Whisky Sponge Glen Garioch 21yo & Whisky Sponge Bladnoch 33yo


We're ending the week with a few well-aged releases from WhiskySponge.

Whisky Sponge Glen Garioch 21yo

Region: Highlands

ABV: 55.0%

Price: £195.00

This release was distilled in 2003 and matured in a first-fill bourbon hogsheads until 2024. A total of 250 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with a perfumed fabric-softener like aroma, floral with some fresh linen. It moves quickly into an abundance of fruit, we're finding apricot, tangerine and lemon balm in the background. Going back and we're getting some butterscotch and crystalised honey coming through, along with slightly stale sponge cake and a cotton candy sweetness too. There's a touch of wood spice here but it's generally well balanced with the other aromas.

Palate

The palate begins with a reasonably thick and viscous mouthfeel, reminiscent of the honey notes we got on the nose. The fruit we experienced before has turned more tropical in nature, we're now finding papaya, pineapple and passionfruit, along with a strong artificial mango flavour that carries through to the good length finish. There's a bit of a spice coming through for us, pink peppercorns and chili chocolate. Time and air brings out richer flavours of charred oak and burnt toffee.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has a creamier, vanilla bean-forward quality. It's opened up even more, and some of the wood spice we got before has mellowed. We're still finding those apricots and oranges behind the vanilla. This is a nose we could sit with for hours.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate loses a touch of the luscious mouthfeel, but there's still texture here. We're getting more citrus forward flavours, orange primarily, mixing with vanilla sponge sweetness and light oak spice. A lot of the pepperiness we experienced before has mellowed and it's become very drinkable.

Conclusion

There's quite a lot going on here, layers of floral, tropical, rich and sweet flavours and aromas all intermixing to create something quite tasty. There's a bit of spice coming through in places which can feel somewhat overpowering, but it isn't too much of an issue overall. We're big fans of Glen Garioch and it's great to experience these well aged single casks in their natural state.

Score: 8/10

Value

Sponge releases are typically on the pricier side, which is to be expected from smaller indie bottlers. However, this release follows the usual trend of being worth your cash.


Whisky Sponge Bladnoch 33yo

Region: Lowlands

ABV: 55.4%

Price: £??

This release was distilled in 1990 and matured in a refill bourbon barrel until 2023. A total of 50 bottles were released.

Nose

 On the nose, we're met with a distinct old furniture smell, wooden bookcases, slightly worn leather, alongside a caster sugar sweetness. At 55% ABV. you'd never know as the alcohol has such a mellow and balanced sensation on the whisky. We're also finding candied red apples, fudge, brioche rolls and butterscotch. Behind the sweetness sits a mellow earthiness, a forest after the rain, and a hint of eucalyptus.

Palate

The palate opens with lemon peel, warm pineapple and custard, lightly bruised mint leaves mixed with a squeeze of lime, bringing a mojito vibe to the whisky. The alcohol is a bit more apparent now, bringing a zesty spice to the mouth. The finish has a nice lingering vanilla sweetness. We're also getting some of the malty spirit in the form of 50/50 Hovis bread, toasted and buttered (with a light sprinkling of sugar for good measure).

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose is a fair bit fruitier than pre-dilution, apples and pears predominantly, alongside background citrus like orange and lemon. There's also some fudge doughnuts, bananas foster and a little bit of candle wax too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate continues on with the fresh citrus to begin, moving into warmer brandy and orange marmalade flavours as the palate develops. It's lost a touch of the mouthfeel, and the finish has a touch more oak lingering, however the alcohol has really balanced out for us.

Conclusion

This is one of those whiskies that has such an exceptional nose, one we would sit with for hours, identifying new aromas every once in a while. The palate follows the nose, but perhaps a little simpler, with a bit more of a bite. Saying that, it's still delicious and probably one of the best Bladnoch's that we've had the pleasure of tasting. An easy 8/10, close to an 8.5.

Score: 8/10

Value

We don't have the exact price for this, but if we recall correctly, it was around £500. While that is expensive, it's cheaper than many comparable offerings from other bottlers.

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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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