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With a capacity of 4.2m L.P.A Glenburgie is one of the largest distilleries currently owned by Chivas. Very little of the distilleries output has ever been released as a single malt by its owners however, with the vast majority of the make being a key component of Ballantines blend range. It isn’t a particularly common distillery on the independent market either but what is bottled does tend to be well worth tasting particularly, as in this example from the fine wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros and Rudd, when it gets a bit of age behind it. It is also worth mentioning that there is currently a rather good cask strength 15yo OB on the market that offers good value for money.
Nose: Glenburgie certainly seems to produce a notably fruity spirit; juicy at first with lemon, a little pink grapefruit and pineapple backed up by a nice hit of paraffin wax and hessian. A few drops of water work well here releasing creamy vanilla alongside the fruit and some lovely rhubarb crumble notes. Builds on nice touches of mocha, light plum, orange oil, beeswax and blanched almonds. Very complex and well balanced this with some slightly resinous oak and mint coming into view given time.
Taste: A balance of soft fruits; candied pineapple and orange, twinned with restrained vanilla on delivery. There is a firmer oak presence than might have been expected but still showing a range of notes that mirror the nose; blanched almonds, faintly flintiness, beeswax and orange blossom honey. The oak grows slightly bitter sweet and spicy now with some walnut skin and cinnamon/star anise.
Feel: Supple and silky.
Finish: Some older, resinous, oak polish notes now alongside green tea, hessian cloth and damp rocks. The fruit sitting faint around the edges.
A very good example of what seems to be a quite under-rated distillery that shows both Glenburgie’s considerable fruity character and some rather firm oak. These older examples of the distillery are well worth tasting and I have been told that some 88’s bottled by Duncan Taylor are also very good. Berry Bros and Rudd are one of my favourite bottlers at the moment, they seem to select consistently high quality casks from a wide range of distilleries (check out their recent run of 1997 Clynelish and late 70’s/ early 80’s Caol Ila) and even the least spectacular of these have been highly enjoyable and interesting.
Many thanks go to Rob.