The old and the young…
Other than the end product itself, and all the history, tradition, heritage and craftsmanship that it encompasses, one thing that makes whisky such a compelling drink is the people. ‘Discovering’ whisky many years ago has given me the opportunity to meet so many likeminded folk – some I’m now very happy to call friends – from all walks of life. What I love about the whisky community is that it is a cask load of contradictions; simultaneously diverse yet similar, exclusive yet inclusive.
These two samples were given to me by two people who exemplify this. Firstly, the Glenmorangie 17 years. Distilled in 1979 (the last full year that malting took place on site) and bottled in 1996, this dram arrived courtesy of John Irvine. John is Scottish, a mere 90 years young and the only tweets he cares about are from the birds in his award winning garden. He loves his single malts and has been known, inadvertently, to say the occasional kind word about a blend or a whiskey. Not that often though 😉 He knows what he likes and his palate is outstanding. I know John through his daughter, Fiona, as we taught in adjacent classrooms for the best part of ten years; we would often attempt to exchange samples of whisky without the kids noticing. Although we have both escaped the teaching profession, the sample exchange continues.
The second sample, a single cask Glen Garioch 26 years, arrived courtesy of Julian Mächler from Switzerland. If you’re not following Julian on twitter already, you’re missing out on some inspired (and inspiring) whisky comments and opinions. Find him: @whiskyU_. I was lucky enough to meet up with him in Edinburgh in the summer. From playing ‘The Hoop of Destiny’ in Teuchters to tasting some craft beers in V-Deep, via a short dram stop at the Malt and Hops, it was great to be able to show him the Costa del Leith before he embarked on his Scottish roadtrip. At 23 (22 at the time), Julian is younger than the whisky he gave me; these days, a position I rarely find myself in.
Two great people; part of a great community. Slàinte!
Glenmorangie 17 yrs (distilled 1979; bottled 1996) 40% abv
Nose: damp wood in the first instance; malty, cereal notes start to come to the fore; plenty of fruit: unripe bananas, tinned pears, tinned fruit cocktail; malted milk biscuits; after a short while, lemon notes appear (lemon drizzle cake); strawberries lurking in the background.
Palate: creamy texture; oak spice initially; tinned pears with chocolate sauce; digestive biscuits; slightly drying on the finish; I wish this were stronger – it’s tasty but, at 40%, it lacks a little oomph (which I believe is the technical term)
Glen Garioch 26 yrs (A.D Rattray) (distilled 05.12.88; bottled 19.10.15) Cask 5187 (Bourbon Hogshead) 49.1% abv
Nose: initial hit of ripe bananas; tinned mandarins; a good whack of mill room gristiness (another technical term); pencil sharpenings; hints of Terry’s chocolate orange; after a while, green apples and green grapes emerge together with pineapple cubes; this is slightly musky.
Palate: a subtle start and then a burst of spice; digestive biscuits; blackcurrants and gooseberries; slightly earthy; dark chocolate lingers into the finish; quite drying, more so towards the end.