If there's one thing that the recent abundance of virtual whisky tastings and festivals has achieved, it's that it's never been easier to access opportunities to try new drams, such as these bottlings of Glenlossie, and listen to the folk involved in making them. On the one hand, the online whisky event space has become quite crowded quite quickly; on the other hand it's levelled the field for the smaller indie bottlers to compete with the bigger, well known names to showcase their wares.
At the Edinburgh Whisky Group, we seem to be more inclined to support smaller companies during this difficult time. And if we can support a local business to boot, even better. After recently enjoying a couple of the home tasting packs from Jeffrey St Whisky, one of which included two Lady of the Glen drams, we decided to schedule a meetup using one of the tasting packs from Lady of the Glen itself. We were delighted that Paul McKendrick, LOTG's recently appointed Brand Ambassador, was also able to join us.
Now at this point, I should post a photo of the tasting pack we each received. However, the following morning I (accidentally) dropped my phone down the loo thus destroying said phone and all photos saved on it. No amount of rice was resurrecting it. So I'll move this post in a slightly different direction and focus on one of the expressions in the pack, a Glenlossie 8 years (finished in a first-fill ruby port cask for approximately six months).
The kind folk at Lady of the Glen also included a wee bonus dram and mine was a sibling Glenlossie 8 years, this one having been finished for six months in a tawny port cask. And I just couldn't help myself; a comparison was inevitable.
For those of you unfamiliar with Lady of the Glen, this independent bottler was established in 2012 by Gregor Hannah. The expressions are all single cask, cask strength, naturally coloured and non chill filtered. Gregor sources the casks himself and some of the bottlings are from distilleries which release very few, if any, proprietary single malt expressions. Such is the case with Speyside's Glenlossie.
Glenlossie distillery is located about five miles south of Elgin and is owned by Diageo. The only official single malt releases have been the 10 year old in the Flora and Fauna range and the Manager's Dram. As most of the distillery's output is destined for blending, it's a distillery which has most definitely fallen under my radar. So let's see what these two drams have to offer:
Nose: strawberry jam initially, developing into those foam strawberry sweets after a while; hints of porridge with a spoonful of honey; barley sugar sweets are at the fore; strawberry and rhubarb crumble with custard; petrichor (after adding a few drops of water).
Palate: fresh strawberries and cream; ginger on the tip of the tongue much enhanced with water; there's a malty sweetness throughout mixed with Manuka honey and red berries; hints of fudge and pistachios; the red berries become more jammy into the finish.
Nose: blackberry jam and toffee apples; a hint of Black Forest Gâteau; slight malty note in the background.
Palate: barley sugar sweets; Ginger Nut biscuits; water brings out notes of Nutella on toast (which I haven't eaten for yonks due to the whole palm oil thing); the finish on this is lovely - milk chocolate together with a slightly ashy note. These are both wee crackers.
If I had to choose one over the other, I think the Tawny Port Finish just pips it. Only just, though. Both drams needed a few drops of water for the flavours to really emerge. The cynic in me always kicks in when I see or hear the phrase 'cask finish' as I've read on so many occasions how this is used by some to disguise the flaws of the first maturation. It's great when that cynic is proved wrong; these are top notch whiskies where cask finishing has been used innovatively to add to the flavour profile. Glenlossie is now most definitely on my radar.
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