Glen Moray 30yo
September 2017 marked the 120th anniversary of Glen Moray distillery having been first opened and having constantly crafted the water of life. Loyal followers of the distillery on twitter have been using the hashtag #glenmoray120 to tag their celebration of the occasion. Having recently reviewed their regularly available Elgin Heritage 12 and 15 year old expressions, I was delighted that September’s Dram Team delivery contained a new and limited expression from Glen Moray. The mini miniature contained a dram of a 30 year old independent bottling by Murray McDavid under their “Mission Gold” range. There’s limited information available on the whisky itself but as a Murray McDavid release, it has been hand selected from a vintage cask and aged up to the ripe old age of 30.
M: Creamy. Really creamy. A real vanilla bomb. Very little boozy prickle in the nostrils. Really rounded honey and cream. Some gentle sweet fruits there too like papaya.
M: Vanilla custard. Just like Portuguese tarts. Sweet oak in there too, which intensifies on the way down too.
M: The alcohol only shows itself on the finish as it warms on the way down. Suddenly that 49% is really prominent and leaves a peppery kick.
M: Having tried a few of Glen Moray’s NAS cask finish series releases, I’ve enjoyed their light body and varying flavours and that was what I came to expect of Glen Moray. Delicate and woody. The recent comparison of the 12yo and 15yo however, evidenced a stark difference in flavours and body as a result of a few extra years, so the prospect of 30 years in barrel made me think that this dram would basically taste like chewing a stave. Instead it seems that 30 years have infused nothing but pure vanilla sweetness with a finish that is just sooooo smooth, and at just under 50% ABV, this dram is dangerously easy to drink. At £225 RRP for a bottle though… a small sample is all I’ll be able to enjoy at this stage…
Categories: Tasting Notes
Tags: Glen Moray, malt, Mission Gold, Murray McDavid, scotch, Scotch Whisky, Single, Single Malt, Single Malt Whisky, Speyside, whisky
Lagavulin – Friends of the Classic Malts
In 2014, Diageo started to release a new subset of whiskies within its Classic Malt series, exclusively for the “Friends of the Classic Malts”. Each of the expressions were to be “Triple Matured” and WU got its hands on the Lagavulin FOCM expression. There is no-age-statement associated with the expressions, but the suspicions amongst writers and those in the know seem to be that this is the standard Lagavulin 16 that has received 6 months further maturation in American Oak and 6 months further maturation in European Oak.
M: Instantly smelt more like a Laphroaig from just down the road in Islay, but after going back there’s a cleaner, less iodine-fuelled smoke and power to it. It doesn’t seem to be Lagavulin’s signature full-on smoky nose – it’s a sweeter smoke. It’s definitely got more of a salinity than the gold standard 16yo too.
M: Big flavours at play here. Thick, chewy caramel sweetness, with a hazelnut tang and dryness at first sip and then big, big, sweet smoke just rocks up and knocks those other flavours right out of the park.
M: A long, long finish with that sweet and smoky flavour battle lasting all the way down. Once it seems to have gone away it then comes right back without having to take another sip.
M: Given that this is a variation on one of my favourite tipples, I was worried that this release might be sacrilege and just an easy cash-in. That said, there seems to be little variation to the standard template but just enough to warrant its own release. Having since learned that there is (relatively) little development to the original product but for the notes additional maturation, then it is understandable. Not in a bad way either. Its definitely a Lagavulin but it’s got more of a saltier taste throughout. Despite that ageing though it still retains some of that original barley taste in there too. Certainly not for the faint hearted or for having more than (large) one in a night but overall it is well worth a try for any discerning Laga-fan.
Categories: Lagavulin, Tasting Notes
Tags: American Oak, Classic Malts, Diageo, European Oak, FOCM, Friends of the Classic Malts, Lagavulin, malt, scotch, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, whisky
The Pogues Irish Whiskey
Released by West Cork Distillers, The Pogues Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey that has been matured in oak barrels for just three years and one day (i.e. exactly as long as needed to technically call it “whiskey”). The packaging notes that the whiskey is “bottled by West Cork Distillers”, but being a blend and without a statement to the effect, there is no apparent information as to whether or not it is crafted and distilled there too – but you’d hope so! The blend is reportedly a 50:50 split of grain and malt Irish whiskies and was crafted by two entrants in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame: Irish master blender Barry Walsh and longtime Springbank maestro Frank McHardy. The packaging and bottle is branded with The Pogues lyric “I am going where streams of whiskey are flowing”, so with that, let’s pour some and get it flowing…
M: So many woody smells in there and a sweet lingering something. It’s kinda oaky, kinda piney, kinda something else. Whatever it is, it stands out.
M: A bit harsh upfront with the booze but the woody flavours fade away to some vanilla sweetness. Slightly orangey towards the end.
M: A decent coating of the throat but the flavours do not really hang around. It’s a chest warming boozy delivery but thankfully, without burning a hole though it.
A totally woody nose (which is surprising given its young, young age), which makes way for sweet vanilla, chewy malts and gentle fruit. The classic Irish whiskey ‘mouthfeel’ is there (just) with a little fruit and spice along the way. A touch of water helped to tame the harsher delivery, and whilst it didn’t reveal any other flavours, it did bring out the vanilla sweetness a bit more. It’s an enjoyable sipping whiskey. I’ve grown up with The Pogues’ music accompanying many a boozy evening and was hoping that they wouldn’t put their name to something terrible… and they haven’t. It didn’t blow my mind or anything like that but it wasn’t unpleasant in any way either, but that’s just personal opinion. The fact that it has some slick branding behind it and the backing of an Irish musical and cultural institution will undoubtedly shift the units and I’d be surprised if there were not further releases or variants of this made in the future, following its initial decent sales and positive reviews. At the price point for a good Irish whiskey, it would certainly make for a good gift too… particularly for when the bells are ringing out…