Thompson Bros 1988 Glen Garioch 29yo & Dram Mor Glen Garioch 10yo Cask #1005


We've got two independently bottled releases from Glen Garioch today, a 29 year old from Thompson Bros and a slightly younger 10 year old from Dram Mor.

Thompson Bros 1988 Glen Garioch

Region: Highlands

ABV: 46.2%

Price: £235.00

This single cask Glen Garioch, bottled by Thompson Brothers, was distilled in 1988 and left to mature for 29 years. Only 99 bottles were made available.

Nose

The nose opens with an unexpected salinity, plum, wet forest floor aromas and coriander seed. There’s also some lighter honey notes giving it a delicate sweetness. This seems to change quite a lot as we let it sit in the glass, and with time and air it reveals more of a tropical note, tinned pineapple slices and unripe mango. There’s a very subtle peat note here, you could be forgiven for thinking it was just a musty, toasted woodiness rather than peating of the barley. It’s got a smokey, old gentleman’s club feeling around it.

Palate

The palate begins with a mixture of lemon iced tea, chocolate smarties, caramel, moving into mocha coffee and honeycomb. It’s lovely and sweet, with a bit of black pepper spice and citrus to balance it out. We’d say that it tastes slightly higher than 46%, we’d guess at 50-52%. It has a creamy mouthfeel, vanilla custard, pastry dough, as well as nutty chocolate bars and salted pistachios appear as it develops on your tongue. The finish lingers around for a fair while, but is mostly tingly Szechuan peppercorn spice.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose brings forward more of the bourbon cask influence, vanilla, salted caramel, shortbread biscuits, Caramac bars and honey butter. It still maintains some of that mossy, foresty feel with the lightest touch of smoke in the background. The upfront spice has also mellowed quite a bit.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate brings us lime, dark chocolate, herbal flavours of thyme and a bit of cinnamon to top it all off. The mouthfeel and finish are broadly the same, and similarly to the reduced nose, the peppery spice has been tamed somewhat.

Conclusion

Quite a difference between the nose and palate, it’s musty and foresty on the nose but becomes luscious and sweet on the palate. We find this dram a touch spicy for 29 years in refill wood, but the dram still has some incredible complexity, forever changing as it sits in the glass. We quite enjoyed it and would happily go back for another dram.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

This came out just under a year ago, and was good value for a 29yo.


Dram Mor Glen Garioch 10yo Cask #1005

Region: Highlands

ABV: 57.1%

Price: £83.00

This 10 year old Glen Garioch, bottled by Dram Mor, was finished in an ex-Islay whisky cask. Only 225 bottles were made available. 

Nose

On the nose, we’re finding smoked blackberries, overbrewed breakfast tea, dusty bookshelves, orange essence, and vanilla pannacotta. It’s not overly typical Glen Garioch in our minds, there’s not many of those tropical, esthery notes we typically find in these younger casks. We’re also getting wet forest floor aromas and dirty leather boots. Time and air brings out a fruiter side, mostly pear skin and flat peaches.

Palate

The palate begins with silky sweet honey, white chocolate, then moves into richer flavours of Chinese 5-spiced orange sauce, pink peppercorns, vanilla beans and an earthly, slightly salty smoke that appears on the finish. There’s a savouriness to the dram that we weren’t expecting, we’re getting a roast duck in orange sauce sort of flavour going on. The mouthfeel is good, there’s a nice viscosity here but the medium length finish has a touch too much peppery spice for us, alongside some charred oak.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose brings out honeybuns, cinnamon sticks, lemon pepper seasoning and some barbecued meats. The smoke from the ex-Islay cask is definitely more apparent, but is layered with more sweet aromas than before. We’re also getting some of that orange essence and dirty leather from before.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate shows cardamom, icing sugar, orange boiled sweeties, toasted oak and earthy smoke. There’s that similar Chinese 5-spice orange sauce thing going on again, but some of the spice has mellowed. The mouthfeel is perhaps a little worse than before, but we’d suggest experimenting with a bit of water to see what suits your taste.

Conclusion

Not a typical younger Glen Garioch, the ex-Islay cask has definitely imparted some more coastal, earthier aromas and flavours to the spirit. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, and we’re quite enjoying the dram. It’s a little hot in places, more of a peppery spice which doesn’t detract too much from the aromas or flavours. It’s a good quality spirit in a good quality cask.

Score: 7/10

Value

Maybe a touch on the pricey side for a 10yo.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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