I’m all for experiments. I’m also not averse to trying younger variants and have found some promising young bucks out there!
When I shared that I had already traipsed through most of the suggested whisky sample sets at Quaich bar in Singapore, the Glenglassaugh Torfa was recommended. I thought why not?
However just because something is ‘new’ (or in this case ‘re-new‘) or ‘different’ doesn’t necessarily make it ‘good’…
- Nose – Overripe fruit, peat, grass… as it continued to breathe, could identify some gingery orange citrus. After sipping, the nose took on a sour curd note with a hint of jackfruit
- Palate – Sharp, bitter, almost like diesel, young, brash and not balanced. My fellow sampler identified something akin to cleaning solvent. As soon as she said this, I couldn’t help but agree and then couldn’t get past this element either…
- Finish – Smoke, but nothing significant and quickly dissipated
- 1st impression – Disappointing
As the 2nd whisky we sampled (Hazelburn 12 year) was simply so much more to both our tastes, we left the Torfa alone for some time. We found it mellowed out a bit yet still retained the overall young attitude.
So we decided to see what happens when we added water…
- On the nose, it shifted into overripe fruit, salty (almost like salted popcorn)
- On the palate, became smoother, then some spice and finally light leather in the finish
As my companion put it
“Kinda like a hip hop dude who realised he needed to drop the attitude and be a bit more real.”
Certainly the drops of water helped, however the Torfa still feels like it has been pulled out of the maturation process too soon. I wonder if that is also the case with the other Glenglassaugh expressions – Revival and Evolution?
Of the three, Torfa is their ‘richly peated’ expression and my issue isn’t with the peat, it is the lack of balance.
However, in fairness, I should share that we have no idea how long this bottle lay open with Quaich and whether that had an impact, dulling other elements. The official tasting notes speak of melon, pineapple and roasted red apples on the palate – we discovered nothing of the sort! And when I checked the reviews from folks whose opinions I’ve found reliable, they seemed to have a different experience.
Bottom line – would we buy? Nope. In fact, we didn’t even finish our dram.
If this experience is any indication (which it may not be), one has to wonder if the investors for Glenglassaugh are simply being too impatient. The Speyside distillery only re-started production in 2008 and has already pumped out a trio of whisky expressions plus a few experiments like “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name” which is one mash of malted barley, fermented and distilled twice then bottled without ageing and “The Spirit Drink that blushes to speak its name” which is produced in the same way then aged 6 months in California red wine casks.
Now, if the Glenglassaugh folks had the advantage (or disadvantage) of a hot climate like India, perhaps one can understand releasing expressions after limited time… however in Scotland? Me thinks a wee bit more patience is in order!
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