13th September 1897… What is significant about this date ? it is the day spirit started to run from the stills at Glen Moray !! Possibly the most underrated distillery in Scotland by the masses, why ?
Well if you walk into most supermarkets especially within the Uk you will find a whisky called Glen Moray Elgin Classic for under £20 at most times.. It has to be crap, right ? its bloody cheap…
You could and most probably will walk right passed it and search out those slightly more expensive ones and especially the ones with a whopping 12 year old age statement boldly embossed upon their label like it is some sacred statement.
And let us not forget those spectacular Nas whiskies that we all know can only be 3-4 years old at best and that command a £75-£150 price tag, these have to be so much better because they cost way more..
It is funny how we all want things that we consider a bargain but when presented with one we are sceptical and dismiss it with a knowledge that it has to be wrong. Glen Moray however seems to have a conundrum, they produce bloody good whisky, they offer it at a very good price and are ridiculed for doing so, if they increase their prices they would then be slated for being over priced, this my friends is a vicious circle and a fact of life.
I had a discussion with some whisky friends about the distillery and we all agreed that when you see a Glen Moray it is basically a buy it with no worries kind if distillery, you almost don’t even need to ask how much because it is simply priced to perfection.
Todays review is a whisky that pushes the boundaries of many a whisky fan because it strays from the normal, it is not a mainstream maturation but anyone who knows the distillery knows they can trust it and probably just buys without a second thought. They have built up a trust with the consumer and believe me that is very rare these days.
So what do you get for your £75 with this compared to many others within this price bracket ? firstly this is cask strength, it is 15 years old and limited in numbers to what is a limited edition !! it isnt a limited edition of lets say 25,000. The maturation has a finish within Tokaji wine casks, yes ok that might not mean too much to most of you but this is a white wine with a long origin, Tokaji wine was traditionally produced from, yes you guessed it Tokaji which is a region located in Hungry. The history of this wine can be traced back to at least 1630 so it is not surprising this desert wine has managed to find its way into the whisky world.
Glen Moray may not be the first distillery to finish whisky in traditional styles or even the weird and wonderful but they do find themselves doing it for the right reasons ! These finishes are not done because the original casks are tired or just inactive, no, the finishes are planned. Graham Coull who was the Master distiller / Blender at the distillery was very open and honest about these things and was happy to explain the finishing programme for the distillery.
Finishing was always a planned exercise with initial maturation carried out in first fill ex bourbon casks in order to impart a flavoursome and aromatic start to the whisky and give it a backbone that can then be enhanced by a finish to add depth and extra character rather than just to give it enough to be sold due to a poor start.
What is still clear as the distillery moves forward is that they love to innovate and push the boundaries of tradition in order to bring us whisky worth drinking and very reasonable prices..
Its almost like they believe whisky is made for the common man / woman and therefore needs to be affordable to everyone rather than just the elite – what a novel thought process..
15 Year Old 2005 Tokaji Finish – Glen Moray
Distillery.. Glen Moray
Age.. 15 years
Distilled.. October 2005
Casks.. Tokaji wine casks
Nose.. Deep frying pineapple and stewing apple aromas mingle with gooseberries, poached pears and orange rind before honey brings in some sweeter notes. Ginger cake aromas rise along with a cedar like note before going into floral scents which remind me of those early morning walks through rape fields in full bloom.
Palate.. There is an instant tang which soon gives way to sweetness. Ginger and lemon bitterness move into honey and fruit syrups whilst hints of oak tannins creep in. Coffee bean and chocolate offer more bitterness but in a good way before the sweetness once again comes back with caramelised fruits and natural sugars.
Finish.. Spices and Haribo sweets..
Thoughts.. This is certainly left field as far as traditional expectations go but it is something that does not take long to get used to. The flavours are there and once you get used to this it becomes rather refreshing and actually makes you want to explore it further.
This is refreshing and pushes your thought processes just a little more than what we consider traditional, this however might not be for everyone but saying that i really don’t see it offending anyone but rather just having you question if this suits your palate or not..
Well done Glen Moray for pushing the boundaries again..