Friday, August 25, 2017

Hepburn's Choice Glenlossie 17 Year/1997 for K&L

Much like my review of a Whisky Galore Glenlossie earlier this week, there's not much to say about this one. So let's get right to the tasting notes.

The whisky was distilled in 1997, filled into a hogshead, then bottled in 2015 at 55.4% without coloring or chill filtration.

Thanks to Michael Kravitz for making this split possible.

Hepburn's Choice Glenlossie 17 Year/1997 for K&L

Nose: very oak driven, buttery wood, peanut butter, herbal, sweet malt, vague fruitiness. After adding a few drops of water the oak becomes more assertive and drier, something like soy sauce pops out.

Taste: sweet oak up front, a fair amount of heat with fruit esters on top around the middle. After dilution the heat in the middle dies down, the fruit notes become stronger and more distinct, and the oak takes on a savory character around the back.

Finish: lingering sweet oak, malt, ethereal fruit, savory

For once I have to say that this was exactly what the K&L notes suggested that it would be - a fairly simple, oak-driven malt. If that's a style you enjoy, this was a pretty decent buy at $70, which, as they note, is comparable to what Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year used to be priced at. But personally I'm not too broken up about the fact that I only went in for a third of a bottle - this is a more oak-heavy style than I usually enjoy without big fruit notes or peat to balance the tannic elements.

As I usually do with cask strength whiskies, I tried diluting this down to see how that changed it.

Diluted to 50%

Nose: moderate oak, honey, oats, roasted peanuts, a little vanilla and plum/sherry

Taste: balanced sweetness, vanilla, and oak throughout, a touch of generic fruit in the middle, a little drier towards the back, not much development

Finish: moderate oak tannins, sweet malt

While there's nothing overtly wrong with this strength, it's kind of boring. The oak isn't acerbic, but it dominates both the aromas and flavors, without much fruit to give it some interest. It's like thinner bourbon with a shrug.

Diluted to 45%

Nose: gentle toasted oak, caramel, a touch of generic fruit, light vanilla, something savory

Taste: gentle buttery oak throughout, solvent-y fruit esters in the middle, creamy malt and oak at the back

Finish: dry malt, a little sharp, moderately tannic oak, vague fruitiness

While still pretty oak-driven, this is a much softer mode for this malt. It's not something that gets me excited, but it's nice and easy drinking. A solid component for a blend.

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