Following a sampling of Glen Garioch whiskies with a decade of maturation between them (1978-1989), Milroy’s of Soho (which is always worth a visit) selected the oldest single cask from their cask tasting session to bottled as a store exclusive back in 2012. The chosen cask (#10999) produced only 146 bottles at 58.8% ABV and was sold at the time for £300.
Nose: Pronounced, estery and polished. A particularly fruity and expressive opening of lime-drizzled pineapples and bananas is mingled with wood polish, lacquer and fence paint. Honeyed sweetness (slightly floral with pollen and ‘green’ notes) interplays with dusty earthiness, moss, mint and eucalyptus oil. Smoke gently pervades much of the nose – it’s mineral - bituminous and slightly sooty. Resting proves worthwhile – it amalgamates and concentrates the aromas, adding additional fruit esters of mandarin and peach, as well as some fascinating vegetal aromas – roasted root vegetable stock. The addition of water emphasises both the underlying minerality, as well as stem ginger. Sweetness is also heightened (and interesting offset) in the form of puff pastries, and vanilla iced buns.
Taste: A waxy arrival packed full of animated tropical fruits, stone fruits and tart citrus – pineapple, apricot, peach, grapefruit and sour lime. Peat smoke is much more defined on the palate – mineral, aromatic and ashy – somewhere between the embers of a forest fire and a damp, rocky coal mine. Earthiness translates from the nose with both moss and eucalyptus. These flavours combine with the smoke in the back palate in a cool mentholated rub – just a tinge of medicinalness, but plenty of mint and pine needles. Reduced, this offers a slightly different outlook – tinned fruits in syrup and dried smoke with a sense of chalkiness.
Finish: Long, with herbal honey and slowly fading ashy peat smoke.
Milroy’s 1978 Glen Garioch offers a well-balanced and distinguished taste of the past peatiness that this distillery was synonymous for. This is very much a highland style of peat (If you’ve tried well aged-examples from Ardmore, you’ll not be a million miles away), packed full of interesting forest and herbal nuances. Its presence here, juxtapositioned against a particularly fruity distillate is both a joy, and a complex experience to unravel. Both resting and dilution have a discernible effect, and therefore experimentation is a rewarding experience. Immediately appealing, but still with plenty to decipher.
With thanks to Billy Abbot (@cowfish) for the sample
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