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Glen Garioch 1999 Sherry Cask

That Smell

4 576

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

12th Feb 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This sample was provided by a friend who warned me that my first tasting would probably be "sulphury", but that if I gave the second half of the sample some time, the sulphur would dissipate. Well, here goes.

Glen Garioch 1999 (14 years old) Batch no 30 56.3 % abv Sample bottled Oct 16, 2018

First tasting (January 16, 2019):

  • Nose (undiluted): oranges, light brown sugar, golden raisins, oak, spent match (sulphur?) that dissipates a bit (but not totally) with a good rest in the glass, and then a mint and balsamic vinegar aroma appears
  • Palate (undiluted): medium bodied, much gentler than the 56.3% abv would suggest, milk chocolate-covered raisins, yielding to a bright grapey note with a bit more oak
  • Finish: medium length, light toffee, wine gums (without the gag-inducing texture of gummies), oak lingering, and a hint of lemons at the tail end.

Second tasting (February 11, 2019) with 1 teaspoon of water added:

  • Nose: raisins, mint, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, walnuts. The sulphur (spent match, a bit of rubber/eraser) is not as pronounced as before, but it's still there. I feel as though given enough time, the sulphur might disappear altogether, but who knows?
  • Palate: medium bodied, very gentle arrival, oak, brown sugar, raisins, milk chocolate. The bright grape note is diminished significantly with water.
  • Finish: medium length, more oak, a slight waxiness, some lemons, black pepper, a herbal note at the end, rosemary or sage maybe?

This whisky feels "muted" with and without water. Maybe it's me, or maybe this is simply a subtle, nuanced malt. The lingering sulphur would make me wary of purchasing a bottle, but those who don't detect it as strongly would probably enjoy it. The herbal notes on the finish are drying and very interesting. But since I it would appear that I am sensitive to sulphur aromas, there's just no getting around its presence. That's not to say I don't appreciate my friend donating this sample. I do. Some people don't perceive sulphur odours very strongly, and some don't perceive them at all. Unfortunately, I do. It's not overpowering here, but it can't be ignored either.

Related Glen Garioch reviews


Astroke commented

Luckily I appear to be immune to Sulfured, dirty Sherry. I went through a bottle of this and have a backup. The Glen Garioch 1995 would be more in your wheelhouse I think. Slightly peated, Bourbon cask matured 17 year cask strength and was available recently at the LCBO for $120 when they seemed to come across a bunch of cases and released them at the old 2012 price.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Astroke I believe I've got a sample of the Glen Garioch 1995 as well, from the same friend. I feel as though I'm turning out not to be a fan of sherry bombs, my penchant for A'Bunadh notwithstanding. I like Tomatin 12 precisely because the sherry didn't overwhelm the malty, ex-bourbon notes. I prefer Glenfarclas 105 to A'Bunadh (Batch 53) precisely because there's more toffee and malt in the 'farclas. So while the sulphur doesn't help things for this particular Glen Garioch, I think it's safe to say that "big sherry" in malt whisky isn't really my thing, with a few exceptions.

2 years ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

Just for fun, and to revive an old review, I found a Serge review of this exact batch of Glen Garioch. Spoiler alert: despite the sulphur, he rates it 89/100. Some of our notes are similar, but I'm puzzled that Serge says it's "pretty smoky" yet rates the peat/smoke level at a 2/9. I'm working on "understanding" Serge's palate and how it relates to mine, but it seems to be a case of me being me and Serge being Serge and "never the twain shall meet" as he doesn't seem to like bourbon or big oak flavours, which I adore.


about one year ago 0

fiddich1980 commented

@OdysseusUnbound I might suggest that Serge' review and reference to smoke is result of food references. He mention's "Mexican chocolate sauce" which I equate to a Mexican mole sauce used in a roasted chicken dish. "Ovatine" has a smoky component when eaten straight from the can/jar. Brunt Brownies should be pretty self explanatory. "Marmite" has a particular astringency and not many people I know consume it on a regular basis. The "pretty smoky" comment should be taken as a qualitative reference to particular flavours from subjective experiences. "Pretty Smoky" but in the context of reference to the taste of food and maybe not in the "Islay whisky" context.

Your review is your take on the whisky. I have been meaning to do much the same exercise which Serge's review of Deanston 2008 Bordeaux which he rated at 78 but I would put in the 88. Whereby, I am in full agreement with his review of Compass Box No Name Edition #1.

One of the challenges when describing the flavours of a spirit is that taste experience and memory are personal and thus subjective. A recent challenging whisky was @Cricklewood's Blacone's Rye. I thought the flavours were similar to licking damp freeze dried coffee stains off a diner counter.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented


I thought the flavours were similar to licking damp freeze dried coffee stains off a diner counter.

Sounds....interesting (?) I don't think I've ever tried anyting from Balcones.

I'm ok with not sharing all of Serge's preferences. I'm just trying to learn how to interpret him. I've learned that I like reading Scotch Noob's reviews, but that his tastes are totally different than mine. Even when we like the same whisky, our tasting notes are rarely similar. Individuality and all that, I suppose. However Josh over at The Whiskey Jug freaks me out at times, because I'll jot down some tasting notes for a whisky and then get around to seeing if he's reviewed it and 8/10 times, our notes are nearly identical. It's uncanny and more than a little weird.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

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