As I’ve never purchased a mini and do not accept samples (not that anyone has yet offered) I am not entirely sure where this mini of the Glen Garioch 12 came from. I suspect that it was included in an old order from the Whisky Exchange as part of some Morrison-Bowmore promotion but I’m not certain. At any rate, I feel comfortable posting reviews of freebies received well before I had even thought about having a blog (this may or may not be a contravention of my protocols). I do know I’ve had it for quite some time. I’ve never felt particularly motivated to taste it as a full bottle generally goes in the range of $50 in the US, and that’s usually above what I’m willing to pay for a 12 yo non-cask strength malt. But a local store currently has it on sale for a little below $40 so it seems like a good time to see if it’s any good (this review is being written in mid-September).
Glen Garioch 12 (48%; from a 50 ml mini of uncertain origin)
The label says it’s from a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. And a sticker on the rear notes (in German) that it has the dread caramel colouring in it. This sticker also identifies this mini as originating in the UK/Europe as that disclosure does not appear in American releases.
Nose: Can’t say I’m getting a terrible lot from it at first or second sniff. There’s an indistinct sweetness and some more of the gingeriness that I am provisionally thinking I should begin to associate with recent’ish Glen Garioch. A little bit of polished wood with time and there may be some fruit lurking behind it too. Yes, there’s definitely some fruit, but I can’t quite pick it. Maybe some more time or water will help. With time, some citrus and pepper and a hint of melon; with water, there’s quite a lot of lime peel
Palate: Raisiny sweetness but not much depth to it. Far less hot than the Founder’s Reserve at the same strength. Some spice too (cinnamon? clove?). With more time there’s more lime (sorry about the rhyme; then again, it’s no crime; okay, I’ll stop) and something floral as well. Water adds pepper to the lime and there’s a little hint of peach too now. Gets sweeter as it goes.
Finish: Medium. Sweet turning bitter. Some peppery bite. With time and water the citrus hangs on into the finish as well and the bitternes goes away.
Comments: Whereas the old 8 yo started out strong and then faded a little, this one grew on me as I let it sit. Maybe I needed to do a better job of clearing my palate (I drank this right after the 8 yo). At first I was pretty sure I was going to pass on a bottle but now I can’t quite decide.
Rating: 84 points.