Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tasting: Maltbarn. Glen Garioch 21 yrs.

Maltbarn. NO. 38
Glen Garioch – 21 yrs

Single Malt Scotch Whisky – From a single cask
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Glen Garioch
Bottler: Maltbarn
Region: Highland
Age: 21 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 52,5%
Distilled: 1993
Dk price: $135USD/950Dkk.  
Release: Limited 142 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon

Points: 79/100

Glen Garioch is one of the few remaining distilleries left from the 18 century. Built in 1797 by Thomas Simpson, and located in Aberdeenshire in the Scotch whisky region Highland.

During its long life, Glen Garioch have had more than a handful of owners, and have been closed quite a few times, last in 1963. Shortly after Stanley P. Morrison Ltd. went in and bought Glen Garioch, they spend the next couple of years updating and rebuilding the old place. The stills was extended from two to three, a visitor center was build, and floor malting was now being used in the process, to produce Glen Garioch new peated malt whisky. In 1982 Glen Garioch was the first distillery in Scotland to convert its
stills to gas firing.

Is wasn’t until Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. bought the distillery, that Glen Garioch started releasing a officially bottling, before that time, the malt whisky had only been used in blends such as Bell’s, VAT 69 and Grant's..

Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. was purchased by Japanese Suntory in 1984 who completely change the face of Glen Garioch, by discontinue their entire portfolio, and replace it with a 12 years old standard expression, the NAS expression 1797 Founders Reserve, and two vintages a 1978 and a 1990.

I was told that Glen Garioch stopped using its own floor malting in 1994. Unlike the (relatively mildly peated) whiskies that were produced until that point, the whiskies that were distilled in later years has been unpeated, so let’s see if we can detect some peat in this one, shall we?  

Very fruity sweet with plums, cherries and hints of pears, honey and dark chocolate 

The palate quickly turns into the finish, only leaving room for a splash of lime.

Medium long finish dominated by green tea. 

Overall impression:
It never ceases to amazes me, how treacherous the nose on a whisky can be, whispering false expectations in your ear of great things to come, and when you finally take that first sip, it all just seems a bit plain. Don’t get me wrong, Maltbarn’s Glen Garioch is a very straight forward enjoyable whisky, but I really like the actual taste to play the leading character, not the nose. 

Just like the good old Monty Python chaps use to say “Now for something completely different” At first I wasn’t too keen on Maltbarn’s label design, but the more I look at their label catalog on their website, the more I love them. I really wish they would sell them as reprint, they would look mighty fine in my whisky bunker!

Review By: Hasse Berg

Photo by: (All rights reserved)

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.