Following my recent review of a 20 yo from 1990 bottled by Kintra Whisky here is a 21 yo from Whiskybase’s Archives label, also from 1990. It was tasted, and these notes taken, right after the Kintra. It will not surprise you to learn that I found these to be similar in many ways. I also found them to be quite different from the current official releases that I’ve reviewed. Of course, that may simply be a function of these being single casks and being much older. They do make me want to seek out more Glen Garioch from the 1980s and earlier. Anyway, let’s get to the notes.
Glen Garioch 21, 1990 (54%; Hogshead #252, Archives; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Much richer than the Kintra with more malt, more toasted wood and a nice dose of peppery citrus (lemon peel, grapefruit). Faint hints of soot at first that gets a little more pronounced and minerally with time. With even more time those notes recede and its the citrus (bitter lemon peel) that presides. A couple of drops of water and time bring out rich apricot notes and some polished wood.
Palate: As with the other the minerally, oily, sooty note is quite distinct but there’s more lemon and more malty sweetness. On the second sip it’s the lemon (lemon peel, really) that leads and it’s more peppery now too. Very drinkable at full strength. With more time there’s other fruit too (apricot, maybe a bit of plum) and honey. Water doesn’t bring out more fruit on the palate but the polished wood is here too now.
Finish: Medium-long. Again, not very much development on the finish but it does hang around a while with the lemon peel bitterness the strongest note. With water the fruit brightens up and the bitterness goes away.
Comments: This is very clearly a sibling of the Kintra bottle, just less austere. The added fruit here is really a plus, especially with water, and takes it into the next tier. This is still available–I might have to think about a bottle.
Rating: 87 points. (85 without water.)