New Whiskies

Batch 129

by
Batch 129: Glen Moray, GlenDronach, Glengoyne, Glenmorangie, Orkney, Pulteney

Perhaps it’s the recent memory of festive desserts and treats, but Dave Broom detects a sweet theme running through this year’s first batch of new whisky reviews, from a characteristic Glen Moray to a classically oily Pulteney.

That Glen Moray is one of a pair of single malts bottled by North Star Spirits, and both impress Broom in different ways: while the Moray is sweetly suited to being drunk as a chilled aperitif, a 17-year-old, smoky Orkney (now where could that be from?) retains a flavour of Christmas – think mince pies and Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

There’s more peat in an unusual GlenDronach, finished in Port casks and with the look (but thankfully not the taste) of dentists’ mouthwash. Instead it evokes nostalgia for a classic sweetie advert.

This week also features two malts from Cadenhead’s, and again they bring contrasting pleasures: that Pulteney with its mouthcoating oiliness, and a mature Glengoyne with leathery depths and Demerara-like softness.

That character links it with the final malt in the line-up, travel retail exclusive Glenmorangie Cadboll. Finished in sweet wine casks, it’s a decadent and ostentatious whisky that brings to mind a classic turn from comic genius Spike Milligan. All together now…

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glen Moray 9 Years Old (North Star Spirits)

    Glen Moray 9 Years Old (North Star Spirits)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Very sweet (a persistent theme with the whiskies this week), therefore also very Glen Moray. There’s hints of lychee, some golden syrup, Williams pear, and some elderflower. In time, there’s more of a floral, freesia-like element and some more weight, with the sweetness sitting underneath. Water adds some light straw, then more of the cordial elements.

    Palate

    Sweet again, and fairly hot, but with lemon meringue pie. The high alcohol (and low cask influence) accentuates the acidity. Light, but rather good. It needs a fair bit of water to balance but, while you want to dial down the heat, you also don’t want to lose the perkiness, which now moves to lemon and ginger.

    Finish

    Neat is hot, but spicy and lightly acidic with water.

    Conclusion

    Spring has come early! A cool aperitif. Chill it down.

    Right place, right time

    Sugar sandwich, white bread, butter.

    GlenDronach Peated Port Wood

    GlenDronach Peated Port Wood
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    As pink as dentists’ mouthwash, with briary fruits and woodsmoke (so it does what it says on the label). There’s also hints of wet wool, some cherry pie and, while the smoke initially has the upper hand, this reverses itself as you let it breathe. That said, it seems light for a GlenDronach. Water brings out drier notes. Pleasant.

    Palate

    A light smoked effect over some gentle, fleshy fruits with some cranberry and strawberry to the fore. Soft, creamy and balanced, albeit quite light on the mid-palate.

    Finish

    Soft, simple and easy with light smoke.

    Conclusion

    A diversion for GlenDronach and, while well put together, it doesn’t excite.

    Right place, right time

    ‘I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t tasted it.’

    Glengoyne 21 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Glengoyne 21 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.9%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Rich and almost liqueur-like, with rich, soft fruits, stewed apple, apricot, some rhubarb and light oak with a hint of char. In time, a light green apple element adds bite. Water brings out drier elements, but there’s depth here and a mature leathery element as it grows in the glass.

    Palate

    That gentle maturity is seen on the palate from the off, but the chilli pepper heat is quite abrasive. When it is softened with water, there’s a Demerara-like softness alongside those soft fruits.

    Finish

    Hot when neat. When diluted, some bitter chocolate comes through.

    Conclusion

    More maturity showing than the Glenmo’ [see below], but in a similar camp. Recommended.

    Right place, right time

    Eve’s pudding with custard.

    Glenmorangie Cadboll

    Glenmorangie Cadboll
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel Retail Exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Quite rich, with excellent distillery character with lots of sweet citrus and passion fruit, some stewed peach and melted chocolate – like walking into the warmth of a pâtisserie on a cold day. In time there’s a light musky element, along with some heavy orchid house aromas, some tonka. In time and with water, more of a pot still-like juiciness comes through. Showy and almost ostentatious, but there’s just enough controlling steeliness. With water there’s vanilla ice cream with red berries and mint.

    Palate

    Soft and yielding, with light barley sugar, some buttery elements and more red fruit – raspberry especially. Though thick to start with, it’s a little light on the mid-palate. The addition of water helps to fill the mouth and adds some caramel toffee and more fresh fruits.

    Finish

    Light oak and bitter spices.

    Conclusion

    Finished in French sweet wine casks, this is a decadent dessert dram. A cousin to the Glengoyne.

    Right place, right time

    Everything’s fresh today!

    Orkney 17 Years Old (North Star Spirits)

    Orkney 17 Years Old (North Star Spirits)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Robust, full and mellow with hot cross bun, rum and raisin, and mince pie filling (raisin, sweet spice, candied peel, crystallised ginger), then set honey and, in time, some smoke. Dilution brings out more smoke, some light Parma Violet and cedar-like cigar box elements.

    Palate

    A glossy, and smoky, start and, like everything this week, sweet. It has a soft, silky texture with just enough tannin to add grip and balance. There’s orange zest, then liquorice and dark chocolate. Chewy and round. The water pulls all the elements together, bringing up some vanilla and then a dive into dried and cooked black fruits.

    Finish

    Clean with some smoke. Lingering, with raisin and liquorice.

    Conclusion

    Aged in ex-Bourbon, then finished in PX and hailing from an undisclosed Orcadian distillery. Guess which one. Highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    Mince pies, Terry’s Chocolate Orange? It’s the bottom of your Christmas stocking (next to a peat fire).

    Pulteney 11 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Pulteney 11 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    This opens with Pulteney’s wilder – or shall we say bracing – side. Lean and spicy, with sumac and the tempting aroma of a freshly-opened bag of cider vinegar and sea salt crisps. In time there’s some lemon (with pith) and a green, celery-like edge. Then it starts to mellow and show more mature edges, with more cask and weight. Water shows oxidised notes, a hint of cask and toffee.

    Palate

    Oily and, yes, sweet. Classic Pulteney in the manner in which the oiliness gives a slippery, mouthcoating texture. There’s some white chocolate ganache elements, then an almost burnt cereal, ale-like element before it sharpens on the back-palate. Add water to make things soft and to accentuate the oils, as well as more lemon to add freshness and balance.

    Finish

    Salty.

    Conclusion

    A very intriguing Pulteney. Worth seeking out.

    Right place, right time

    After the obligatory New Year’s Day walk along the cliffs, we seek refuge in the pub.

Scroll To Top