Old Glen Moray from the SMWS has proven itself over a number of occasions in the past. They’ve done a range of the stuff in the last couple of years and the first one I had was AT the SMWS in Queen Street, Edinburgh. After a terrific dinner, a 1970-something dram of great, great whisky, at a whisky bar tastes good no matter what, but I also had the clarity of mind to know they were on to something.
Since then I think I’ve tried another 3 or 4 releases from this bottler (this is one), but of late it became a bit more quiet again. Not in the least because of the cancellation of my membership.
So when a couple of guys on Twitter created a bottle-share group and sent info on a couple of great, old drams to be released from SMWS I happily joined that share. The other one in the set was the epic 27 year old Mortlach I reviewed a while ago.
Anyway, time for the second bottle. Glen Moray is, from where I stand, a highly underappreciated distillery in the Speyside. The people there are nice and they generally make some nice whisky, which shines best when it’s bottled by independent bottlers. Their own releases are recently ‘plagued’ by wine finishes, but they barely ever get the spotlight with anything they release for some reason.
It’s rather closed and compact at first, and sharper then I expected. Not too strange with such an ABV, but I didn’t know that when I tried it. So, some alcohol and spices and even some minerals. Rather Clynelish like, but with something in there that I don’t like. After a while I recognize this as paint. Also some hard candy and vanilla.
The palate is sharp too with loads of white pepper and alcohol. Dry oak with vanilla and sweet bread. The brioche kind of stuff. Sweet, but sharp. Very, very sharp.
The finish continues down the same path. It does mellow a little bit, but in general I think this dram has a bit too much alcohol in it, and it’s not tamed over the 30 years it spent in oak.
In the end I didn’t use water, but I think I should have. I never use water so in this case I did the same from a consistency viewpoint. I don’t like adding more variables to a tasting note to make it more consistent with the previous ones. In this case I might have added an addendum to get to the next batch of flavours probably lurking beneath the surface.
In this case, the whisky didn’t really do it for me. As in, I don’t think it’s bad, but from a 29 year old whisky I expect a little more in terms of layeredness, subtlety and also a bit more gentleness.
From the two in this wee batch of samples, I liked the Mortlach way more. Luckily, the guy who eventually sent me the samples (Was that you, Ben C?) also added another sample of an SMWS bottling, this one. A review of that will follow.
Glen Moray 29yo, 1983, The Great Easter Bake Off, 35-103, 58.8%. Available at the SMWS for £ 124.60