So it seems that after the long wait between Chapters One and Two was a one time glitch, and the Renaissance franchise is fully back on track with Chapter Two coming out in 2016, and Chapter 3 hitting the distillery shop in October, and European stores early this year.
Following the Renaissance Chapter One (reviewed here) and the Chapter Two (reviewed here), and like its two predecessors, the third chapter is matured in both ex bourbon and in sherry casks, and forms a single progression past the 12 year old, itself being a marriage of both types of casks.
I’ve given much thought to the question of strategy for Glen Garioch. The core range currently consists of the 1797 Founder’s Reserve and the 12 year old. This is, arguably, the leanest core range in the industry, and has been since 2009, when the new bottles and new bottling strength came into effect as the distillery hit the 12 year mark from the switch to unpeated malt, following the distillery shut down in 1995. It seems to me, and this is pure speculation, that the distillery is planning to up the core range to include another core expression around the 18 year mark. 2018 also marks the year in which the oldest “new” stocks hit 21, which could also be a thing. I think that when the Renaissance project was initiated, the idea was to try different combinations of sherry and bourbon casks for an 18 year old permanent expression, which was originally to be introduced in time for the 20th anniversary of the reopening, in August 2017, but somewhere along the line the project got delayed, probably around the merger of Suntory with Beam.
However, I think that this won’t change the original plan to up the distillery’s core range with an 18 year old, and I’d expect it sometime around the late spring or summer 2019. Both the Vintage 1999 and the 15 Year Old Sherry Cask Matured have demonstrated that 14-15 is a perfect age for the sherry matured spirit, and this may include a 15 year old sherry matured, with the 12 and 18 which will be marriages of sherry and bourbon casks. Am I right? Who knows (well, other than Ron Welsh….).
Anyway, I’ve talked enough. It’s time to taste some whisky!
Glen Garioch Renaissance Chapter 3 (50.8% ABV, NCF)
Appearance: Deep gold, thin legs coming very slowly off a sturdy necklace.
Nose: Rich malt, honey, oak, orange blossom, ginger, orange peel.
Distant baking bread and spice develop as it breathes, augmented by a hint of milk chocolate.
Palate: Orange zing with white pepper and a whole medley of citrus fruit. Black pepper joins on the back of the tongue. The orange is almost a chocolaty orange as the whisky is held in the mouth.
Linger: Bright and citrusy, with a lovely layer of candied ginger, some black pepper going down the gullet. Sweet waves keep washing over the palate.
Wow! There’s a beautiful balance in this dram. The fruit and the spice, the citrus and the sweetness, the maltiness and oak are all perfectly balanced. Definitely one you’ll be reaching for to refill your glass!
Lorenzo is a close friend and fellow Glen Garioch enthusiast. His generosity in getting me a sample before my bottles arrived made this post possible!