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A week or so ago, I enjoyed a private tasting with my excellent Toronto friends @kvass1970, @thecyclingyogi and @cpstecroix. @kvass1970 pulled out a Glen Garioch miniature (undated, but clearly bottled a long time ago) and it was amazing. He observed that it had a heaviness to it that is missing from most modern whiskies, but we couldn't put our finger on what that came from nor why that quality didn't exist anymore. It was like a heavier maltiness that, according to @kvass1970, one tasted in older bottlings that is not present in the single malts of today.
So I picked up a bottle of Glen Garioch 12 Year Old. This was bottled before the more modern redesign, so it is a taller bottle, more old-fashioned looking.
Located in Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, Glen Garioch is a very old distillery, founded in 1798! Believe it or not, their first single malt wasn't bottled until 1972. Prior to that, everything went into blends, and the distillery went through ups and downs, idle periods and changes in ownership. It is currently owned by Morrison Bowmore and is enjoying some new attention, thanks to it's attractive packaging and the praise heaped upon it's new Founder's Reserve bottling (which I have yet to try).
This Scotch is a coppery golden colour, with a nose of malt, raisin bread, pear, a hint of chocolate, and a wee bit of smoke. Overall, creme brulee. Quite nice.
The first thing I detect on the palate is under-ripe green banana. Some toffee. Quite a creamy mouthfeel. Beneath all of that, an undercurrent of sweet malted barley. A drop of water brings out the nose and palate but not in a huge way. And you know what? There is some of that old-fashioned, heavy maltiness that we detected in the older Glen Garioch miniature - but not quite as much. So clearly that is part of the house style - and I wonder if that element is present in the newer bottlings.
The finish is sweet caramel, long, quite delicious! Very nice everyday dram - as mentioned, it has a somewhat old fashioned feel, like it's your grandfather's Scotch!