This well-aged Glen Garioch was selected by The Whisky Shop as an exclusive bottling in 2011. It was drawn from cask #11,000 (described as North American oak – so we’re assuming straight-forward ex-bourbon), which produced 187 bottles at 54.2% ABV.
Nose: To some extent unassuming, yet at the same time, undeniably sophisticated – everything is delicate and restrained. Citrus juices and reduced peach sauce are joined by heathery honey and just the slightest touch of peat smoke – feint and wispy and with hints of forest floor ferns and mosses. The wood influence is undeniable – mahogany and parquet flooring is given additional depth from teak oil and pine needles. There’s a certain vegetal, earthiness here – humus, boiled carrots, damp soils and salty coastal pond water. The addition of water heightens tartness with lime zest, but also sweetens with bees wax and honey.
Taste: Rich, and waxy – almost Clynelish like. A fulsome arrival delivers lemon oils, green apples and a compote of stone and tropical fruits. The development leads to a wave of earthy and heathery peat (much more prominent than the nose suggested) – toasted and charred, almost a touch dusty, but unmistakably in-land and packed with delicate florals and herbs – dandelion, sage and lichen. Reduced, the palate is remarkably different – patisserie flavours of buns, puff pastry and croissants come to the fore, joined by both buttery biscuits and an interesting chalky minerality.
Finish: Long and emphasising peach melba with a pile of smouldering wet leaves.
This 1978 Glen Garioch oozes class. Over three decades of maturation have worked wonders in moulding this whisky in a supremely well-balanced, very naturally focussed glass of carefully controlled pleasure. As one might expect from such a long slumber, peat levels have diminished much more than you’d expect to find in younger examples of Glen Garioch from the 1970s. Here, a background smokiness, rather than a peaty kick in the balls, works a treat. Restrained but not reserved. Softly spoken, but not shy.
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