Two of the best “Thirty-Somethings” I’ve had in 2011 – One is a 35yo Glenglassaugh and the other a 37yo Glen Grant

Before the year is out, I wanted to make sure that I post up my reviews of two of my favorite whiskies I tasted this year.  Both are in their thirties and are from a single ex-sherry cask.  The Glen Grant was bottled by Duncan Taylor back in 2007 and the Glenglassaugh is an OB and is the first in a new set of releases entitled: “The Chosen Few“.

The first bottle in "The Chosen Few" series - Ronnie chose a damn fine cask of whisky - 35yo Sherry cask

You might my mentioning a little detail about Glenglassaugh’s “The Chosen Few” series a little while back.  As a reminder (and so as to toot my own horn):

When looking to name this series of single cask bottlings, Ronnie Routledge posted a contest on the Friends of Glenglassaugh Facebook page looking for a name for the range and yours truly (that’s me, Joshua Hatton, by the way) picked the winning name:  The Chosen Few.

Even if I hadn’t had the winning name I still would have chosen this whisky as one of my favorites for 2011:

Glenglassaugh – Highland region – The Chosen Few – Ronnie Routledge – 49.6%ABV£290 | $450

On the nose  There’s a good mix of interesting things going on in here.  A wood paneled pantry full of powdered sweets on a hot and humid summer’s day.

Lemony sugared pinwheels (or perhaps candied lemons – I love finding this note; you should try one sometime) as well as bruised, or perhaps, overripe peaches.

Tinned pineapple, walnut shells and huge notes of juicy mango.  More tropical that I expected.

Some wisps of smoke in the background (??).

My grandparent’s afghan from their finished basement storage somewhere around 1984.

You can smell the age here but it doesn’t smell old or tired in anyway.  All of those candied notes balance off the wood panel & stored afghan scents I got (which are not bad notes at all.  Left unbalanced by the sweetness well, then it’d be a different story…).  Lovely nose.

On the mouth Fantastic attack with a great combination of youthful fizziness (a seeming effervescence) and a strong sweetness (light fruit compote) without being cloying in anyway.

Licorice and spiced dried fruit pastries.  This is yummy,yummy, yummy stuff!!

A second sip in and I notice that the tannins kick in pretty quickly but that dryness is accompanied by some of those powder sugar candies I got on the nose (as Spock would say, Fascinating).

Finish Spicy and long on the finish.  Wow, really long with notes of spiced berries and even some cranberry/ginger relish in there.

In sum  Complex, intriguing and so very balanced.  Ronnie Routledge chose insanely well.  I was so sad to see my sample go.  I took my sweet time with it.  If you have the funds, I suggest you pick up a bottle and start exploring.

Special thanks goes out to Iain over at dramperday.com for the sample.  You can read his thoughts on this fine whisky right here (you’ll see that he LOVED it too).

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Glen Grant – Speyside region – 51.5%ABV – Duncan Taylor Cask # 3480 1970/2007$299

On the nose Forceful nose; like a high school senior boy after the prom.

Giving this just a little time to air out will make a difference, methinks.

Bitter cherries, cherry skins & stones/pits, prunes and potpourri.

Floral and bitter and deep inside notes of heated, over-cinnamoned apple sauce.

Oak furniture, fresh potting soil and party balloons.

A nicely sherried nose showing depth and age but I’m afraid that all of those bitter notes will prove over oaken on the palate.  Let’s see…

On the mouth I LOVE it when I’m wrong!  All sorts going on in here but let’s start off with the fact that this has a a nice oily mouthfeel from the outset.   Yes, it gets a bit dry but nowhere near as dry and oaky as I expected.  Thank G-d!

Now, on with the flavor:  Cherry Cola, honey reduction, Sweet cherry pie filling (minus the pie crust), the taste of the smell of potpourri, baked pear and solid rolled cinnamon bark.

No sign of sulphur, match sticks in this one.

Holiday brown bread and boozy raisins, walnuts and some dark chocolates.

Finish Long, spiced, really long… warming and soothing, oak and warmed butter biscuits.

In sum A fantastic single cask of whisky! This one surprised me.  I was truly expecting an over oaken old fuddy-duddy but no.  There’s a ton of personality and balance in here.  A well chosen cask!

Special thanks goes out to Mike W for the sample!!

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