Oddbins selected a whole series of Glen Garioch casks in the second half of the 1990’s. There was a 1966, 1967, 1971 and this 1972 vintage. All of them say ‘bottled from a single cask’ but no further information is given. No age, not even a bottling year…
There is very little Glen Garioch 1972 to be found. Remember the distillery was mothballed in 1968 due to chronic water shortages and sold to Stanley P. Morrison in 1970. In 1972, Joe Hughes was appointed as manager, and he found another water source that was more reliable. In that same year, a distillery expansion was started, with an increase from two to three (and then to four) stills.
It’s interesting how years of change and expansion often lead to excellent results, because they disrupt the normal processes. The whisky is produced in ways that were not considered to be most favourable (or most economic), but sometimes it takes a turn for the better. Bowmore 1993 is another great example of this.
Glen Garioch 1972 (43%, OB for Oddbins, single cask, 1990’s)
Nose: complex stuff. It starts on silver polish and mineral peat, with a delicate sootiness. Mint and eucalyptus. The sherry notes are old-style, think tobacco leaves, leather boots and blackberry jam. Chalky notes and hints of old books. There are whiffs of tropical fruits as well (grapefruits, dried mango) which grow stronger over time, but overall they are a little softer than in some other old Glen Garioch examples. Nonetheless pretty wonderful.
Mouth: much more peaty now, and more wonderfully tropical as well. What a dram. Seville oranges, Earl Grey tea, deep soot and plenty of spices like cloves and cardamom. Minty notes and resinous wood. Delicate herbs. Something of mustard seed. Less sherried than I expected – this is a slightly thin style but a very complex one.
Finish: long, with spicy fruit cake, a gentle bitterness, coastal notes and lingering smoke. Leaves your mouth full of tobacco.
Glen Garioch made some pretty exceptional whisky these days, close to Brora’s profile sometimes. Just wonderful. Heartfelt thanks, Carsten (who else?).