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Monday, June 7, 2021

Two Glenburgies distilled in June 1995

After last Friday's Glenburgie review, I decided to extract my two other Glenburgie samples from their deep storage for today's writeup. As it turns out, these two were distilled within eight days of each other, come hogsheads, and are only a year apart in age. Each is from a well-trusted bottler, Signatory and Archives, and (due to cask numbering) I have a sneaking suspicion they both matured in Signatory's warehouses. Both samples arrived via bottle splits.

Here they go:

Glenburgie 23 year old 1995 Signatory, hogsheads 6534 + 6536, 415 bottles, 55.2%abv

The nose feels a little tight on this one. Nothing takes the fore. Apricots, barley, lemon and thyme are in the midground. A slight leafiness, some toasted oak and a few white gummy worms are in the background. When reduced to 46%abv, the nose feels even shorter and hotter. It's woody, with small notes of lemon, brine, dried herbs, apricots and wildflowers. Diluting it down to 40%abv, wakes it up! Musty fruit and dunnage notes appear. The wood recedes, while the dried herbs move forward.

The neat palate is hot, but fruity. I'm thinking lemons and limes, mildly sweet but mostly tart. Some ground pepper around the edges. Sugary bourbon cask notes arrive after 30 minutes. It's sweet and simple at 46%abv with plenty of vanilla and oak spice, as well as lemon and black pepper. 40%abv suits it well here, too. There's more tart citrus, less vanilla and mellower sweetness. Easy drinking.

Pepper and lemons and heat in the finish. It's also a bit drying, though some sweetness appears later on. More tannins and vanilla appear at 46%abv, though the lemon remains. It holds a good sweetness at 40%abv, and ginger joins the lemon.

I was about to pass this one off as big "meh", but diluting it aggressively brought out its best sides. One may still rightfully expect more of a 23 year old Speyside, especially from a solid distillery like Glenburgie. Its role in longer-aged Ballatine's blends becomes obvious here.

Availability - May actually still be available in Europe, three years later
Pricing - $125-$150 or so
Rating - 84 (with lots of dilution)

Glenburgie 24 year old 1995 Archives, hogshead 6315, 237 bottles, 55.6%abv

Oh my, what a different thing. The nose is positively packed with fruits: papaya, lemon, grapefruit and dates. There's also plenty of malt, toffee and nutmeg, with a hint of copper in the background. It combines a lovely fermented fruit note with a whiff of mizunara-like spice. The fermented note remains once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv. Oranges and fresh herbs appear, mixing with the other fruits and malt.

Those great fruits show up in the palate, too! Maybe some yuzu, floral white peaches, and ginger powder as well. An excellent overall mix of tart and sweet stuff. It also has a creamy dessert note in the background that feels more like malt than oak. At 46%abv, it has a big fruitier second gear. First it's, "Mmmmm." Then it's, "Wow!" That is all. Okay, also mango.

The nose's mizunara-esque spice note shows up in the looooong finish, as do the grapefruits, yuzus and white peaches. It has that subtle creaminess, and a drop of chili oil to give it extra zing. At 46%abv, it's a bunch of mangoes, lemons, and smiles.

These two whiskies highlight the difference a cask can make. The first one was alright. This one was Alright Alright Alright. With its fruit and richness, this 24yo is like a cousin of earlier Longmorn generations. The thought of diluting it pained me, but it flies high even with water. No wonder it has such a high score at Whiskybase. People aren't just kissing Menno's and CJ's asses (if they're still holding court). If you have a bottle of this Glenburgie, I hope you open, enjoy and share it!

Availability - All gone
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90

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