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Until last week, I hadn’t tasted whisky in nearly three months, owing to the regimen of meds I was on following knee surgery. The greatest woman in the world (whom I happened to marry) decided to go overboard with this little gift to celebrate my return to active whisky duty. “Are you #@%&*?! kidding me?” was my response when she gave me this last weekend.
The missus and I are classic-movie buffs, and we watched Buster Keaton’s THE GENERAL (for which this whisky was named) the night before my surgery. Hence, her motivation for this gift, even if it was “about $250 more than I planned on spending,” she said. “So we’ll hitch rides to work and eat peanut-butter sandwiches for the next three months,” I replied.
This is far and away the most expensive whisky in my cabinet. Sheesh, I’ve seen Broras sell for less. I don’t know which was more overwhelming: the gift itself, or the first taste I had of it. This is seriously delicious stuff, rivaling Black Bull 30 yo for the best whisky I’ve ever tasted. (And they’re both blends. Go figure.)
The story behind this whisky is shrouded in mystery. According to the Whisky Israel website, “Two different companies approached Compass box with similar stories: they each had several casks of blended Scotch that had been blended at quite young ages, then not required and put back into cask and left to age. One parcel was 33 years-old and the other was also quite old, but CB won’t reveal the information because they fear they might violate one of the UK’s Scotch Whisky Regulations.” Seems like that rascal Mr. Glaser did what he could to slip under the radar for this limited (1678 bottles) release.
Review based on my third dram from a bottle opened three days ago. This is a bottle I want to last for some time, but it’s going to take some serious willpower to do so. It’s strong stuff that benefits with a splash of water, but don’t drown it.
Nose: Olfactory memories of my grandparent’s house. Sweet, musty, antique wood combined with the aroma of Grandma’s from-scratch cherry pie baking in the oven. I think Grandma let the pie burn slightly, and that’s meant as a compliment. It tempers the sweetness with a savory barbeque edge. A ten-minute rest opens up a sensory overload. Honey, maple syrup, spicy potpourri, mint, bananas, mixed nuts, cinnamon, and well-slept pillows. Some sherry casks entered into the mix somewhere along the line. It’s just…wow. I don’t have the superlatives to do justice to this nose.
Palate: Woody, fruity, buttery, and spicy. Slaps your tongue with a cinnamon-ginger sting at first before it settles down into something warm and richly sweet. There’s also a strong presence of what I can only describe as a savory, salty Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cranberries—they’re all here) in delicately perfect balance with acidic Italian dressing. The layers of flavor just keep coming in waves. I could let this sit on my tongue longer than a Depression-era flagpole sitter.
Finish: I’d give this whisky another point or two if the finish were a bit longer, although it’s long enough to satisfy. I’m not really complaining—I don’t know if I could handle another 20 seconds of such nirvana anyway. Loads of oak, sherry, and mint. Ends with some smooth vanilla before a cinnamon kick leaves you longing for an encore. (Just take another sip. That’ll do the trick.)
My wife purchased this bottle from a newly opened Binny’s outlet. It was the only one they had in their glass case, and it appears they have only two bottles left among their 30 stores. I’d love to send samples of this to all Connosr members, but…sorry, I won’t be doing that. This one’s mine, mine, all mine I tell you!
But if you’re ever in the Chicago area, I’d be more than happy to let you have a few whiffs from my Glencairn.