As I’ve probably mentioned earlier, our club is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. On March 11th 1990 two whisky drinkers from The Netherlands decided it was time to bundle their strengths into a club. The Usquebaugh Society was born.
Now, in it’s 25th year we’re the biggest whisky club in The Netherlands with a slowly rising number of members currently sitting just over 400. The 25th anniversary needed to be celebrated.
Apart from all kinds of events through the year (a heap of small tastings on March 11th, a whisky party in June, a whisky dinner coming up in September) there also had to be a bottling. We do that every year and this year was going to have to be special.
The age was the easiest thing to focus on so we set ourselves a few parameters:
- The whisky had to be an exclusive bottling for us
- The whisky had to be distilled in 1990
- OR the whisky had to be 25 years old (which could also be a 1989 vintage)
- The sample for tasting had to be a bottle
The last one is always proving to be difficult since most tasting samples are much smaller than that and not everyone is willing to make an exception. We ended up with four samples:
A Bladnoch 25 (first place contender), this Glen Garioch 25, a Strathmill (atrocious stuff, this one) and a grain whisky from, I believe North British. The last one turned out to not be an exclusive so that didn’t really have a chance.
The Glen Garioch it was. For the club I’ve sent out some samples and it’s getting great reviews. So far Ruben, Oliver and Mark have written about it and it’s scoring either 87 or 88 points which makes us very happy!
Some alcohol at first but it’s soon replaced by heaps of caramel and a tinge of salt. Quite buttery (Wherther’s Original) with a tiny hint of lactic acid, in a very interesting way. I get apples, lychees and not a lot of oak for a 25 year old. A hint of old leather shoes at the end.
The palate brings sawdust, alcohol and pepper, caramel and butter. Caramac bars. Sweet and salty at the same time. A bit of fruit, banana and peach. A bit more oak here, and tree bark.
The finish steps up the oak again, with soft tree bark. Salted caramel and slightly burned butter. Banana and other sweet fruits.
It’s a funny thing, picking a cask for bottling. I’ve done this with a heap of others for the club a couple of times now (this year we were with 40, last year with 60) and it’s not getting easier. What happened every time so far is that I’ve liked the bottling better after it was bottled than when selecting it. I guess tasting a whisky for review make me a tad less critical than when I have to actually influence the final pick.
So, when it was selected I was slightly enthusiastic, but not more. Then I tried it again in June at our annual whisky party and I like it a whole lot more. I’ve tried it a couple times now and it’s really growing on me. It’s not the most complex dram ever bottled, but it sure as hell is a tasty one!
The score of 87 or 88 seems justified to me!
Add to that that it’s 25 year old single cask Glen Garioch, bottled at cask strength for a hundred bucks, and I’m a happy camper. Glad I got one. I might get one more (this means it’s still available, here)
Glen Garioch 1990-2015, 25yo, 56.7%, cask 7937, Usquebaugh Society. Sitting at € 99
Insider trading: The number of bottles on the label is wrong. There’s 228 instead of 288.