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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Glen Garioch 1990, Part 3: 25 year old for the Usquebagh Society

Monday, a raw peaty 23yo from Daily Drams.
Tuesday, a full, fruity 25yo from Signatory.
Today, I'm finishing with a 25yo single selected by the Usquebagh Society out of David Stirk's warehouses.

What a lucky bunch of Dutch to get their own single cask of 1990 Glen Garioch. The single malt has gotten scores of 87 or 88 from Whiskynotes, Dramming, Mark Dermul and Malt Fascination. Whiskyfun thought it was cooler than a penguin's arse, giving it a 90!

Oh, the pressure. The pressure!

Distillery: Glen Garioch
Distilled by: Morrison Bowmore
Current Ownership: Beam Suntory
Region: Eastern Highlands
Bottler: Usquebagh Society via Creative Whisky Company

Age: 25 years (March 24, 1990 to May 12, 2015)
Cask #: 7937
Alcohol by Volume: 56.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(purchased sample from Sjoerd!)

Its color was the darkest of the bunch. The nose is shy at first. Needs time to wake up, then gets very fruity: plums and citrons. More stone fruits jump in, with time. There's a layer of non-fruit stuff that balances things out. Ocean, ashy smoke and horse. Meanwhile, the palate is not shy. It's a whole bunch of peppers. Think green peppercorns, jalapeños and serranos. It's fully of rocky minerals and a pile of limes. There's a soft undercurrent of toffee and marzipan sweetness. The finish is more straightforward. Minerals, salt, limes, pepper and heat, with a hint of sweetness.

WITH WATER (~45%abv)
The nose changes considerably. It gets meaty and salty. Brine and cucumbers. A little bit of farmy peat. A slab of vanilla fudge. It all fades out with time in the glass. The palate still has the peppery stuff, but it opens up more. Lemon candy. Overripe melon. Herbal and floral (blossom) notes. Toffee. The finish is similar to the palate. Tangy citrus, melon, pepper, toffee and smoky residue.

The third spot was perfect for this whisky, not just because it had the highest alcohol content of the trio, but because it held aspects of the other two whiskys. My notes lean much much closer to those of the four folks who gave it the 87-88 ratings, and far from the findings of the chap who gave it a 90.

The peat and sharp spirity notes are at a better level here than in Monday's 23yo. Meanwhile, the salt and pepper mix well with the fruit notes. The oak never gets in the way. As is often the case (for me), adding water doesn't make it all better or all worse. Dilution does help out the palate and finish, but it also cuts the nose short. The nose is curious overall, taking a long time to wake up at full strength, then fading out quickly when diluted.

Though I like the Signatory about a half step more, Kristen liked this one the best. The whisky is indeed a fun one, displaying many angles of Glen Garioch character. It was a good choice by the Usquebagh Society and they priced it pretty well, too, during the short time it was available.

Also, I really need to review more Glen Gariochs.

Availability - sold out, haven't seen it on the secondary market yet
Pricing - it was around €100
Rating - 87

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