As mentioned in the recent feature on Girvan grain distillery – found here – the company is in the process of launching a new brand to market called The Girvan Patent Still.
The first of the launches was for the 25 year old, which took place in October. I tried it then but as I was heading up to the Girvan distillery in November, held off reviewing the new release until now.
As background, the new range will comprise a series of single grain whiskies from the William Grant & Sons owned distillery, in order to broaden the styles of whiskies the company has on shelves.
Many people have commented about the pricing structure of these whiskies – the 25 year old, for instance, has hit the market around the £250 price point. As such, it is not one that someone can quite so easily get their hands on.
A less expensive, non-age statement whisky (which, I should mention I’ve been told will mostly contain grain whisky around the 12-15 year old mark) is due to hit shelves in March and retail around £70, while a more limited edition 30-year old is also due to launch around the same time with a price point unknown as yet. A 28-year old is also set to be released in travel retail [duty free] exclusively later this year. All are to be bottled at natural colour and non-chill filtered.
I’ve had the chance to sample the three first releases while up at the distillery, along with a special cask sample from 1969. Here is what I thought of each of them:
No Age Statement: Girvan Patent Still Single Grain: 42.9%:
Made from a combination of first and refill American oak ex-bourbon casks.
(n): A slight dustiness to the nose at first, before a nice bit of vanilla and peach comes through; good floral (yellow flowers) quality came through after some airing too.
(p): Lots of rich oiliness to the palate, along with notes of waxy, cream and a bit of wood. Well balanced with good bit of spiciness.
25 Year Old: Girvan Patent Still Single Grain: 42%:
Made from a mix of first fill and refill ex-bourbon casks and a small proportion of ex-sherry butts.
(n): Warmer and spicier than the NAS with a nice nutty note, along with some vanilla caramels. With water, more fruity notes emerge in the form of a sweet citrus (almost a 7UP or Ginger Beer quality).
(p): Nice and gently sweet with lots of that sticky grain quality coming through. A bit bitter. With water, some coffee and chocolate notes emerge making for a pleasing dram.
30 Year Old: Girvan Patent Still Single Grain:
For this release, the proportion of first fill ex-bourbon casks was increased compared to the 25 year old and the ex-sherry butts were also included.
(n): Creamy and warming with a lovely nutmeg spice on the nose. Slight dusty, hay note too and much sweeter than the 25 year old.
(p): Quite drying with loads of vanilla sweetness coming through. Opens up a lot on the palate with water, giving nice ripe peach notes.
1969 Single Cask, Girvan single grain:
From a first fill European oak ex-sherry butt.
(n): Beautifully rich with notes of raisins, dark chocolate, cinnamon bark, sticky vanilla pods, oranges and cherries – a real powerhouse on the nose.
(p): Multi-layered palate, ranging from black cherries, to licorice, aniseed balls and finally tinned pineapples. Move through the layers wonderfully to finish on a nice, bittersweet coffee note.