Friday, 1 November 2013

The Glen Garioch Experience Part 1 (Tweet Tasting)

This post is long overdue. This Tweet Tasting was the first of a number of Glen Garioch experiences that we have enjoyed over the summer, so look out for following posts coming very soon, including a trip to visit the distillery!

A special Father's Day Tweet Tasting organised by Morrison Bowmore Master Blender Rachel Barrie saw these four splendid drams from the Glen Garioch Distillery delivered to Whisky Discovery HQ. Glen Garioch is not a Distillery that I was that familiar with at the time, although I had bought a bottle of Founders Reserve at the airport on a return trip from somewhere.
Whisky Discovery
Four Glen Garioch samples beautifully packaged, albeit with a little leakage

All four would be new Whisky Discoveries and while three were identified on their labels one of the bottles had a question mark for the abv and 'New?' written for the expression. Were we being tested on a new expression that Rachel thought was worth releasing? It turned out that we were, read on......

Under the #GGGenerations hashtag a large group of tweet tasters were led through the expressions by Rachel herself, however my village internet was playing up again and kept dropping out on me so I missed taking part in the very end. Fortunately I was able to find all the tweets, and of course I had the drams and always scribble my own notes anyway.

Whisky Discovery #453

Glen Garioch 12 Year Old (48% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £35.00 70 clWhisky Discovery

First released in 2010, the 12 Year Old is one of Glen Garioch's two core expressions, sitting alongside the NAS 1797 Founders Reserve. Both of these expressions are bottled at the unusual strength of 48% abv and non-chillfiltered (although I understand colouring is used to ensure consistency between batches). This whisky has been matured in a combination of both ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks

So What Did I Think?
The nose opens with floral and herbal notes of heather, grassy, vanilla notes starting to evolve, grapefruit too.

On the palate this is not an immediately sweet dram, opens with bitter grapefruit pith and a huge hit of white pepper, but hold on to it, the fire subsides and becomes creamy with lots of ginger, I wasn't expecting that. The finish is long, spicy at first, softening with a woodiness before turning dry

What did the others think?
@steveprentice: Stewed apples and some autumn fruits all with a dollop of custard whist sitting outside with the grass freshly cut. Some boiled sweetie notes and a touch of chocolate (Cadburys Eclairs?)
@WorldWhiskyDay: Nose: Werther's originals and green apples with nice ripe pears too
@mattveira: Nose; I get vanilla, sweetness, honey, fruit (especially pears) and a fresh flower quality.
@mallygraveson: I can taste the oak and the tress of a Highland forest. Very nice.
@aberdeenwhisky: So smooth and fruity it is like summer in a glass.Perfect after the Aberdeen sunshine we've had recently!
@bumpythechemist: After the first hit of spice, the fruit and malt come back, citrus rind on the finish.

Whisky Discovery #454

Glen Garioch 1995 Vintage (Bottled 2012 55.3% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £62.00 70 clWhisky Discovery
This vintage bottling is rather special as it was distilled in the final year that the distillery malted it's own barley. Peat was used in the kilns during the initial phase of drying the barley, albeit at a very low ppm. When the distillery re-opened in 1997 the maltings and kilns were no longer used. One of Glen Garioch's small batch releases, it has been matured in first fill ex-bourbon barrels.

So What Did I Think?
The nose came across as spicy with an underlying sweetness. after a little while in the glass it became more floral for a brief moment until waves of vanilla start. Woodiness comes through with a touch of pencil shavings. This really does have a very enjoyable bouquet and would be quite happy sitting nosing this all evening

Like the nose this starts quite spicy on the palate, and the floral note picked up on the nose comes through as Parma Violets. A drop of water tames the spice and leaves a much sweeter note. The finish is long and spicy with white pepper and a touch dry at the end with citrus pith

What did the others think?
@bumpythechemist: The first thing that springs to mind on the nose of the 95 is peated opal fruits, the green ones
@WorldWhiskyDay: Nose: shortbread peppermint creams! (is that a thing? If not it should be!)
@mattveira: Nose: Very malty! Slight hint of musky mocha at the front, before a bit of menthol, woodiness, banana and fudge notes
@mallygraveson: I'm loving this! 1995 Vintage is Classic. Grapefruit. Sours. Retro Sweets. Refreshers. Wham Bars
@steveprentice: On the palate it's got some heat for sure, it's 55% after all, but it's still retaining a smooth character, a full and nicely oily mouth feel, and lovely fresh summer fruits. The finish is again quite long, helped by the fact it's not chill filtered, oils stick around keeping flavour all over your palate for a good long while, lovely stuff. A drop of water makes it sweeter and more creamy and is recommended for sure.
@aberdeenwhisky: A drop of water's made this dram even smoother, and brought out a stronger hint of peat for me. Still strong banana flavours.

