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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Single Malt Report: Glen Ord 12 year old 1998 AD Rattray

Yesterday, I reviewed my bottle of 12 year old 1998 Glen Ord from James Macarthur.  Today, I'll report on a 12 year old 1998 Glen Ord from AD Rattray, from a sample provided by Florin (a prince).  Like many of AD Rattray's often solid products, this Glen Ord was bottled at cask strength.  First I tried it on its own, with and without water.  Then the following night, I tried it alongside yesterday's James Macarthur Ord.  I'll list both days' sets of notes below.

Distillery: Glen Ord
Bottler: A.D. Rattray
Age: 12 years (March 17, 1998 - October 30, 2010)
Maturation: bourbon cask
Cask number24
Bottle count: 271
Region: Highlands (Northern)
Alcohol by Volume: 60.1%
Chillfiltered: No
Colored: No

First, on its own:

Its color is of a sauvignon blanc.  The two largest notes on the nose are butter and lemons.  Buttered burnt toast, pound cake, and buttered rum.  Lemon zest, lemon candy, and lemon Mr. Clean.  In the mid-background there's a whiff of damp cow shed.  Some smaller notes of caramel, chives, and brussels sprouts as well.  Ah ha, another Glen Ord with a barley forward palate.  Creamy in texture and flavor.  Its sweetness is mild at first, then gradually builds with successive sips.  Some ripe peaches and apricots, along with tart lemons.  The butter returns in the finish.  Now the fruits read as limes and dried pineapple.  Some white pepper and vanilla too.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
Grass and mint now appear first in the nose.  A little less butter, the fruits are better integrated.  Maybe a little tropical fruit and salad bar not-really-ripe honeydew slices.  Smaller notes of sugar cookies and lemongrass.  Spicy and fruity (oranges, peaches, and mango) in the palate.  Some sweet caramel and big tartness.  A bit drying on the tongue.  Lots of citrus in the finish.  Mild bitterness and mild sweetness.  A peep of wood smoke, along with hot pepper sauce.

Then, when sampled neatly alongside yesterday's James Macarthur Glen Ord:

The nose is a little different now.  More baked goods, like cream puffs and lemon bars.  Less butter than before, but more confectioner's sugar.  Smaller notes of burnt grains, garlic chives, green onions, orange zest, caramel, and roses.  Big barley again in the palate, this time with yeast in tow.  Tart nectarines, orange zest, oats, and black pepper are also in the foreground.  Lime, vanilla, and brown sugar start to show after some time.  Lime, butter, unsweetened cream, and salt in the finish.  Maybe a little more herbal bitterness than before.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose is full of citrus and flower blossoms.  Lots of apples, sugar, pears, and roasted corn (WTF?).  But it also has a freshness comparable to the JM Ord.  The lightly sweet palate is spicy again.  More barley, but no butter or caramel.  Lemons, limes, and cucumber.  There's a hint of smoke in the finish, again.  Roasted nuts and apple skin.  It's sweet without being cloying.

I knew going into this tasting that Florin, Jordan, and MAO were fans of this one.  But I wasn't fully sold when trying it neatly.  The addition of water really helped it out, opening it up and presenting the spirit's character best.  Comparing it to another Glen Ord also helped bring out other elements and highlighted its crisp barley heart.  (See here for MAO's review.  And here for Jordan's review.  We found many similar notes.)

As recently as a few months ago, this bottling was being sold at an excellent price, especially considering that it's a cask strength single barrel whisky.  If you can still find it for that sub-$70 price, it's a good deal.

Two good to very good Glen Ords so far.  Tomorrow, (spoiler alert) an elder Ord awaits quietly, patiently...

Availability - Happy hunting!
Pricing - I think it was $60-$80
Rating - 85 (with water)