Merry Christmas, dear readers! Hope your festivities are going well and you’re enjoying your favorite tipple. As for me, I’m sampling a new single malt whisky: Glen Garioch 1994 Vintage.
The somewhat simple spirits from Highlands-located Glen Garioch aren’t major names in the whisky world, and it’s trying to change that with upscale releases like this vintage-dated offering.
Glen Garioch 1994 is one of the last ever peated whiskys from this distillery (which was mothballed in 1995 before reopening a few years later, and it hasn’t used peat since). Bottled this year, you can do the math: It spent 17 years in ex-Bourbon casks.
The light straw color is surprising, and it would not normally indicate a whisky of this age. The nose, light and easy but with a smoky undertone, also screams more of youth than you’d expect. On the palate, the play between smoke and sweet are curious. There’s a butterscotch, caramel, and apple quality to the body… then the peat smoke rolls in, like a campfire that’s just getting started while you’re eating dessert. The flavors are complementary though, and even those who aren’t big peat fans will likely find the dram mild enough for easy consumption. (Even at 107.8 proof, it’s not a scorcher.)
The only thing lacking really is balance, as the elements here are not quite in harmony. I do like the way sweetness comes back to play in the finish, because while 1994 nods to Glen Garioch’s past, it goes out with a bow toward its future.
B+ / $110 / glengarioch.com