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.

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