Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt Rum Cask Finish

As a possible present for Father’s Day, Aldi have released another limited expression in its Glen Marnoch range. Having enjoyed the Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt and the Glen Marnoch Islay Edition for what they are and importantly a great price, it was only polite that I should pick up the latest release.

We’re still in the Highland whisky region of Scotland but this time around the whisky is a double cask release. The packaging is informative and I do like the single explanation. Folk do harp on about more information for whisky consumers but the most important aspect here is the price of £19.99 for a single malt and just enough detail.

What we do know is that it started life in an ex-bourbon cask from American for at least the minimum period to be called whisky. That’s 3 years and a day for those unaware. The whisky has been transferred into another cask. This extra maturation isn’t uncommon as we see it with sherry, wine and port casks to give an extra dimension to the whisky. However here its a Caribbean rum cask that’s been selected, which is unusual.
The expression that jumps to mind is the Balvenie 14 year old Caribbean cask and I do recall Cadenheads enjoying a rum cask finish. It’s a fun and light whisky with a really engaging, playful nose that does work with the rum influence. I know from speaking with a Balvenie Ambassador that sourcing good rum casks is difficult and this may explain why we haven’t seen other rum cask finishes. Cadenheads can do it as they bottle various rums and are masters of cask selection.

Call it double maturation, cask acing or whatever you will, it can deliver worthwhile results or in some cases very little benefit. Lets crack open the bottle and see what this Glen Marnoch is all about.
Colour: a vibrant ruby
On the nose: a freshly baked mince pie of all things. Some icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried oranges, brown sugar and a very noticeable helping of creamy toffee. A hint of ginger but water isn’t beneficial overall.
In the mouth: very detrimental bringing this down to 40% strength as its does lose much of its character becoming watery and feeling fragile. Funnily enough a similar problem to the aforementioned Balvenie whisky that smelled better than it tasted. The flavours have a real summertime feel. Marzipan, oranges and cranberries. Oddly a little plasticine and ginger with some walnuts.  
This would have benefited from longer in the rum cask and a higher alcohol strength. There’s nothing wrong with this whisky at its asking price but after the solid standards of the Glen Marnoch range this has slipped a little below the benchmark. An ideal summer sipper or mixer, it is miles better than Douglas Laing’s The Epicurean and about half the price. Yet I’d suggest you stick with the Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt for a more punchy and worthwhile experience.

Score: 4/10

CategoriesSingle Malt
  1. Francis Hodson says:

    Thanks for the review. I bought this last year in March on the cheap (roughly £18) from Aldi, and drank it neat on numerous occasions during the course of my holiday. I must say, I liked it then, but having tried it again just now with a dash of water instead, it really brings out the flavours, as water tends to do with most whiskey. I usually try all whiskey I buy and drink both neat and with a dash of water (ice is too cold and numbs the flavour I think) to compare, but this one really benefits from added water. I respect your review and opinion, but personally I think 4/10 is a little harsh, particularly for the price. Only my second glass but instead of an Arbelour Double Cask Sherry 12 years with water – and on this occasion at least – I’m preferring the younger Glen Marnoch Rum Finish. 7/10 for the Glen Marnoch, taking into account the price and young age of this whiskey. I agree though that some further maturation would probably have benefited it, but for the price you could do far worse.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Francis, thanks for the feedback on your experience with the whisky. Its such a subjective thing, but having tried most of the Glen Marnoch Range I felt this one did not meet my expectations after comparing it to some of their excellent releases (Islay, Speyside). However, I’m sure you’re not alone in enjoying it for an excellent price. Hopefully we’ll have more Glen Marnoch’s to enjoy during 2018.

  2. Chris Coates says:

    What age would this be?

    I find it a bit sad you would use it any single malt as a mixer ! With what?

    For me it has a lovely nose. Is a bit sweet.

    The thing about good single malt scotch is the diversity and complexity of flavours. There is no drink in the world with so many options.
    I personally prefer the Speyside and Highland whiskies
    I am not a fan of the party/ Smokey scotches.

    Whisky is for taking your time and sipping. Have a good sniff first .

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Chris

      No age stated, but I’d think a mix of 5-8 year old seems reasonable depending on the batch. Quite often I use malts with ginger beer or Irn Bru, particularly those that disappoint.

      I can spend an evening with a single dram depending on it’s complexity and layers. Some only have the ground floor and basement.

      Cheers, Jason.

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