Glen Garioch 1797 Founder's Reserve

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Glen_Garioch_FR.jpgThe Glen Garioch ("glen-GEErie") 1797 Founder's Reserve is a single malt that I acquired amongst a number of other miniatures, during an all-too brief shopping spree at the Whisky Exchange shop in London before setting off to Scotland. Alas, due to a faulty zipper on the badly worn backpack which I was travelling with, this little bottle of highland Scotch was lost somewhere between Port Charlotte and Inverness. Determined that neither my own carelessness nor cruel fate would deny me the chance to sample this whisky, I purchased a full sized bottle immediately upon my return to Canada.
Glen Garioch distillery, founded in 1797, is currently operated by Morrison-Bowmore, owned by Suntory, who revamped Glen Garioch's standard product offerings in 2009. These include the Founder's Reserve (no age statement), a 12 year old expression, and several vintage small batch bottlings. Since 1994 all whiskies produced by Glen Garioch have been unpeated.

Nose: Honey, touch of tropical fruit, creamy notes of vanilla and heather. 

Palate: An initial hit of honey, tropical punch and banana cream sweetness is followed by dry grassy and malty notes, with a touch of spice and oats. 

Finish: Butterscotch ripple, apple and lemon, and gentle wood smoke, with an appropriate alcohol kick. 

Overall: Starts out with a lot of honey and fruity sweetness, but the heather, oat and spice characteristics develop more slowly and take you through to the finish. This is quite a soft, supple dram that clings to the glass but moves softly down the palate. The unusual 48% ABV level seems just about right for a whisky with this profile, as the stronger-than-average alcohol bite balances just right against the mellow, sweet flavours. Adding a moderate amount of water to the dram brings the vanilla front and center on the nose, draws out the citrus in the palate, but takes too much of the heat out of the finish. Retailing for $52.95 in the LBCO, this bottle is a good value for fans of sweeter, fruitier Highland and Speyside malts.

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