Fight of the day: Glentauchers 1996.
In the right corner, we have a semi-official bottling of Glentauchers 1996 bottled in 2016. Although the description mentions first-fill sherry casks, the colour doesn’t really show it.
Gordon & MacPhail is well known for this concept of whiskies that are bottled ‘officially’ by them, under license from the distillery. Usually these relationships go back a long time. Other distilleries that are licensed by G&M include Ardmore, Balblair, Glen Grant, Glenburgie, Imperial, Linkwood, Longmorn and Strathisla.
In the left corner, we have a slightly younger single cask Glentauchers 1996 bottled by Whisky-Fässle. This one is from a bourbon cask.
Glentauchers 1996 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 2016, first-fill sherry)
Nose: nicely aromatic and fruity. Tinned pineapple, sweet oranges, perhaps a little litchee. Stewed apples. Sweet berries and kiwi. Then it goes towards butter cookies and toffee, perhaps a little praline and hay. The sherry brought some sweetness and toffee, but none of the classic dried fruits.
Mouth: fresh and rather rich considering the strength, with lots of lemons, oranges, red apples and kiwi. Not quite spectacular, but nicely vibrant and playful. A little liquorice, nutmeg and a hint of musty sherry oak. Still this buttery edge.
Finish: medium long, fruity, with light ginger, honey and charred oak.
Easy-going, extremely drinkable Glentauchers with a big fruity core. The relatively low alcohol volume doesn’t harm it in any way. Around € 60.
Glentauchers 18 yo 1996 (51,9%, Whisky-Fässle 2014, bourbon barrel)
Nose: certainly more bourbonny. That means some fresh oak shavings, rose petals and something in between vanilla marshmallows and bubblegum. Similar apple notes and kiwi, some apricot and banana as well. More vanilla than in the semi-official. A bit of oak polish and grassy touches.
Mouth: creamy and fruity, but much more spices too, compared to the G&M version. Banana, sweet orange, grapefruit, along with pepper and ginger. Sweet and candied, with some green oaky touches towards the end.
Finish: quite long, on vanilla, oak and fruit gums.
The added strength makes this one a little more creamy as well as more emphatically aromatic on the nose. More expensive though: around € 110 at the time.
Regardless of your preferences, this was a particularly interesting head-to-head. You can really sense the common distillery character underneath, and then appreciate the influence of different casks and bottling strengths.