Today sees Glen Moray distillery celebrate its 120th birthday, because on 13th September 1897 the little distillery based in Elgin made its first batch of new-make spirit. In order to join in on the celebrations, I’ve taken my two Dram Team miniatures and have done a side-by-side comparison of their cracking Elgin Heritage releases.
12 Year Old Elgin Heritage
Light. Really light. It’s only got a gentle boozy tingle on the nose but seems quite perfumed – kinda like nail polish fumes, but in a good way?! If I had to pick one smell, then it would be barley. Pure and simple.
Light vanilla upfront. More of the same barley flavours from the nose. Light oak/barrel influence toward the end.
Over and done with pretty quickly, leaving a warming, vanilla taste. Simple and effective!
Very simple. Very easy drinking. Maybe too simple and too easy drinking if you’re after a whisky for savouring. The quality is not in question though and with this palate you could drink a lot of this. Pure and simple.
15 Year Old Elgin Heritage
And there’s the body!! The barrel’s influence is so much more present. A slight bit of salinity to the smell and a lot more barley too. Like all the light notes of the 12yo have bulked up and come out to play. Caramel sweetness throughout.
Rich caramel flavours continue – sweetness up front but things soon take a turn and the flavours become more and more savoury and ultimately leave a black peppery spice.
Woody. Really woody. Like, chewing on some wood kinda woody. The peppery flavours have removed all that initial sweetness and it coats your thought with a spiciness that could cure the common cold.
Well, what a difference the 3 years seem to make. I’m not sure if there are different types of barrel used but this has such a contrast to the 12yo. This I couldn’t drink too much of! Lots of flavours for savouring, with some strong elements at play. My personal preference would have been for the sweetness to stick around a bit longer, but that is hardly a criticism. Maybe my perfect Glen Moray Elgin Heritage would split the difference and be a 13.5 yo? Either way, these are two different drams that are both rather good at what they do.
Edit: Thanks to @faycoull “Mr Master Distiller’s wife” of Glen Moray for confirming that the 15yo is combination of ex-Bourbon and Sherry Cask whiskies which are married just before bottling! 👍🏻