Glenburgie 1995 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Review 2017-005 «Specifics» Single malt • Cask Strength series • Vintage 1995 • Bottled in 2016 • 57.9% Alcohol • Matured for 21 years in a first-fill sherry puncheon (#6346) • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Sourced from Glenburgie (Speyside, Scotland) • Bottled by Gordon & MacPhail (GM) • Elgin • Scotland • Limited availability (undisclosed number of bottles) • Very difficult to find (price was ±€125) • Whiskybase #89040

STORY. This time I tasted a 21-year-old Glenburgie, put into a first-fill sherry puncheon in 1995, and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2016. A first for me, as I have never laid my hands on a Glenburgie before. First impression: beautiful colour, impressive nose, cannot wait to taste this. Glenburgie is one of the lesser known distilleries. Owned by Pernod-Ricard, it is mostly used for blends such as Ballentine’s and Old Smuggler. Apparantly, between 1958 and 1981 a special malt named Glencraig was produced at this distillery, which stopped when the Lomond stills were replaced by normal neck stills. Afterwards, production halted completely between 2000 and 2004, when the distillery was rebuild except for the old stills that were accompanied by two more stills in 2006. You can find Glenburgie regurlarly with the independent bottlers, including Gordon & MacPhail.

TASTING NOTES

   

APPEARANCE. Stylish and recognizable design, colour of the contents is dark mahogany brown with dense Scottish myst in the glass after adding water and is sherry coloured.

NOSE. At first it is full of speculoos spices, old wood, leather, milk chocolate and golden raisins. An absolutely beautiful greasy, and bold nose. The fruitiness is appearing next with juicy plums and dried apricots. A complex nose. (water) There is more acidity coming up with some pink grapefruits, which actually works well to balance the heavy sherry influence. Furthermore, there are freshly baked cinnamon buns, raw cacao, chocolate milk and sticky toffee pudding. You would almost think we’re ending up in some bake off. In addition, there are glazed chestnuts, or rather brazil nuts, then some varnish develops, which subdues some of the complexity.

TASTE. I find leather, raisins and chocolate cake. So far we’re up in sherry cask territory. It is strong and powerful. In addition, I find cinnamon powder. (water) There is more dry cinnamon powder and cacao powder. It is punchy, spicy, with lots of sherry wood spices, black coffee bitterness. Then add to that some drops of orange juice, olive oil and chestnut puree with a bit too much pepper. The finish is long on spices, toffee, and cinnamon cookies.

VERDICT. This is some great first encounter with this distillery. The cask has been rather active, but leaves enough room for the distillery (I think, since I do not know the exact nature of the latter). I love the nose, but the palate remained a little more subdued by the wood influence. There is luckily a long-lasting finish though.

Recommended for cask influence enthusiasts who want to try Glenburgie.

Thanks to Henri for the sample!

What others say

MY SCORE
Nose
87 %
Taste
85.5 %
Balance
84 %
Depth
86 %
Price
82 %