Highland Treat – Glen Garioch 15 year 53.7%

Waaaay back in the summer, our Whisky Ladies enjoyed a Highland Trio – starting with two whiskies from AnCnoc and closing with this Glen Garioch.

What did we think?

Glen Garioch 15 year Sherry Cask Matured 53.7%

  • Colour – A lovely dark ruby gold
  • Nose – Mmmm…. really good black coffee, honey, buttery, banana, caramel, treacle, banoffee pie, apricots… coming back loads of delicious sherry
  • Palate – Coffee candy, toffee, toasted raisin bread slathered in butter, raisin, dates, rolling around in heavy sherry with a great mouthfeel
  • Finish – A slow burn that tapers into sweet spice

This really was rather delicious! Generous sherry influence, quite satisfying in all ways.

The folks at Glen Garioch haven’t kept tasting notes on their website, however the folks over at Master of Malt have this to say:

Glen Garioch 15 Year Old has been aged in oloroso sherry casks and has a sweet and fruity character. The nose opens with dark berries and dried fruits, followed by sweet vanilla notes and a slight tartness. The palate is thick and full bodied, giving notes of dried fruits and cinnamon spice. A hint of heather honey appears before a long woody finish, with gentle spices throughout.

As of late 2019, you can still find this at The Whisky Exchange for approximately £125.

We also had these as part of our Highland Treat :

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Douglas Laing’s Highland Blend Timorous Beastie 46.8%

With their inventive packaging, having a sense of whimsy, play and days of yore, the “Remarkable Regional Malts” series explores the five different regions of Scotland.

We began with Douglas Laing’s Highland blend …

Timorous Beastie 46.8%

  • Nose – Fruity, yoghurt, an agave-like quality, raw, barley mash, spice, light cream, caramel, baby puke, yeasty, honey sweet
  • Palate – Spice burn, a few remarked “tastes better than it smells”, quite peppery with more alcohol ‘beastie’ than timidity
  • Finish – Sharp, short, bitter

There was a mixed reaction to this one. The agave like aroma was akin to the “morning after an overindulgence of tequila”… Another found this was “something to be used for cleaning like solvent.” Yet another quipped “The rat is there on the label for a reason!”

While not horrifically bad, it was a bit like having peppery tequila.

Here’s what they have to say:

Douglas Laing’s Timorous Beastie, immortalised in Robert Burns’ famous Scots poem “To a Mouse”, was a timid, little field mouse. Echoing our national bard’s wit, ours is most certainly not for the fainthearted! This non coloured, non-chill-filtered Small Batch bottling is a marriage of appropriately aged and selected Highland Malts – including, amongst others, those distilled at Glen Garioch, Dalmore and Glengoyne distilleries.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose – Overridingly sweet on the nose, then warming to floral, light barley & spicy honeyed tones.
  • Palate – The palate opens in a spicy style – fructiferous, mellow, with sugary vanilla.
  • Finish – The finish is at first subtle, but runs to a sweet character that carries an oaky quality plus a late meringue style.

Photo: Nikoulina Berg

What were the other whisky blends explored?

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Glen Garioch 17 year (1996-2016) Cask No 3730 55.7%

After the absolutely stunning Glen Grant 60 year, dangerously drinkable Bowmore 12 distilled in the 1970s, the peculiar The Prestonfield Vintage 1972 Bowmore 16, we shifted gears to a meatier sherry style whisky from Adelphi‘s single cask bottling of Glen Garioch.

Adelphi Glen Garioch 1993 (note image from different year)

Glen Garioch 17 year (1996-2016) Cask No 3730 55.7% (Adelphi) 152 bottles

  • Nose – Top note of varnish, orange cream cookies or that fanta fizz, citrus zest, sweet honey, clove, a teasing nose that later revealed a musty quality – in a good way
  • Palate – Spicy, old style wood, sweet spice orange like clove studded oranges at Christmas, an almost brandy-like quality, red and green stewed apples, a dash of cocoa, continued to evolve taking on a meaty quality like a quality wagyu steak
  • Finish – Lovely chewy dates

There was a nicely mature quality to this dram, exceedingly smooth and no sense of it being full strength at 55.7%. A lovely sherry quality, more in keeping with what we normally expect – and that’s a mighty fine thing indeed!

