April 23rd, 2014 was a special date for me. After a few years learning and tasting in the world of whisky, I started putting my thoughts to (digital) ink, and published the first post on Malt and Oak. This is post number 500, and honestly, I’m humbled at reaching this point.
In the three years that the blog is up and running, these 499 posts have been read by 375,000 people (well, 375,712 if I’m to be exact), with those posts you see on the right, the popular top 10, having been read the most. Malt and Oak has made it to be ranked 35th within the blogs of the world of whisky (see here), and there’s a steady crowd of whisky lovers who regularly read the blog. I appreciate each and every one of you, and appreciate your choice to read Malt and Oak, with the abundance of opinions and publications out there. To another 500 posts!
Today’s post in an extension of the Glen Garioch series of posts, taking us 21 years further into the past from 1978, and a full 60 years back from today, to 1957.
Until 1884, the distillery was owned by the Manson family, when it was sold to J.F. Thompson & Co., who were joined by blender William Sanderson. Now Sanderson was a brilliant chap who created 100 different blends and in the original whisky crowd sourcing project, had customers taste them to choose the best. Vat 69 was the favorite, and Glen Garioch at the heart of it. So Sanderson, who also helped to found North British Grain distillery in order to break up DCL’s monopoly on grain whisky. History’s ironic turns will have Sanderson’s, and Glen Garioch, folded into DCL in 1937. Glen Garioch kept producing, on and off, until 1968, when “losing out” to Brora on the Highland production of peated malt was closed for good, until sold to Morrison Bowmore in 1970, the story of the comeback relayed by me in other Glen Garioch posts.
For our tasting today, we have whisky that spent 20 years in a cask, then another 40 years in a closed bottle.
Cadenhead’s Glen Garioch 1957, Distilled May 1957, “Dumpy Bottle”, Bottled August 1977 (45.6% ABV (80 British Proof))
Appearance: Light bronze, with extremely slow legs and a very sturdy necklace.
Nose: Old bottle sherry cask, with a very 1950s burnt wax signature on the nose, together with quite a bit of fruitiness with green apples and orange marmalade. Hint of peat and quite fresh and mineral-y. Toasted cereal grains, honey, hit of ginger and white pepper, and something floral. A prolonged sniffing session reveals this as orange blossom.
Palate: Burnt wax and peat, citrus bitterness, hint of honey and some gentle spices.
Linger: Peat and white pepper, with the pepper dominant down the gullet, and a dry bitterness on the inner cheeks. The peat is a very gentle very highland peat, with an almost vegetal quality, and that ever present burnt wax.
This is a blast to the past with a 1957 style Glen Garioch. The Spirit is Glen Garioch (albeit a somewhat more fruity and less spicy version), but the cask is very much like the period G&M Mortlachs, Linkwoods and Glen Grant’s with that signature burnt wax on the nose and palate. It’s a good historical dram, it’s definitely exciting, but honestly, some of the Glen Garioch Vintage releases are simply better drams. The dumpy Cadenhead’s can go either way, and I’ll revisit this expression once my sample has had some time to breath in the bottle, now that there’s some air in there.