Today we head to the highlands to review a pair of Glen Gariochs.
Single Cask Nation Glen Garioch 9 Year Old
Single cask nation started as a US based independent bottler, but in 2020 they started releasing bottles outside the US. This particular release was matured in a first-fill ex-bourbon hogshead for nine years, before being bottled in July 2021.
We’re getting bubblegum, some candied ginger, a little orange juice, maybe a little banana too. It’s light and floral on the nose, there’s a little wood in the background and maybe a little warehouse mustiness as well. Going back after some air, we’re getting a real breadiness too, like a slightly stale buttery croissant. The alcohol seems to be well integrated, it’s not overpowering but overall the nose is quite light.
Quite acidic at first, lots and lots of freshly squeezed orange juice, followed by some young spirit notes. There’s a fair bit of wood showing, slightly bitter oak and Madagascan vanilla syrup. We’re disappointed with the mouthfeel, this feels incredibly thin on the palate, there’s no viscosity or thickness that we’re really looking for. We’re noticing a little smoke in the background, maybe vegetal highland peat, not particularly meaty at all. The finish is medium length, but again the lack of any of the body means you’re left with just whisps of flavour until it disappears.
Nose (with water)
We’re getting a lot more wood now, almost resinous. It’s more like wood shavings rather than the sort of wet oak you’d expect. Alongside that we’re getting some gooseberries, orange peel and some vanilla essence. There’s also some demerara sugar in the background and a little lightly roasted coffee. The alcohol is still quite faint, only really coming alive after a swirl in the glass.
Palate (with water)
We’re finding a lot of chocolate here, along with a dry nuttiness.. maybe toasted almonds? There’s a sweetness, but it’s all the way at the back, you get overwhelmed with dark chocolate and coffee flavours beforehand. Interestingly the mouthfeel has slightly improved, maybe it’s something to do with the newfound richness that’s appeared. It’s still woody, there’s still vanilla here, and the finish is still medium length.
This isn’t what we expected at all. Based off the other Glen Gariochs we’ve had recently, this particular cask is a lot woodier and more acidic, without the sweet, tropical flavours and aromas that we were expecting.. that’s the magic of the single cask. We enjoyed the nose, but the palate let us down here. The lack of body made it all feel flat, even though there were some richer, nuttier flavours coming through. Saying that, it’s the alcohol is well balanced, it improves with water and is a reasonable price.
Whiskybroker Glen Garioch 10 Year Old Cask #2689
This release has spent 10 years maturing in a bourbon barrel.
Foam bananas, candy necklaces, a hint of slightly underripe green mango and maybe a little papaya too. There’s a creaminess, maybe more like yeastiness? It’s like French pastries drizzled in a sugar glaze. Behind this there’s a nice oaky backbone - not too much but just enough vanilla and pepper to give it some depth. Getting your nose right in there reveals the alcohol, with white pepper and zingy lime. It’s maybe a little rough around the edges, likely due to the age, but still very pleasant.
Unexpectedly viscous in the mouth, giving us lots of vanilla sweetness alongside pineapple, mango, bananas and a little toffee too. It’s taken us by surprise, we’d have thought this was a fair bit older than 10 years old. Behind the fruit and vanilla we’re getting a little hazelnut, light milk chocolate notes and some lightly toasted oak flavours. The alcohol is a little harsh and feels higher than the 52% it is, maybe closer to 58%/59%, and sticks with you through the finish which is has an ok length. Going back we’re getting a little earthiness too, as well as some nutmeg.
Nose (with water)
Water has brought out candy floss, sherbet and a really nice light sweet fruitiness that you could nose for days. We’re now getting some strawberries and whipped cream with a little lemon zest. The alcohol has really faded here, leaving a very smooth, approachable nose. Saying that, it is slightly simple, not overly complex.
Palate (with water)
Lots of custard, shortbread, and even more vanilla.. a touch of coconut too. The bourbon cask is really showing well here. We’re getting some banana ice cream, a little cocoa powder and some bitter oak that’s just come through. The bitterness of the oak is quite prominent, but the alcohol has integrated itself nicely after the water was added and the finish is now a little smoother, and maybe even slightly longer.
We’re really enjoying the flood of independently bottled Glen Garioch’s that have been hitting the market recently, and this bottle is no exception. It’s got heaps of fruit, sweet vanilla and a little oak to balance it out. The alcohol is a little bit rough without water, and the oak is a little bit rougher with water, but these are small gripes with what is otherwise an excellent dram. Oh, and it’s incredible value for money. We’d recommend you pick this up without hesitation, and at the time of writing there are still bottles available.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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