Founded in 1797, Glen Garioch is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. This highland malt has a checkered past and has changed owners numerous times. In 1968 the distillery closed completely due to chronic water shortages. Four years later a silent spring was found at a nearby farm. The spring could be neither seen nor heard, but it supplied enough water to increase production tenfold. Currently Bowmore operates the distiller, but it’s parent company, Suntory owns it. Suntory is known for their obsession with quality, so perhaps greener pastures are ahead for Glen Garioch.
Their whiskies used to be known for their peaty/smoky influence, but now their whiskies are entirely unpeated. First released in 2010, Glen Garioch new 12 year old bottling is aged in both bourbon and sherry casks. It’s bottled at 48% ABV and is non-chill filtered.
Nose: oaky, honey, orange peels, maple syrup
Mouth: treacle, smooth, spicy, butterscotch, green apples
Finish: citrus notes, long lingering, oak, hint of pepper
Verdict: I was pretty excited to try this whisky because I had been hearing so many positive things about the revitalized Glen Garioch brand. Their 12 year old expression is solid, but not great. The nose has a great maple-syrup-dripping-over-hot-pancakes smell. It’s rich and inviting with a hint of orange peels to balance out the sweet wafting honey. On the mouth the dram is sweet up front with an underlying layer of sourness (citrus, green apples). The finish rounds out with spicy warm oak flavors. I wish there was a bit more complexity on the palate, but it fell a little flat for me. This dram has the makings of a special whisky, I just wish the flavors were a bit more pronounced.
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