Glen Moray

Tasting Notes: Glen Moray – 1994 Sherry Cask Finish (Distillery Edition)

Glen Moray – 1994 Sherry Cask Finish

Well here we have a 22+ year old whisky from the Speyside kings at Glen Moray. This expression sits outside of the distillery’s standard offerings from within their Elgin ranges and so offers up something rare and limited that fans of the distillery will no doubt wish to get their hands on. The competition to do so will probably ramp up even further now with more whisky punters trying to get their hands on a bottle after it has been awarded the title of “Best Speyside Single Cask Singe Malt” during the World Whisky Awards 2018. Reportedly, the whisky has been matured for 16 years in a bourbon barrel before then being finished for a final 6 years in a sherry cask. Bottled at dizzying 56.7% ABV, let’s see if this deserves top prize…

 

 

Nose

That’s a nice, thick, and heady nose off the bat. Get past the boozy blast (though it’s not as potent as the digits would let on) and there’s stewed orange and dark fruits at play with a warmth of autumn/winter spices for good measure. It’s also got a good cake-y smell to it – along the lines of a sticky toffee pudding or treacle tart.

 

Taste

The taste just amplified everything that the nose had to offer. Big fruit flavours at the fore here, such as oranges, cherries and raisins. There’s more of an added sugary sweetness to the flavour too that then gets wrapped up in a wintry warmth with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon. It’s all there.

 

Finish

Man that alcohol finally shows up on the finish. Woah. Lingering finish of fruit cake courtesy of that classic sherry and oak combo.

 

Verdict

It’s too easy these days to get wrapped up in awards and titles and to unintentionally pre-judge a whisky by its numbers and processes. Just sit back and think for a moment. This whisky was first distilled and put into a cask when Alanis Morrisette first started writing Jagged Little Pill and when Oasis were just making it big in the UK with Definitely Maybe. That’s a long time, our kid. (Probably a travesty for anyone from outside Manchester to use that phrase, sorry). Since those releases came out a lot has happened and whilst both albums have drifted from breakthrough status to being considered “classics” of their era, during that whole time, this whisky has been sat there. What has it been doing? Well, for one it has really been absorbing the flavours of the barrels’ former contents and it is worth the wait. As the name suggests, yes it is a sherry rich whisky, but it is rounded off at the edges by the sweeter influences and is all the better for it. Part of me doesn’t want to give any credence to awards and gold medals, as I believe that the whisky should just be enjoyed by the individual drinking it, but this dram does rate very highly in my book and deserves high praise. Plus, you’ve got to admit that with such a large panel at the World Whisky Awards that does feature some big names on it (Charles Maclean for one) it’s probably worth checking this out (if you can get your hands on some). In short, this whisky really does taste like it is a rock and roll star.

M

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Happy Birthday Glen Moray!

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.

Glen Moray 12yo Elgin Heritage

12 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

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.

Taste

Light vanilla upfront. More of the same barley flavours from the nose. Light oak/barrel influence toward the end.

Finish

Over and done with pretty quickly, leaving a warming, vanilla taste. Simple and effective! 

Verdict

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.
 

Glen Moray 15yo Elgin Heritage

15 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

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.

Taste
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.

Finish

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.

Verdict

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.

Elgin Heritage Head-to-Head

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! 👍🏻

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