Glen Garioch Vintage Series Review: Part III – Vintage 1990 and Vintage 1986

In this third installment of the Glen Garioch Vintage review series, we’ll be looking at two expressions forming the heart of the lower half of the vintage expressions:

  • Vintage 1990, Sherry and Bourbon casks, bottled 2009 at 54.6%.
  • Vintage 1986, North American oak, 25 year old, bottled 2011 at 54.6%.

As far as the distillate goes, the spirit that went into the casks is the same as the 1991. Thus, we’re talking about direct fired stills distilling wash made for self malted barley, and peated in the distillery’s own unique double kiln.



Photo Credit:

Glen Garioch Vintage 1990, Batch 34, Bourbon and Sherry Cask Matured, Bottled 2009 (54.6% ABV, NCF)

Appearance: Rich amber, legs leaving quite a bit of residue on the glass.

Nose: Burnt rubber, dried fruit and wood spice. This is a very complex. Warm coconut shavings, cinnamon and clove. There’s quite a bit of sulfur on the nose, with a lot of sweetness and dryness. A bit of time in the glass brings out some baked apples and leather.

Palate: Dried fruit first, then the spice and the peat. There are also red berries and leather, with a hint of chili pepper and some milk chocolate.

Linger: Dry and peaty, with a little bit of a burn on the tongue. A lot of dryness, and a ring of spice around the gullet. On the tongue we have pepper and a red fruit sweetness, with some tartness to go along with it. On the end we get some leather and espresso.


This is one complex dram. It’s sherry, but somewhat lighter, yet beefier than the 1999, with the peat dancing beautifully with the sherry. This is, with the 1991 and 1995, in the top three of the eight expressions tasted so far.

I’d like to give my thanks to a Belgian whisky friend, Arnout, for this sample.





Photo Credit:

Glen Garioch Vintage 1986, Batch 11, 25 Year Old North American Oak, Bottled 2011 (54.6% ABV, NCF)

Appearance: Gold, with a very sturdy necklace slowly releasing very thin legs.

Nose: Honey and baking bread, hint of citrus rind and light smoke. Some vanilla with a mineral hint, and quite a bit of cereal. Notes of white pepper and a hint of burnt wax.

Palate: Sweet hit, then a wash of spice, and some floral lavender.  Hints of coffee and dark chocolate with powdered ginger and some tropical fruit.

Linger: Long and spicy, with that lavender like note. It’s dry and almost bitter with a sweet linger to it on the tongue. The gullet remains spicy.


Funky dram, this one. The nose starts out shy, and takes some time to give up its secrets. The palate is outright funky, with that lavender note. Different and fascinating, but not quite my favorite of the bunch.



Final words

There’s one more expression in the Glen Garioch Vintage series. The Vintage 1978, which was a special year for Glen Garioch, upon which we’ll expand in the next post, which is, incidentally, our 499th, with a very festive post 500 right on its heels. In the next post, we’ll be tasting three official bottlings of the 1978: The Vintage 1978 bottled at 30 years (1320 bottles produced), a single cask 1978 bottled at 33 years (cask 11000), and the distillery cask (cask 11001) still available at Glen Garioch bottled at 38 years. Should be yummy!


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