We also tried two distillery exclusives.
The first one is a 1994 single cask, first matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel and then finished in a first-fill Oloroso sherry butt since December 2010. Master distiller and distillery manager Graham Coull explained that after the transfer, the bourbonny notes were initially masked by the sherry but gradually returned as the sherry was more integrated.
Glen Moray 1994 ‘Sherry Cask finish’ (56,7%, OB 2016, distillery exclusive)
Nose: a mix of American bourbon whiskey with a great sherry matured Scotch, GlenDronach style I would say. Rich and juicy, with all the right markers: cinnamon buns, preserved cherries including a vanilla / coconut / leather combination that tricks you into thinking this were a bourbon whiskey – intriguing. Waxy notes. Bananas flambéed. Tobacco leaves. A very aromatic nose.
Mouth: again, am I drinking bourbon? Dried fruits, big leathery notes, Victoria plums and cinnamon dusting. Tobacco. Candy apples. Vanilla and lots of sweet oak. Ginger and clove. Orange peel. A mash-up of different styles that works really well.
Finish: long, dry / oaky, with some cherry sweetness and pepper.
This was the highlight of the tasting. It may be a classic recipe but the end result is quite unique. Very successful. Around £ 125 at the distillery, I believe this will be the next distillery exclusive, due to be released in the near future.
The final sample in the tasting was a blind sample. A lot of guesses were made, but it turned out to be a highly uncommon recipe: Glen Moray 2006 with a Cider Cask finish.
The cask was an ex Glen Moray cask used by Thistly Cross Cider to mature their “Whisky Cask Cider” expression. It was then taken back by the distillery to finish a spirit which had been maturing in a first-fill ex-bourbon cask. The finishing lasted for about 8 months and the result is now available as a ‘bottle-your-own’. Having only launched at the distillery just a couple of weeks ago, over half of the stock has already been sold.
The distillery filled 2011, 2010 (peated), 2006 and 1998 Glen Moray into the cider casks to see how they develop, so we may see new editions in the future.
Glen Moray 2006 (58,6%, OB 2016, Cider Cask finish, distillery exclusive)
Nose: punchy and sweet, with syrupy peaches and hints of Calvados. Some more tropical notes too, think green banana and melon. Quite bourbonny in a way, including vanilla and butterscotch. Behind it there’s a punchy spicy kick.
Mouth: sweet and creamy. Lots of apple (skin) indeed, fresh and cooked, with plenty of spicy notes (chilli) and now more grassy touches and hints of pencil shavings. Peaches. Just a slight bitter edge.
Finish: quite long, warm and spicy. Apples with a slight hint of creamy mocha.
I guessed this was a virgin oak finish, as there’s a lot of spicy oak in this one and relatively few additional notes from the cider. Of course there’s the abundant apple flavour but this is something that is common in Glen Moray spirit I’d say. Not sure about the pricing.
Conclusion? Don’t overlook Glen Moray. They have some seriously interesting drams, both on the entry level and higher up the range.
Thanks again to Graham and Iain from Glen Moray and Steve for the invite.