Bottle Name: Glen Moray Elgin Classic Port Cask Finish
ABV: 40% Distillery: Glen Moray Region: Speyside
There’s been a lot of chatter online this week about rising prices. It is unfortunately the world we live in – demand soars, supplies dwindle, prices go up. But, at the same time, some producers are freely using the situation exploitatively, with percentage rises that would make your annual utility bill increase look positively reasonable. Rumours abound that several much loved (and commonly available) expressions are soon to see hefty (50%+) price increases serves as depressing realism that as much as us enthusiasts love the whisky world, it is, at the end of the day, still just a business. I do hope that some balance can be restored soon so that future generations of malt lovers can discover a market where a decent bottle of whisky doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Perhaps this is all rather too gloomy, especially so for a Friday. So let’s spend our time today with a distillery that in many ways bucks this trend – Glen Moray.
There are five expressions in Moray’s Elgin Classic range – The Classic Single Malt, Classic Peated (both of which The Dramble have already taken a look at), Classic Sherry Cask Finish, Classic Chardonnay Cask Finish and Classic Port Cask Finish. The Port Cask Finish, like the other bottlings in the Classic range is a non-age-statement whisky. It was introduced to the range in 2014 and has spent around 8 months finishing in tawny port casks before being bottled at 40% ABV. You can pick this up from Master of Malt for £26.95 with free delivery included as of writing, though you may well also see it in your local supermarket even cheaper from time to time.
Nose: Packed full of berry fruitiness. Opening with toffee and vanilla, this quickly delivers an array of fresh berries – raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. Fruitiness continues with over-ripe bananas and some delicate Comice pears. There’s a hint of youthful aroma here, but its wrapped up within some overt port notes (especially from the big berry flavours) which imply that the casks used for finishing were fairly fresh/active. High fruitiness is joined by high sugar levels, the two combining to create a rather candyfloss like experience.
Taste: Initially fairly silky and with a good arrival for 40% ABV. Red fruits present again, berries and now some redcurrants – these are joined by just a touch of citrus which keeps the palate quite fresh. Deeper, there is maltiness, milk chocolate and coffee grounds. Spiciness from cinnamon and pepper can be felt in the back palate – it comes in almost a wave after the initially fruitiness, and is joined by some big tannins.
Finish: Short to medium, still with fruits (more reduced now), coffee beans and some bitterness from both wood and spice.
Glen Moray Elgin Classic Port Cask Finish is a simple and unfussy whisky, but it’s also a tasty one which offers superb value for money. The port influence is not just a moniker on the label, it can really be felt, and for the most part works well, introducing a host of berry fruitiness. I found the high level of tannins and cask/spice bitterness a little jarring in the back palate and finish, when compared to the soft and vibrant fruits of the nose and arrival, but then one has to remember that this is largely an entry-level expression and it should be judged as such. There’s a lot to admire here, and least of all, the price is right.