Whisky Discovery #455

Glen Garioch 1986 Vintage (Bottled 2011 54.6% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £158.00 70 clWhisky Discovery
An earlier vintage distilled when the distillery was malting it's own barley and still peated a proportion of its malt. Another of Glen Garioch's small batch releases this 25 Year Old has been matured in North American oak casks.

So What Did I Think?
Sweet floral notes initially come across on the nose, with citrus notes underlying; lemons sweetened with heather honey. There's also a very gentle and pleasant peat reek about this one.

Very floral on the palate with Parma Violets, Swizzles and Sherbet Lemons. Although this is almost 55% abv I really didn't think this needed any water as it is so smooth and gentle on the palate. Another long finish and those Parma Violets staying right to the very end

What did the others think?
@aberdeenwhisky: Nose; reminds me of the woodfires in my grandads village in Ayrshire. Peaty but still with bananas.
@mattveira: Nose: Fruit (peach) & spicy ginger, with toffee & hint of smoke. Bit herbal. Definitely menthol peat notes.
@mallygraveson: This is like classical music. It just builds and grows upon crescendo & crescendo! Love it!
@bumpythechemist: Sweet and floral palate gets taken over heavy leather and wood notes. very subtle sweet peat in the background.
@WorldWhiskyDay: I'm enjoying the mouth feel and lingering smokiness. Definitely more woody than peaty!
@steveprentice: The finish is long and richly warming, the peat works to add even more depth and flavour than you already would be used to finding, and behind it all there is the obvious bourbon influence just backing everything up and rounding it off.

Whisky Discovery #456

Glen Garioch Virgin Oak NAS (48% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £65.00 70 clWhisky Discovery
At the time of the tweet tasting no information was being let out by Rachel, it was only when the Virgin Oak release was announced that we were told what this was. However as this blog post is so overdue, there's no point pretending that I don't know what it is!

The we're many suggestions being proposed as what cask this spirit had been matured or finished in. The pinkish red hues were suggesting Port pipes to many, including me

So What Did I Think?

The nose has lots of spicy wood notes with a herbal element too that is slightly reminiscent of Vietnamese Coriander. A drop of water sweetens the nose and lots of vanilla notes develop in the glass.

On the palate this is sweet and smooth and creamy, almost buttery. The heather notes come across and there are some tangy orange marmalade flavours too. The initial sweetness is balanced by a savoury side too and has a warming finish with ginger and spices.

What did the others think?

@WorldWhiskyDay: Lovely notes of Parma ham and melons, warm jam tarts and big juicy sultanas!

@darrochr: Top dram, strikes as being a manzanilla or amaroso sherry cask.vanilla notes, very mellow.
@bumpythechemist: Hins of balsamic vinegar, really meaty savoury nose nose on the mystery dram. touch of salt too.
@steveprentice: Rich gold in colour, orange with a flash of pinky red. On the nose to me it smells like sherry's Portuguese cousin, i.e. Port. It's light, creamy, but with a back depth of dark fruits, crushed red grape nuts and a slight farmyard whiff, possibly the esters of new make / distillery character.
@aberdeenwhisky: This has a salty edge with a sweet finish. Definitely something delightfully different on the palate & nose.
@mattveira: Palate: Zest, sweet jam, cocoa, dry maltiness also spicy butterness on the finish. Quite a dry finish too

And Finally....

Many thanks to Glen Garioch for getting in touch and sharing these with us. Four new Whisky Discoveries were added to the Liquid Log, and a bottle of their 12 Year Old joined the stable shortly afterwards. Out of the four, the 1986 Vintage was my favourite, and the 1995 is a cracker too, and is one I would like to add to the shelf soon, but the 12 year Old is an affordable everyday dram, and I like everyday dramming!

Slàinte! Dave

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