What else did we sample in our Krishna Collection from July 2017?

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Canadian stash – Glen Garioch 21 year 43%

Not so long ago we sampled the Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve, It was sufficiently interesting that when the Glen Garioch 21 year was on offer to join the “Canadian stash” from my aunt and uncle, I jumped at the chance!

Sample and photo courtesy of Whisky Lady's Aunt n Uncle

Sample and photo courtesy of Whisky Lady’s Aunt n Uncle

Here goes my sampling of the Glen Garrioch 21 year:

  • Colour – Dark straw
  • Nose – Lovely mint, faint sweet grass and hay, sweet vanilla, a bit floral
  • Taste – Gentle, flirty hint of peat, a light woodsy element, honey minty sweet with just enough spice
  • Finish – Easy, gentle, malty finish with just enough bitter at the end to remind you it was there
  • Water – Not a chance of adding! Already quite ‘thin’ so wouldn’t dare add a drop

This whisky goes down far too easily. Quite light at 43%, it is one of those dangerous drams that’s gone before you even realise it. I have to admit, I struggled to write notes as just enjoyed sipping! In all honesty, it isn’t terribly complex, think instead of a light summery romp! Eminently enjoyable and worth sampling if it comes your way.

For those not familiar with Glen Garioch, this highland distillery has Rachel Barrie as master distiller. She grew up near the distillery and you can read more about her introduction to the distillery here.

Here’s what others say:

This concludes my 9 bottle sampling from my fellow whisky aficionados aunt and uncle…. who just so happen to run a whisky tasting group in Fort Francis, Ontario, Canada. It was such a treat to enjoy these wee baby jars of whisky and try several drams I otherwise would have missed. So once again – my sincere thanks for the indulgence!!

Canadian stash

Canadian stash

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Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve 48%

The Highlands are home to a few favourite whiskies from BalblairDalwhinnieEdradourGlendronachGlenmorangieOban…  however, I must admit, Glen Garioch was one Highland whisky we missed.

So it was a treat when it popped up as part of a tasting session together with Ardbeg Corryvrecken and Jura Superstition.


Here’s what we found…

Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve 48% 

  • Colour – Pale straw
  • Nose – Floral bouquet, medicinal, moss, blue cheese, fungal element, sea scent, tamarind
  • Palate – Smooth, fresh pudina (mint), spice, pepper, bold, hint of citrus, delightfully complex
  • Finish – Lingers, spice, complexity remains
  • Water – Adding a dash of water doesn’t kill but equally did not enhance, however it did make the wet forest scent even more pronounced.

A clear favourite! The variation found in the nose followed through in the taste and finish. A very fine dram indeed!

If this is what the whisky makers were up to in 1797, then it is a mighty fine recipe and well worth being reincarnated in the ‘Founders Reserve’. Without hesitation, our merry malt tasters concluded it is one we hope to repeat, stock, savour and enjoy!

Glen Garioch 1797 Founders Reserve

As you can gather, back in 1797 in the Highlands of Aberdeen, Glen Garioch distillery opened its doors. This no age statement whisky takes its inspiration from those early days and is part of their staple offerings.

Here’s what the Glen Garioch folks have to say about the 1797 Founder’s Reserve:

  • Nose – Warm amber in appearance, sweet vanilla and subtle spice combine with fruitier green apple and grapefruits on the nose.
  • Palate – Butter cream and vanilla pave the way to fruity green apple skin and citrus cleanliness, leading to an elegant and subtle finish.

Read more about the distillery’s history here.

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