Speyside region – 60.7%ABV – £60 (distillery only)
Many people in the states have not heard of Glen Moray or if they have, they only know of their 12yo whisky (a solid, solid whisky if you ask me).
Most people in the UK think of Glen Moray as the supermarket single malt. A bargain malt, if you will.
My initial experience with Glen Moray was quite different…
It started with a chance purchase of a single cask expression. While at the time I had not known much about the distillery, I was attracted to this single cask of Glen Moray as the whisky had spent its full 13 years of life in a new charred oak cask. Sort of like a Scottish bourbon, I thought.
Yes, obviously, nothing like a bourbon being that the distillate is 100% malted barley but perhaps a bit like an American whiskey in that the maturation took place inside a new charred oak cask (a very un-Scotch whisky thing to do, mind you). The cask choice intrigued me so I had to buy a bottle.
In four words: I fell in love.
After this my friend David B treated me to their standard 12yo and even at lower 40% ABV — I am usually an anti-40% ABV elitist-whisky-geek prick but often find myself enjoying the strength. A difficult position to be in… perhaps I’m a mystery broken into a jigsaw puzzle, wrapped in a conundrum, hidden in a Chinese box, a riddle — I found it to be robust, well balanced and had an amazing mouthfeel. Thanks again David, I am a convert.
Since then I have had my good share of Glen Moray whiskies.
During my last trip to Scotland I had the good chance to visit their amazing distillery which had, perhaps, one of the most beautiful distillery welcome centers (Iain, you’ve done a bang up job!) I had ever seen.
While at their distillery shop I had the chance to taste the following whisky: Glen Moray Chenin Blanc Distillery Only Single Cask bottled at 60.7% ABV.
At only 260 bottles and being a distillery only bottle… this stuff is like hens teeth!
On the nose — Earthy, pungent & sweet. This is big and bold – a powerful smelling 8yo whisky.
Fresh cut (green) tubers come to mind as I sniff this whisky as do white cherries but, and perhaps more so, white raisins make quite an impression.
(I’m fairly positive that the preceding sentence was grammatically incorrect in some way. Please forgive me.)
Golden birch, cinnamon sweetened fruit biscuits and the distinct smell of a burning cotton t-shirt.
On the mouth — Well, if I thought the nose was big and bold, it’s a veritable pussy cat compared to the attack of this whisky upon first sip. Massive stuff!
It let’s you know that it’s 60.7% ABV. It’s not hot, just *incredibly* forceful.
More (dark) birch beer, quite spicy and drying with touches of over cinnamoned french toast, maple sugar candies and honey reduction.
It’s almost like drinking hi-octane Chenin Blanc except that the malt content is quite obvious (yet so is the cask effect).
Finish — Very sweet and filled with boozy peaches. Long too. Let’s not forget that bit!
In sum — Sweet and puckering stuff. You might want to put on your big boy/girl boots before delving in! A little bit goes a long way. You’re going to want to spend time with this one.
Whether you choose to add water or not is up to you. I decided not to but a little bit might help (as you’ll learn from the review over at guidscotchdrink.com and another great review from Matt and Karen at Whisky For Everyone.)
Special thanks goes out to IA for the sample – cheers!