...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Glen Garioch 1999 Sherry Cask Matured, batch 30

Time to drive east across the Highlands to another Glen, that of Garioch, a distillery composing its goodness in the town of Oldmeldrum. I like Glen Garioch's stuff from its peated years as well as its current unpeated period. Thirteen years ago, their retired 15 was one of my regular pours, but I'm now enjoying the contemporary 12 year old even more. This week there'll be three four GGs, sherry to bourbon to sherry to bourbon casks, all from the 1990s, all full powered.

Leading off is a single malt fashioned from a small(?) batch of oloroso sherry casks in the 13-14 year range. I've seen plenty of reviews saying sulfur is at play here, though the whisky has rarely been panned. Sulfur has strata, some of which I don't mind, a few of which I do mind. I just wish I hadn't read those reviews because now that word is out there. Sulfur. Cheers?

Distillery: Glen Garioch
Ownership: Beam Suntory
Region: Eastern Highlands
Age: 13-14 years old (1999-2013)
Maturation: Oloroso sherry casks
Batch: 30
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 56.3%
(from a purchased sample)

Lots of cask action on the nose. Dark chocolate, black currant jam, hazelnuts and (yes) moderate meaty sulfur. It's also slightly smoky, which may be related to the sulfur. Hints of mineral and ocean notes in the background. A curious combo of thyme and charred marshmallows. On the palate, the sulfur registers as just a hint of gunpowder. Berries, chocolate and mild tobacco read much louder. The balances of sweet and tart tilts towards tart with time, then salt and flowers appear. The long sweet finish centers around chocolate and grapefruits.

DILUTED TO ~48%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Brown sugar syrup, toasted oak spice and nuts on the nose. Smoky toffee pudding and a hint of gunpowder. Dried berries and toasted nuts lead off a palate that gets tarter and bitterer with time. It finishes tartly with moments of burnt paper.

Though I have no issues with it being a characterful dirty sherry cask whisky, this Glen Garioch could be from many other Highland or Speyside distilleries, such was the influence of its oak vessels. I'm fine with the sulfur (your mileage may vary); water calms it in the nose but brings out some less pleasant oak stuff in the palate. Despite these gripes, it's a very entertaining single malt. You will certainly want to try it before you buy it.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - was around $90-$110 until it became scarce
Rating - 84 (note: sulfur)