Glen Moray is another of those whiskies I’ve not had much contact with in the past. When it was owned by Glenmorangie, it felt like the luxury brand kept its slightly unglamorous cousin hidden from sight. In recent years though, it’s been coming out to play more, with numerous special releases and prominent placing at whisky festivals.
Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to join a Tweet Tasting (courtesy of Steve Rush @ The Whisky Wire) of three whiskies from the Glen Moray range, including two samples of New Make sprit. And here’s my verdict:
New Make – 69% ABV
I’ve had the opportunity to taste New Make spirit a couple of times but this was a nice addition to this tasting, as it allowed for comparison between the base liquid and the final product. Due to its strength, first impressions were of fresh, clean alcohol. But once my nose became used to this, citrusy flavours started to come through, followed by background notes of malt and yeast. The palate is full of fresh, crunchy apples and malty-ness – possibly verging on apple crumble. Adding some water obviously reduces the ABV, smoothing off the harsh edges. However, it still has a hit of pepper at the end.
Classic – 40% ABV (£21.00)
And now Glen Moray’s signature expression itself. I usually try to make my reviews as unpretentious as possible, but the overriding flavour on the nose was blueberry bubble gum, with some vanilla on the side. The palate is full of tropical fruits and vanilla too. It’s a very light and refreshing whisky, with a very dry finish – closer to a white wine than a whisky, although this is in no way a criticism.
Classic Port Finish – 40% ABV (£25.00)
Now we’re into my territory – a nice port cask finish. As you would expect, the nose is sweeter than the classic, although now the blueberry bubble gum is closer to cherry or plum (does plum bubble gum exist?), as well as a bit of dried fruit. The fruit continues on palate, introducing some creaminess as well – almost like a punnet of strawberries and cream, with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Another whisky I’d slot into the summer drinks category.
Peated New Make – 69%
More new make spirit! Peated this time though. As you would expect, a lot of smoke on the nose, but it’s also very earthy, with a slight hint of salt to boot. It’s much more drinkable than the nose suggests though, but the whole palate is dominated by smoke…and that’s about it really.
Peated Single Malt – 40% (£25.00)
The smoke from the new make spirit has really mellowed during maturation, but it’s still there. The citrus which was hiding under the smoke now presents itself, along with a sugary sweetness – almost like a lemon meringue pie. The same flavours are present on the palate, with the mix of smoke and fruit reminding me of Bruichladdich.
Overall, an interesting insight into a whisky I’ve not had much experience with in the past. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the Classic Port Finish – the perfect whisky for a hot summer’s day.