Have you ever had a bad Glentauchers? Whether young or old, I can't say that I have.
It's not a whisky that you come across too often as a single malt. This is primarily because Glentauchers' output is mostly destined for blends. When I say mostly, I do actually mean pretty much all of it; the spirit, today, is a key component in Ballantine's which is, according to the latest figures, the second biggest selling Scotch whisky brand in the world. The first is, of course, Johnnie Walker.
As a distillery founded in 1897 by James Buchanan, it's changed hands a few times over the course of time. It inevitably found its way into the hands of the Scotch whisky behemoth, DCL, in the 1920s but was subsequently mothballed some 60 years later. In the 1990s, production resumed after the distillery had made its way to Allied Distillers, which was a subsidiary of Allied Lyons. In 2005, Glentauchers was acquired by Pernod Ricard after it successfully bought Allied Domecq - a company formed after Allied Lyons took over Pedro Domecq in the mid to late 90s. And, it's with Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) that the distillery remains today.
With the exception of the 15 year old which was officially bottled in 2000, there haven't been too many proprietary releases. There was another 15 year old, as well as a 23 year old, released as part of the Ballantine's Single Malt Series. Plus the Distillery Editions bottling. But that's pretty much it. So the chances are, if you've tried Glentauchers, it was independently bottled.
Previously, the oldest Glentauchers I had tasted was the 27 year old at the Cadenhead's warehouse tasting as part of the Campbeltown Malts Festival in 2017. I still have a few drams left in that bottle; it's an absolutely cracking whisky, full of juicy fruit flavours.
This, at 44 years, is by far the oldest. Now, my experience of tasting really old whisky has been hit and miss. Of course, I appreciate its rarity and can't help but think about all the things that have happened in the world since the spirit was put in the cask. However, I remember trying a 58 year old Mortlach from Gordon and MacPhail and thinking it was ok. Not great; not bad; just ok. And also, that one time at the Whisky Fringe when the half time orange was a 38 year old Tomatin. I gave my dram away as, to me, it was like liquid sawdust.
But then recently I've had the pleasure of tasting a 38 year old Glenfarclas and it was absolutely amazing. So, as I said, hit and miss.
What has surprised me most about this Glentauchers is just how fresh and zesty it is for its age. Yes, there are hints of old leather and old books on the nose but, essentially, it's still quite a lively number.
Nose: there's an old leather note in the background; after a while this becomes more like old paper pound notes in a leather wallet; there are fresh, citrus notes coming through quite clearly; after a while, these develop in to lemon sponge cake and tinned clementines; there are hints of sherbet after a wee while together with strawberry laces; the old leather note evolves into a slightly foosty note of old books with a hint of petrol. I could actually nose this all day - it's amazing!
Palate: there are plenty of juicy fruit flavours initially; those fruit notes develop into lychee and gooseberry heading in to the finish - these are notes I always associate with either a long time in a cask or a short time in a very active cask; notes of kiwi and grapefruit emerge after a while in the glass; there's plenty of honey notes as well as the tiniest hint of aniseed into the finish.
Overall: despite showing its age on occasions, this is still a fresh and zingy dram. It's one you could spend hours nosing and tasting and its flavours would continue to evolve. It's totally out of my price range so a huge thank you to the folks at Atom Brands for sending through the sample. However, if you're feeling flash with the cash, it's available over on Master of Malt for £695.95: CLICK HERE FOR A WEE NOSEY
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