Glenburgie is one of Chivas Bros.’ workhorse distilleries, and not very much is available officially as a single malt (most of the spirit goes into blends like Ballantine’s). This bottle is part of a 500 ml cask strength series that was initially available only at the group’s distilleries, but has since come to retail in the UK. This is the only one I’ve had from that series–I’m told most everything released in it has been good–and is one of a very small handful of Glenburgies I’ve had. I have, therefore, nothing of interest to tell anyone about the series, the distillery or the general character of the malt.
And so, let’s get right to it.
Glenburgie 15, 1992-2007 (58.8%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Honey, roasted malt, polished wood. Gets quite syrupy with a little bit of time. Rather voluptuous. Some pine, some rye in the distance as well. With time the fruit makes its appearance on the nose as well: a melange of tangerine, pineapple and apricot. Oh my, the apricot really intensifies with time, turning to apricot jam. Water dials back the apricot and emphasizes the citrus; and a very appetizing buttery pastry aroma shows up as well.
Palate: Unctuous. Quite a lot of rich fruit, but somewhat discreet in its fruitiness: stewed apple, citrus, apricot; something tropical too. Some brown butter as well. Hugely drinkable despite the high strength–blind I would have said the abv was in the 40s. With water the fruit gets brighter and more talkative, and a little more acidic; a tad perfumey too.
Finish: Long’ish: the fruit hangs around a bit, with an accent on the citrus and then turns to spicy wood. Water doesn’t alter the finish appreciably. But wait: at the very end the finish gets quite malty.
Comments: Interestingly, I don’t remember this being this fruity when I first opened it. Part of me wonders if this particular type of fruitiness can develop as whiskies of a certain profile sit in bottles with a decent amount of air in them. At any rate, this is somewhat close in profile to the Scott’s Highland Park 1981-2011 I reviewed yesterday. Hard to pick between them: the mouthfeel and finish of this one are superior, but I prefer the Highland Park on the palate; the nose is a push without water but the Glenburgie develops more interestingly with water. So tonight I give the edge, and one more point, to the Glenburgie. Note to self: seek out more Glenburgie.
Rating: 90 points.