Glen Ord is a somewhat nondescript Highland distillery located west of Inverness. It produces a vast quantity of malt whisky, roughly 5 million liters, every year and also contains a major maltings plant that supplies not only the distillery itself by also other distilleries.
This particular whisky was bottled from a single ex-bourbon cask at a very hefty 60.1% without chill filtration or coloring.
Thanks to Florin for the sample.
AD Rattray Glen Ord 12 Year/1998 Cask #24
Nose: *very* grain-driven, kind of sour, berry esters, honey, oatmeal, light new make notes, green apples, lemon/pineapple/melon rind, woody vanilla, slightly floral and musky/bacon-y. After adding a few drops of water, the grain becomes softer, fatter, and more honied, the musky notes gain strength, and raisins and cherries pop out, giving it more refill sherry character.
Taste: berry/malt/honey sweetness throughout, sour green fruits/pineapple up front, fading into berry/fruit esters, toasted oak tannins, and vegetal/floral green malt notes. After dilution, it becomes much sweeter overall, the fruit (cherry, especially) and wood take on an exceptional balance and the alcohol is toned down but still leaves a lingering burn at the back alongside some grassy notes.
Finish: new make malt, lots of heat, sour pineapple, ethereal berries, and bittersweet wood
This is everything hinted at by the Singleton of Glen Ord bottling turned up to 11. The alcohol can often be overwhelming and it helps to air out the whisky before drinking it.
I really, really like the nose - it's just about everything you could want out of a younger bourbon cask malt. Lots of ester formation gives it all sorts of aromatic notes without getting muddled. The palate doesn't quite live up to the promise of the nose, but delivers pretty well. I didn't think it improved with water, despite the alcohol getting turned down a bit. Overall I can definitely see why Florin wishes he could by more.
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