Glen Garioch distillery pictures

People always ask me what whiskies I love, which are my favourites. And, I’ve mentioned before on the site that, while I don’t have a single favourite whisky, I do have a set of ones I consider as falling into my go-to category, ones that will always be in my cupboard.

One of those is the Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve – a spicy, Highland malt that – while only around 10 years of age – has loads of layers, can hold up to food pairings and is perfect for a cold, winter’s evening.

As mentioned in my recent distillery feature, Glen Garioch is not only a wonderful, under-the-radar whisky, but a wonderful place to go and visit.

It’s also one that was nearly lost to the fates of time – closed down in the 1990s, it left many locals without a job and a hole in the distillery’s history. It is lucky then that Suntory decided to revive and renovate it, reopening the distillery in 1997.

At that time, the distillery moved away from its traditional peated style (any bottles from up until 1995 will still have an element of peated malt in their character) to an un-peated style.

It is this that the recently released Glen Garioch Renaissance collection will focus on – the whisky from the early days of it restarting, which show off the new life of this great old workhorse.

The series will include a 15, 16, 17 and 18-year old release, launched every year for the next four and meant as a way to attract collectors. At a price point of £80 it’s not out of the price range of regular consumers who want to have a wee special bottle to treat themselves to. Around 12,000 bottles are being released globally and the whisky has been bottled at 51.9% and non-chill filtered.

Here are my thoughts on this new release, with my thanks to the company for providing a sample for me to review.

Glen GariochGlen Garioch Renaissance: 51.9%: £80:

(c): Golden Sugar

(n): Pine cones and brown sugar, caramelised apples and pecan pie. Then, blackcurrant jujubes and blackberry stems, and a slight sour note across that hits the back of the nose. With water: more winey and berried, along with floral honey.

(p): Mid-weight palate and quite fresh at first before darker, richer berry and chocolate notes. Too spicy at full strength for me personally. With water: blackberries and liquorice followed by fresh wood and marzipan.

(f): Wonderful currant and powered candy note. With water: black peppercorns and honey.

In conclusion: A powerful, punchy dram that definitely needs (and holds up to) water. Fruity and fresh, but not too cloying on the sticky fruit note. Enjoyable for certain, though still can’t beat the Founder’s or the 1995 Vintage release for me.