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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Birthday Booze: Glen Ord 25 year old 1978

I reviewed Glen Ord 30 in 2015, then the 28 year old in 2018, and now the 25 year old...

This Glen Ord Thrillogy was released as part of Diageo's annual once-actually-special Special Releases: the 28yo in 2003, the 25yo in 2004, and the 30 in 2005. It's a darned shame they stopped there. Or rather they didn't. Teenage Glen Ord Special Releases arrived in 2019 and 2022, but were aged in recharred hoggies and wine casks because......?

Enough of dwelling in the recent past! Rather, it's time to indulge in ancient times with one of the last 1978 samples in my whisky closet.

Distillery: Glen Ord
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern Highlands
Range: Special Release
Age: 25 years (1978-2004)
Maturation: ????????????
Outturn: 3600 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.3%
(from a bottle split)


Yep, fruits in the nose! These apricots, kiwis, and mangoes get riper and muskier with time. Mineral/stone notes provide support in the midground, while toffee pudding, almonds, and toasted oak fill the background. Similar to its sparring partner, the 43yo Cadenhead blend, this Glen Ord offers quite the musty dusty palate, focusing on old books and dunnage at the start. Tart guavas and lemons give it a big zing, and there's plenty of earth in the background. It finishes herbal and musty with a touch of lemon and a lllllllllot of length.

It's a bit monolithic at this strength. Time to add water...

DILUTED to 50%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL of full strength whisky

The nose starts off......the same? Ah, but then blood oranges and lemonade powder appear with a hint of dunnage in the background. Much of the palate's mustiness is replaced with gentle wood smoke. The blood oranges show up here too, with some bitterer citrus in the back. The finish grows sweeter and tangier, keeping the good length.


DILUTED to ~43%abv, or >2 tsp of water per 30mL of full strength whisky

A simpler nose now, with butterscotch candies, blood oranges, roses, and dunnage. The palate's elements come together well here, with citrus + nuttiness + dunnage. Toasted nuts and sharp citrus fill the finish, with a little bit of dustiness in the distance.


I did not anticipate diluting this whisky, but I'm so glad I did. It wallops at full strength, shines at 50%abv, and balances at 43%. The grand blood oranges mix with the mustiness perfectly, and it never gets too sweet. The 30yo reigns supreme, and the 28yo is probably more complex, but this one may be the most flexible. And it's just damned good stuff, often seeming even older than its stated age. Like me!

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - I can't look
Rating - 90 (diluted)

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