I got something secret in the post from Glen Garioch. A secret dram for something special. It came with a few little postcards, to be opened on different days. It’s a kind of slow motion drumroll, eventually revealing what the secret dram was. (Though it had the negative effect of making me feel old. The solar eclipse was 1999? Christ almighty. WE ARE NOT IMMORTAL.)
The dram was a Glen Garioch Vintage 1999 Sherry Cask Matured. Bottled at 56.3%, non chil-filtered, and a small batch release.
Colour: dark, like a chestnut. Rose tint. On the nose: that’s a cracker. Really heavy molasses, with a citrus zing in the centre. Reminds me of the Nikka Coffey Grain whiskies, which I love. You go back in a few times and it settles towards a really classic sherried nose, but there’s something substantial bubbling away. It’s potent.
In the mouth: gosh that’s laying it on lovely and thick. Maple syrup (I’m kind of on the paleo diet, and maple syrup is one of those natural sugars you can use in baking, so I really know what this taste like!), cookies, dark chocolate, honey. This is a crash-bang-whollop of a sherry whisky. Winter spices – Starbuck’s pumpkin latte – with glazed cherries. Plum. Stewed fruits. But really thick, like jam just before it sets. So think you can chew it. That’s one of the finest sherry cask whiskies I’ve had in a long time. There’s a classic feel about it all, but the core flavours are really ramped up. And what a great weight in the mouth – it just sits there on your tongue, not wanting to move.
If you have the slightest love of sherry whisky, this is simply stunning.