I’ll come out and say it: I’m a fan of the use of virgin oak in Scotch whisky and think that there isn’t enough of it used. I’m sure this will be controversial, but it’s my opinion, and I’ve stated it before.
Of course, with a few exceptions, full maturation in virgin oak is something that is saved to very few expressions, especially if you’re talking about whisky that’s fully matured in virgin oak. For those, we have the Glen Garioch Virgin Oak, Auchentoshan Virgin Oak and the Benromach Organic.
When it comes to finishes and partial composition, things get easier. The Bruichladdich Octomore X.4 have varying compositions of virgin oak matured whisky, Deanston has a nice Virgin Oak NAS, Glenglassaugh has a peated whisky in a virgin oak finish and you’ll recall that the Ardbeg Kelpie had some whisky matured in virgin Adygea Oak, and you can read more about it in my post on the Committee Release. You might also recall that the Amrut Spectrum has partial virgin oak matured whisky. Going a little further back, I’ll mention the long gone Vintage 1993 Glenmorangie Ealanta, matured in virgin oak casks for 19 years.
You’ll find my tasting notes on the first edition here.
Glen Garioch Virgin Oak No. 2 (48% ABV, NCF)
Appearance: Light copper, it’s lighter in color than the 2011 virgin oak single cask reviewed yesterday, which would suggest that coloring wasn’t used (and shouldn’t be in the first place in ANY Glen Garioch expression). Thin and slow legs come off a pretty sturdy necklace.
Nose: Toffee and vanilla, with a note of baking bread and some nutmeg. The nose is mild and fresh, but in no way young. Some time in the glass brings out some Granny Smith apples and more of the mash tun notes, with that toffee.
Palate: Honey and malt, with gentle black pepper. There’s a barky bitterness tinged with the honey sweetness with a hint of floral notes coming up the nose as you hold it in your mouth.
Linger: First you have the layer of the black pepper on the dry tongue, with a tingle on the inner cheeks. Then the sweetness comes out, and while the pepper is still there, as the linger slowly fades, it leaves more of the sweetness in there.
This expression seems milder than the first batch, but this might just be my memory of it. I really like it, and this could easily become my daily dram bottle. I think Ron did a great job with this one!