Distilled 1994, bottled 2011 - batch 32
When I left my last job back in July, my co-workers kindly gave me gift vouchers for Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries. I could have bought a few shirts from Gap, a jacket from John Lewis, or a year's worth of vitamin tablets from Boots. But, with The Whisky Shop in the mall, there was really only ever going to be one winner. So, with vouchers folded safely in my wallet, off I went and brought home two bottles. This Glen Garioch is the first.
I've always really enjoyed Glen Garioch's products - the 12-year-old, Founder's Reserve and the Virgin Oak have all been excellent. So when I saw this bottle from the 94 range, I dived in immediately. 17 years old, bottled at cask strength, non-chill filtered and - although it doesn't state in on the label - there is no added colouring. Its golden straw-like colour is a world away from the Founder's Reserve, which looks more like Irn-Bru - although it tastes much better than Barr's soft drink.
First impressions were that it was quite tight and astringent - but it really starts to reveal its character once a few drams have been poured and oxygen begins to circulate in the bottle.
With 3/4 of the bottle gone, time to get the notes up to date.
It's an incredibly perfumed single malt, with flowers and pears coming to the fore straight away. Dig down and leave it to settle for 15 minutes, and a lovely warm citrus note comes through, along with honey, hard-boiled sherbet lemons, caramelised apples, spearmint, sharp gooseberries and a hint of cranberry.
Take a sip, and there's a jam note which hits immediately. It gives way to liquorice, lemons, white pepper and vanilla. However, it doesn't take long for the oak to really kick in and I found it a little too dominating. The finish is packed with more citrus notes, warming vanilla, a little sour wood and a slight, sappy green note.
While I'm glad I bought this, I still prefer the 12-year-old. Once I noticed the dry oakiness, I couldn't get past it and it took the shine off the experience.
For the price, you could but a bottle of the 12 AND bottle of the Founder's Reserve. Job done.