Glenburgie is not a name widely recognized in America. It does not carry a celebrity endorsement or acclaim from the mass market, and it only makes occasional appearances on menus of the most specialized whisky bars. But this Pernod Ricard distillery remains a critical component to the mega-conglomerate Ballantine’s blend and therefore produces a considerable amount of liters per annum. Aside from the occasional 15 and 18-year expressions, very little gets released under the Glenburgie label. Thankfully, indie bottlers Gordon & McPhail were able to procure a share of 21-year-old expression, and a few bottles reached our shores.
The nose is approachable: soft but sweet, offering notes of green apple and pear that do not let up even with time in the glass. Adding a few drops of water brings out malted notes and shifts the fruit sweetness away from the orchard to the almost tropical levels. Strong pear and apple notes arrive first on the palate, and there are also touches of cinnamon and clove with a slightly undesirable rubbery note towards the end, almost briny. The finish is lengthy: full of fruit before a slight influence of ginger and oak quells things on the conclusion.
Kudos to Gordon & McPhail for delivering a pleasantly affordable 21-year-old single malt. Aside from the odd note towards the end of the palate, it serves well as an enjoyable after-dinner dram. Pernod would do well to consider releasing this as part of Glenburgie’s core range.
B+ / $140 / gordonandmacphail.com