So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Glen Moray 12yo, 40%

The previous Glen Moray was a little strange, and strangely so, as a SMWS bottle often means a good one. How about an official then? What? And why? Do official bottlings show distillery character better? There is a presumption that officials, being issued by the owners of the distillery, would show what the distillery thought best represented its house style, and that does make sense as they do have ownership of all these casks of their whisky, as opposed to independents who generally get a cask or two here or there (unless you’re G&M).

But is that always the case? Depending on the expression I think there can be a lot less honesty in an official bottling versus an independent. Say for example, and no pointing fingers here, a distillery is known for it’s sherried house style. One day it revamps it’s range and its core range is now half sherried and half bourbon matured. Tongues are set wagging and drinkers everywhere unite in a symphony of disapproval. Does the owner have the right to rewrite the house style? In this case I would actually agree – though it does disrespect the long association the brand has built with sherry casks and therefore I would only recommend a fully sherry matured expression of that distillery.

Elsewhere another distillery decides the future is to be won or lost and goes all out. It fills its new make into every kind of barrel it can get while crossing its fingers. A short number of years later a blender stands at a table surrounded by a multitude of samples of various hues, and his sole job is to find a particular combination that will make some people pay a lot of money for an unrepeatable expression, while the next batch of barrels await the next blender one year down the road. I am not sure there is anything left of the distillery in its whisky.

But then consider a distillery whose spirit is only filled into bourbon barrels, G&M comes along with its own sherry butts and fills new make directly into them. 21 years later they are sold with no fanfare nor cries of condemnation. Seems contradictory, but in my mind explained by the perception of premium attached to sherry matured whisky – great if you add to it, plague be upon you if you subtract from it. It also helps that being indepedent, we don’t ‘expect’ anything of them, and yet it is their business to keep selecting the best casks with the best traits, and therefore the best examples of any one distillery can be found in their catalogues.

So many contradictions, and fittingly so, for whisky is only a microcosm of human nature. And we haven’t even begun to decide if it’s drinkable or not.

Glen Moray 12

(from masterofmalt.com)


Nose  Nose: Young lean speysider. Cut grass, hot ground sand, a drop each of menthol and tabasco. The bourbony wood is obvious but also plenty of feinty and estery notes: yoghurt and boiled oats, typical unripe green pears. Smells young despite its 12 years but not underaged. Did they have 1 first fill bourbon for every 3 third refills?

Taste  Palate: Spicy hot, with a cooked maltiness matched by bitter grassiness. Not great signs. Raw pine wood and smaller feinty notes. All the signs of exuberant youth untamed by wood, whether first or fourth fill.

Finish Finish: Short, raw and varnishy. Hmm..





Blenders should definitely consider palate and mouthfeel, because most of us actually aim to drink this stuff. Case in point why ‘close to the spirit’ is not always a good thing.

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2015 by in Glen Moray and tagged .
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