Monday, January 25, 2016

Whisky Review: James MacArthur Glen Ord 12 Year 1998-2011

Not a lot to say about Glen Ord. Let's get to the tasting notes ASAP.

This whisky was distilled in 1998, filled into what I am guessing was a refill hogshead, then bottled at 45% in 2011.

Thanks to Michael Kravitz for the sample. See his review for a different perspective.

James MacArthur Glen Ord 12 Year 1998-2011 Cask #27

Nose: lots of new make character - green malt, green grass, and sour berry notes - apples/pears, plastic, lemon/citrus peel; with time the new make element settle down and integrate, becoming softer and more rounded with a touch of smoked meat, baking spices, and floral notes. After adding a few drops of water, it becomes even more restrained, with everything but the sweet malt and vanilla condensing into a slightly musky note.

Taste: very sweet up front, fades through fizzy herbal/grassy notes, citrus, fresh malt, slightly sour berries, vanilla, and almost imperceptible oak at the back. After dilution the sweetness becomes slightly more restrained with strong grape and berry notes coming out in the middle, and the herbal/grassy notes are pushed to the back where more oak and spice notes come out.

Finish: fresh malt, bittersweet, herbal/grassy

This reads almost perfectly in between my two previous experiences with similarly aged Glen Ords - a 40% Singleton bottling and a 60.1% A.D. Rattray single cask. The Singleton was arguably more flawless, but flatter and less interesting. The Rattray was a big alcoholic beast and took a while to tame, but eventually developed a lot of good character. The MacArther's initial new make character was rather off-putting, but once that burned off it transformed into a competent but not exactly gripping single malt. At $40 or less I would grab some both as an easy-drinking single malt and as solid blend fodder, but what's currently left appears to be 50-100% more expensive.

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