Review: Glen Ranoch Special Reserve Highland Single Malt

Review: Glen Ranoch Special Reserve Highland Single Malt

Let the record show I have absolutely no problem with going to the budget shelf, nor does anyone else on this staff. Through countless samples of flavored vodkas, beers, gins and whatever else comes our way, we have zero problem venturing forth into anything with a good-faith taste test. Our tongues are not so frail an instrument that they would find permanent injury tasting an occasional value can of beer or dram of whiskey. Our noses and sensibilities do not point northward with an air of condescension. There is also the rare and joyous occasion where we find a home run that does not run into the three and four digit price range. Those are the special moments which make the adventure worthwhile.

This didn’t happen here. Let’s get on with the details: Glen Ranoch is not a distillery, but the name of an independent bottling label owned by Angus Dundee. There is no age statement affixed, and for all I know it was finished in old shirts from musician Glenn Frey. It is Highland malt from an undisclosed location, so if anyone wants to step up and take credit, please do so in the comments below.

The nose has a lot to offer if the aroma of a public locker room is your sort of thing: generous amounts of mysterious cleaning products, a little bit of smoke, and some over-ripened fruit left in an abandoned locker. The palate fares little better with a slight tinge of smoke, some cereal notes, and a very odd pear taste lingering around. The finish, mercifully, is short and highly astringent.

In his excellent book Single Malt: A Guide To The Whiskies of Scotland, author Clay Risen remarked that Glen Ranoch “tastes like the floor of a Home Depot.” I look forward to the day when I learn the backstory of how my colleague came to sample the floor of a home improvement chain, then committed it to long-term memory. Hopefully it will be over a dram of something else.

80 proof.

F / $30

Glen Ranoch Special Reserve Highland Single Malt




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

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