Glen Garioch distillery has a certain profile which usually works for me: spicy, with quite a bit of spirit still peeking through the cask-influence (or so I imagine). Based on tasting it at the The Hague whisky festival last year and being quite impressed, I bought this bottle of 22 year old Glen Garioch by the Dutch bottler Kintra. And since whisky festivals are among the worst places to properly taste whisky, here are my notes based on a re-tasting in the comfort of my own home. Let’s see if my first impression was correct.
Glen Garioch 22yo 51.2% Kintra Distilled 24th of October 1990 Bottled 22nd of October 2013 (ooh, so close to 23) Refill sherry hogshead #7934
The nose starts off with orange juice, old wood (smells like European oak, which is unlikely), milk chocolate and old leather sofas that have been left to dry out. A ‘dry’ smell, if that’s possible. Then fresh grape juice, cloves, burnt sugar and vanilla. The addition of a teaspoon of water brings out the sweet and sour fruits as well as raisins and a sudden floral note. Lovely.
The taste is bitter-sweet upon arrival, and quite bold. It is dominated by wood-spices in many guises (black pepper, aniseed, cinnamon and cloves). With some water it becomes more nutty (hazelnut and walnut) and gains notes of black tea and mint. There is a definite undertone of fruit, but the only one I can separate out is apricot.
In the finish, which is medium-long, there’s a light waxiness, along with aniseed, apricot and a touch of coffee.
Overall this is a wonderful, complex, full-bodied dram which benefits from a little water. The focus of the cask influence is very much on the wood here (spices) instead of the previously held contents (sherry), which only plays a minor supporting role. My score: 90 points