This Glen Ord was part of the fourth release of Whiskybase’s Archives series in 2012. I don’t think they’d started selling samples then and though I was very intrigued—I’ve not had too many Glen Ords but I’ve liked all the ones I’ve tried quite a lot—I was put off chancing my arm on a full bottle by the low scores it received from the Whiskybase community. And then I kind of forgot about it. Recently, however, I noticed it was still available at the store and that samples were now also available, and so here I am. What a deeply uninteresting introduction this has been. Let me see if I can manage another paragraph that can compete with it.
The Glen Ord distillery is the last distillery remaining on the Black Isle in the northern highlands. The Black Isle is not an island at all but a peninsula and therefore is not the setting of the early Tintin story, The Black Island, which was one of the first Tintins I ever read—the other was King Ottokar’s Sceptre. I believe The Black Island was my sister’s and the other was mine. There’s no distillery in The Black Island (and no Captain Haddock) but Tintin’s dog Snowy gets drunk on Loch Lomond whisky. Okay, this paragraph may possibly be more interesting than the previous; but the interesting bits are mostly redundant as I’ve gone over it all before here. What do I win?
Glen Ord 15, 1997 (54.2%; Archives; hogshead 800083; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Sour, almost vinegary notes to start but they transition quickly into tart apple. Muskier, maltier notes emerge below the apple and there’s a bit of lemon too. Very fresh and bracing. Just a hint of grassiness too. After a bit there are sweeter notes—hard candy of some kind. Not too much change with water.
Palate: Sweeter entry on the palate but the acid is right behind it. Lemon and lemon zest with some powdered sugar. On the second sip it’s all about the lemon and there’s some muskier fruit too (a bit of melon, maybe a hint of tart pineapple). Very nice oily mouthfeel. Gets a little chalkier with time with maybe a little gooseberry tartness too—it’s almost a whisky version of sauvignon blanc. Okay, time for some water. With a drop or two of water it’s much rounder, with the acid pushed back and more malty notes emerging.
Finish: Long. The lemon just keeps going, getting more zesty as it goes. Almost no wood impact. Still quite acidic with water but now there’s a menthol coolness too.
Comments: This is flawless whisky. You have to like this clean, zesty style. It’s not the sexiest profile—leave aside intense sherry and/or peat there isn’t even intense fruit here—and there’s not a terrible lot of development but this would be the perfect whisky for a summer evening. And on any other evening you could pair it very easily with some nice goat cheese (or any other cheese, really). I’m seriously considering a bottle—it’s very reasonably priced and there’s not much left.
Rating: 85 points.