The final bottle from this year’s Virtual Whisky Show hails from Girvan grain distillery. ‘An Ever-Changing World of Artificial Intelligence’ shows what’s happened once Skynet has come online. What was originally done by hand, then assisted by machines has now become fully computerised. All hail our robot overlords. There’s no people here – just high-tech looking machinery - and androids. As posters go, it’s modern, striking and attractive. As far as predictions of the future go – it’s somewhat more depressing.
The bottling has been matured in barrel #167858 (presuming an ex-bourbon hogshead from the information provided) for 30 years before being bottled at 51.8% ABV. It’s the cheapest of this year’s show bottlings, clocking in at £135 – substantially cheaper than the official ‘Patent Still’ 30-year-old released by Grants back in 2013.
Nose: Immediate resinous glue – balsa constructions and Airfix kits. Varnish is in the mix also and sits with toffee, soft caramel and roasted cereals. Vanilla pudding and crème patisserie sit with caramel popcorn, whilst monkey nuts are enriched with a spoon laden with golden syrup. Diluted there’s added complexity with eggy bread and cinnamon toast alongside lemon bitters.
Taste: A big and characterful arrival of burnt sugars, high % cocoa solid chocolate and old resinous oakiness. Toffee and honeycomb follow together with charred barrel staves and desiccated coconut. The development offers eucalyptus oils and sugary vanilla pods together with moist earthiness. Water adds roasted chestnuts and paint thinners alongside damp vegetation and caramel syrup.
Finish: Medium to long with dry oakiness, spry pepper and roasted anise spicing.
A straight-forward but highly effective Girvan packed full of likable aromas and flavours which have all been teased out and perfectly balanced by a solid 30 year maturation. Responds well to the addition of water and to my mind represents an ideal grain whisky to introduce people to the category with.