Sticking to the Speyside region and moving to Rothes we’re presenting with a 12 year old from Glen Spey distillery. Not all that commonly bottled outside of its Flora & Fauna release – but we’ve seen a smattering of casks from the Society over the last couple of years.
Nose: Crisp and clean. Fresh cotton sheets, pressed laundry, daisies and sunflowers – sweetened by white gummy bears, sliced apples and homemade lemonade. Bakery notes push through with custard cream biscuits, crumbled digestives and a laden spoon of crème patisserie. In the background, preserved lemons, mint leaf and tingling pepper. Garden-fresh and inviting. Sadly, reduction immediately diminished the definition making everything feel moist and earthy as opposed to bright and distinct.
Taste: An initially soft arrival is misleading – Sunflower oil, peach melba and green apples give way to hostile pepperiness, char (almost into cask ash) and burning ginger root. Once the palate has adjusted to this assault – steeped fruit teas and vanilla cream. Conversely to the nose, dilution here is a godsend, offering a well-balanced combination of orchard fruitiness, spice and char. All of the notes above – all at the same time – only with much less jaggedness.
Finish: Long and surprisingly mineral – wood ash, pepper and dry oakiness.
This Glen Spey is begging to be liked but doesn’t make it easy to do so. The undiluted nose together with the diluted palate are both rather joyful. On the flip side, the diluted nose is washed out and drab and the undiluted palate is far from friendly and amenable. Perhaps you’ll have more joy finding a balancing point? There’s something notable here – so it’s rather the shame that it’s all too tortuous to properly locate.