanilla, Pecan nuts, hazelnuts. Coconut. Cereal notes of Rolled Oats, Granary Rolls, malt biscuits and Horlicks.

Palate: I can't decide whether this is mild or flat. I spent so much time above 50% ABV everything under does tend to be this way, but I am trying to enjoy more at a lower strength. This will be more important if I am going to try and source bottlings from an older time where higher ABV was just not common. Cadbury's Fruit & Nut bars. Nutella, fruity and honeyed. Very easy drinking.

Finish: Pretty short finish with spiced apple, vanilla and some grain.

Inver House Tour

Today my brother and I went a tour of Inver House distillers' facilities in Airdrie. As a life long resident of Airdrie and also a massive Balblair fan, I wanted to know more about blended whisky and in particular Inver House's blends in which Balblair is a main component.

This tour was kindly organised by Gillian Gibson, the Global Brand Manager for Balblair and anCnoc single malt whiskies, and I was left in the very capable hands of Mark Williamson, Assistant Blender.

Due to this being a busy and working facility I was not able to take many photographs. Mark us to one of the vast warehouses and we all spoke in depth about whisky, malts, blends, and the industry in general. He showed us round the blending and vatting areas, the bottling plant and finished off with taking us to the blending lab where he had laid out an array of spirits for us to nose and taste.

We got to try new make spirit for Balblair, Knockdhu, Pulteney and Balmenach single malts, as well as new make grain whisky which goes into their core blends. Finally Mark took us through the core blends of Cattos, MacArthurs, Hankey Bannister Original, Hankey Bannister Heritage Blend, and Hankey Bannister 12 year old, and how they are put together with the various components. I urge you to try and seek out a bottle of the Heritage Blend, at 46% it really stands out strong and is pretty tasty. When I get a bottle I will review it.

Again, thanks for Gillian and Mark for facilitating this.

26.92 Hard glazed pretzel sticks (Clynelish 28 year old)


Distillery: Clynelish
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 28
Distilled: 1984
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 58.2%
Cask: Refill sherry butt.
Cask Code: 26.92 Hard glazed pretzel sticks

Nose: Very light and delicate. Tangerine is most prominent, but sharper like when you are peeling a tangerine and it squirts out in your eye. Melon and also the a woody earthy note like the melon seeds themselves. Tunnock's Caramel Logs - Chocolate, Caramel, Biscuit with a covering of desicated coconut. Some heather and hay. Marmalade on burnt toast. These are by no means strong notes as this is very closed on the nose and takes a lot of deep digging in the glass. The longer I hold the glass in my hand the more it very gradually opens up and becomes more tropical. More meaty and briny notes appear later on for me here. Salty bacon and sausages.

Palate: Salted fruits. Lemon. Spicy, Peppery with the bite of fresh Ginger. Salt & Vinegar crisps. Dry desicated coconut.

Finish: Fizzy lemonade alongside salty briny flavours. Spicy. More salt. Gentle oak and a little smouldering smoke.