Posts Tagged With: whisky

Tasting Notes: Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

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Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

Glengoyne whiskies pride themselves on their unique whisky making process, boasting to be the slowest distillation process in Scotland. It seems fitting then that my first dalliance with a Glengoyne whisky is with something that has also been maturing and milling around for a long time too: at least 18 years anyway. The distillery markets this whisky as offering a “perfect balance” and noting that it contains a “generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks”, the remainder presumably being aged in American standard ex-bourbon barrels. The distillation, maturation and bottling is all performed on-site within the distillery grounds in Dumgoyne, making this a Highland single malt scotch whisky, and one that is presented at 43% ABV.

 

Nose

Woah. There are a lot of flavours fighting for attention here. There’s a marzipan type tang and sweetness up front with an apple and raisin fruitiness and an almond-like nuttiness. With a little bit of time there’s a thicker molasses-type sweetness underneath too with a nutmeg spice amongst that icing sugar-style sugary-ness on top. Is this a whisky tasting note or a cake recipe?

 

Taste

All those initial flavours on the nose just seem to intensify when this finally gets into your mouth and do their metaphorical dance on the tongue. The traditional wedding cake ingredients listed above are all supported by a strong sherry influence which soon dominates over the previous sensations and lingers for a while before actually leaving a strong orange marmalade flavour behind.

 

Finish

Well, the cake references have now all gone when it comes to the finish, but that sweet and fruity marmalade flavour lasts and even has a buttery finish to it (presumably having been spread on some toast in this food-heavy review). In fact, long after the whisky and alcohol vapours have gone, the lasting note and aftertaste is that of oranges. That’s some fine sherry work throughout, and I’m not sure how we got there, but it works.

 

Verdict

For a single malt scotch whisky, this whisky review sure reads like a list of cake ingredients! But, I can confirm, that it is still very much a malt whisky at the heart of this endeavour, and one with a great sherry influence. That said, the whisky still remains a light and enjoyable dram, despite all these strong, darker, richer flavours being listed. I tasted this whisky via the Dram Team subscription, and these troops do source a great range of drams, and I think that I’m syncing up with their taste buds as I continue with the subscription, because only after enjoying and writing about the whisky have I since read their notes and they are virtually the same (even on the marmalade note). I’m always put on edge and sceptical about when a distillery describes their whiskies as the perfect anything, but Glengoyne are not wrong when they say that this whisky has a great balance to it.  On that basis, this dram has left me keen to explore what else Glengoyne have to offer, and I would heartily recommend this 18yo as a great choice for anyone to enjoy whether as a newcomer or connoisseur – and one that tends to stay at the less expensive end of the price spectrum for 18 year old scotch whiskies available (though expensive nonetheless).

M

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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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Tasting Notes: The English Whisky Co – The English (Original)

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The Englishman holding the English Whisky at the English Distillery

Since 2006, the Norfolk-based distillery has been making whisky and operating under the name of St. George’s Distillery, run by the English Whisky Company (EWC) – the “cheeky bastards!” as actor David Hayman once put it. Following some recent transatlantic grumblings however, the St. George brand has been put to bed here in Blighty and the EWC has now re-branded itself as the English Whisky Company outright, and with it released two new mini-ranges: “The English” and “The Norfolk” – which will run along side the ongoing chapter naming convention. For the purpose of this exercise, we are examining the “Original” release of The English (as opposed to the Smokey release), which is a no-age-statement single malt release, bottled at 43% ABV.

 

Nose

After the initial boozy blast there is lingering sweetness here and all of the whisky’s constituent parts seem to reveal themselves: barley sugars, malt, and vanilla. The scents then melt into a toffee-rich sweetness with a feint smell of lemon/grapefruit tartness afterwards.

 

Taste

More of the same is delivered with a vanilla-centric flavour this time. That said, it’s still pretty malty and has an overall fudgy flavour (maybe it’s had a stir with the caramel stick?) and has a slightly astringent sharpness again at the end.

 

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The English

 

Finish

Vanilla sweetness dominates again, but now there’s a little bit of a spice element at play, that I hadn’t picked up on the nose or when in the mouth. It’s a pretty short finish though with the alcohol appearing and disappearing pretty quickly.

 

Verdict

Overall, this is a pretty easy-drinking whisky. All the key components are there for this to be an enjoyable “whisky drink” but, when compared to many other single malt whiskies, it seems more like a box-checking exercise for a non-peated whisky. To be fair, that’s probably what EWC are aiming for too. It has got a good malt character, but falls short of being interesting for any particular reason. It’s not unpleasant by any means, although a few more years in the barrel could probably remove that more astringent sharpness. A little bit of water actually kills it dead, and leaves more of a piney/chemically aftertaste. It is probably more of a whisky for the uninitiated or someone who is after a quick and easy malt without wanting to make lists of tasting notes (which is what some of us want, you know, from time to time!). Of course, it’s true novelty is that it is English and, by that nature, will therefore ensure that it shifts the units and so, in conclusion: Original it is not. Easy drinking it is.

M

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Original or Smoky?

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