9 December 2011

Glen Garioch 1994 "A Valiant Vintage"

If there was ever an award established to reward a distillery for its underdog fighting spirit, then Glen Garioch should most certainly be in the running for the nominations of the said accolade.

Often seeming to be like an older and less popular step brother to Morrison Bowmore’s other dramming siblings of Bowmore and Auchentoshan, this particular Highland distillery is now beginning to receive the recognition it so rightly deserves.

In addition to a fairly considerable back catalogue and a current duo of core expressions in the form of their Founder’s Reserve and a 12 year old offering, they've also been busy over the last year launching an ongoing series of small batch vintage bottlings, including the 1994.

The nosing kicks off with all the component parts of a deconstructed Christmas cake, from the sherry soaked fruits and winter spices, right through to the marzipan and rolled fondant icing.

A honeyed floral frenzy then ensues, but before you’ve been able to enjoy its full vigour it reluctantly though rewardingly gives way to a sensation of nutty polished oak and a tropical fest-ette of pineapple, coconut and a slightly under ripened banana.

Vanilla infused pears and wisps of lemon sherbet make for the next set of nasal delights, followed by the aromas of a freshly brewed pot of coffee, a pan of boiling blackberries and a warm swirl of caramel that’s been punctuated perfectly by a pinch of peat and a wanton wave of wood spice.

The Palate kicks off with a sweet zinging kiss of citrus, followed by a more prolonged snog of Wheetabix covered in a light flurry of demerara sugar, along with a mid morning latte that’s been finished off with a squirt of vanilla syrup.

A big hearty bowl of apple and blackberry crumble, made using the bitterest of bramley apples and served with a jug of Ambrosia custard makes for the next set of protruding palatable pleasures, along with opulent lashes of oak and an infusion of wood smoke and a mug of Lemsip topped with a glug of spiced honey.

A rather vinous caramel sensation then begins to take hold, but before it even gets the chance to become overpowering or remotely dominant it’s soon restrained and balanced out by a quarter bag of cherry drops that have been dipped in chocolate then rolled in a field of grass.

Just at the stage of thinking that you might be in for a bit of a lacklustre finish, the sensation of someone hitting the rewind button kicks in, as you’re then treated to a reverse encore of what’s just delighted the palate, along with a subtly added touch of smoky spice which then goes on to linger quite eloquently before gently petering out.

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