Glen Moray is one of those distilleries that make an amazing spirit, but in their own releases there’s often so much done to it, that it loses its greatness. A quick search on the internet reveals there’s a Cabernet, Sherry, Chardonnay and Port finish. There’s a peated one, one from ‘Old Fired Oak’ a ‘classic’ without an age statement, and a 12 year old.
That’s only counting the official releases under € 30…
Unfortunately, all those releases detract from their regular 12 year old (also mentioned above), which is not a bad whisky at all. Of course, some of those finishes are pretty decent, and some are pretty shit. From my perspective a distillery like Glen Moray should play to their strengths and pick a version or two, and stick with those.
(side note: Laphroaig is one of the other ones also victim to this)
Anyway, I only got Glen Moray on my radar properly when becoming a member of the SMWS about a decade ago. They started releasing some amazing 35 year olds which are all gone now, of course. Luckily, there are some independent bottlers that releases proper, honest versions of this rather honest spirit. At decent ages. At decent ABVs because, let’s face it, Glen Moray needs some strength. It’s spirit is so mellow, that anything under 46% is just too thin.
Also: Don’t get me wrong. I really like Glen Moray. I had an amazing tour and tasting there in 2018, and love their matured bourbon casks. The 25 year old port cask isn’t bad either, but in general, indies are better because their keeping it more straight forward.
Very gentle, with light minty notes, barley and white grapes. Fresh cut grass and sand biscuits.
Dry and quite intense with a bit of heat from the alcohol. Dry barley, some fresh oak, a hint of vanilla and straw. The biscuits are back and more prominent. This time the grainy wholemeal biscuits that no one actually likes.
A very gentle finish, with barley, bread and straw. Some vanilla again, with grass and biscuits.
Quite gentle, but also quite lovely. It’s biggest benefactor is that Cadenhead kept this in a bourbon cask. This kept Glen Moray playing to its strength, and kept it honest. A proper speysider, with a spirit-forward approach that makes for dangerously easy drinking. It’s just a tad too simple for a higher score though.
Glen Moray 1992-2017, 24 years old, 3 x Bourbon Hogsheads, 50.9%, Cadenhead’s Small Batch. Available for € 100 in Germany
A great distillery, a great bottler … what can go wrong? Nothing!