My first Glen Garioch was a 1797 Founders Reserve. I thought it was OK. Nothing to really excite me. Pleasant enough without being marvelous and I think that's fine. I just place far too many expectations on every whisky I try for the first time.
My second Glen Garioch is this 1997 Vintage (bottled 2012) at a lovely cask strength of 56.7%. This is more to my liking. I think the higher strength manages to shift the delicate flavors I remembered from the 1797 Founders Reserve into a higher gear here.
Glen Garioch, like Glenrothes, prefer to put vintages on their whiskies rather than age. I actually prefer that over the age statement (and definitely over the No Age Statement!). Tell me when it was distilled and bottled and let me do the math, thank you very much. The more information you give me the more I will be interested in your product.
This particular expression was distilled in 1997 (sorry, no month mentioned here) and bottled in 2012 and is batch no 12 (I'll leave you to do the math). A travel retail exclusive at 56.7%.
Nose: Lots of wood. Tropical fruits. Jack fruit. Banana. Yellow pears. Pecan nuts. Reminds me of pancakes. Strawberry jam. Aniseed. Honey. This one is completely unsmoked. I remember the 1797 have a wisp but not this one. Very fruity. Very estery.
Palate: That banana. So strong. Honey. Nuts. White pepper. Soft chocolate caramel. The tropical fruits are back. Soft apricots. Pears. Oak. Confident mouthfeel and I feel the high ABV accentuates all the flavors.
Finish: Long. White pepper. Black licorice. Toffee.
I think this is quite a nice single malt. One of the more fruity ones I have come across of late. I think my interest in this distillery has been piqued.