Glenesk 5, 40% – Wm. Sanderson & Son

Another very old bottling, with this 5 year old Glenesk. The distillery closed in 1985, so the bottling itself is at least 32 years old by now. My first experience with this distillery was at a festival in Vlissingen, when there were still Rare Malts to be had at the Diageo stand. A 25 year old Hillside (another brand name used by Glenesk Distillery), sitting next to a 30 year old Brora, for about € 5 per tasting glass. How things have changed…

Image from Whiskybase

But, before we get stuck into ranting about whisky prices, let’s just do a whisky review instead. This one, even now, isn’t even that ridiculously expensive, coming in at € 200 for a bottle in the secondary market. Of course, it’s not the greatest of drams to ever come out of the Highlands, but with something this old and this rare, I’m quite surprised.

Sniff:
There’s a note of barley and buttery sand biscuit, accompanied by scents of chalk and star fruit. Young, but 1980s style young, so a bit more out of the ordinairy.

Sip:
Surprisingly syrupy and surprisingly peppery. White pepper and simple syrup. Almost no oak, but there is a barley note. Less fruity than on the nose, but it retains the chalky touch. An ever so slight metallic note too.

Swallow:
The finish is very much the same as the palate, but a bit less sweet and it shows some OBE.

With the light and barley driven character it is very ‘blended whisky’ like, but an older style of blends. A very typical thing of the 1980s, especially at this young age. I’ve had whiskies from several other distilleries from the same time that showcase the same flavor profile. I guess the drive for lighter spirits in the 1970s is really showing up here.

All in all, especially after such a long time with some OBE added to the mix, this is a pretty fine dram. Not spectacular, but really interesting and a window to the past, at least a little bit.

85/100

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About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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