Glen Moray, to me, is pretty much a blank canvas. As in, the spirit is very gentle and sweet and gives a lot of play room for the cask to interact with the spirit. Unfortunately, that also means there are quite a few bottlings available where you just get to taste the cask, because it can so easily overpower the whisky itself.
On the other hand, when the cask is rather gentle on the spirit, and given enough time for a proper maturation, it can also be very, very good whisky. I remember some SMWS bottlings from a decade or so ago at 30 to 35 years old that were absolutely stunning. The only reason I didn’t get myself one when in Edinburgh, was that at the checkout my credit card acted up and wouldn’t properly handle the payment.
This one, from Archives (it is ‘Archives week’ after all) came out a year and a half ago. I seem to remember it being one of those strange releases that were not really mentioned on the website and you had to dig for it a little bit, but with some effort I managed to snag up a bottle.
Quite some vanilla with lots of pastry notes. Quite cask driven, which isn’t unfamiliar for Glen Moray. Roasted sesame seeds, pastry cream, tinned pineapple juice and toast.
Slightly more hot here, with a woody, dry heat. Vanilla, some cinnamon buns, baked apple, pastry cream.
Here you notice the heat of the ABV a lot more than on the nose and palate. A whiff of apple, on a rather long finish.
The cask really had influence on the spirit, obviously. That’s so with every proper whisky, but in this case it pushed into the pastry direction quite forcefully. However, with the high ABV and it not being too old it still holds some balance with the fruity spirit of Glen Moray. Good stuff!