I’ve noted a number of times that I was less than impressed with what I tasted of K&L’s selections for 2013 (most of which showed up in early 2014 for reasons outside their control). Despite having resolved to “try before buying” as far as possible for their future selections I was predictably unable to resist getting some of their 2014 selections when they showed up early this year. I’ve already reviewed one of these, the Hepburn’s Choice Craigellachie 18, which I quite liked. The other two that I purchased are both cask strength bottles from Signatory (though in the livery of the regular UCF series rather than the decanters—a change I welcome heartily). One is a Glenburgie 19 that I hope to review soon; the other is this Glen Ord 17. Both of these are distilleries whose malts I enjoy more often than not, and both of these are also distilleries whose malts are not often available in the US—which is my way of justifying my lack of self-control. Anyway, let’s see what this is like.
Glen Ord 17, 1997 (58.3%; Signatory for K&L; bourbon hogshead 800089; from my own bottle)
Nose: Toasted oak, honey, malt. With a bit of air a mellow fruitiness develops: apricot, a touch of lemon peel. With a lot more time the lemon peel gets more zesty and is the top note. With a lot more time (as in “got distracted for almost 40 minutes”) it gets maltier too. With a couple of drops of water it gets muskier first and then creamier and a bit floral. Another minute and there’s some ripe white peach and then the lemon turns into citronella.
Palate: Very much as on the nose on arrival but then the fruit gets more intense. The oak expands too: spicier and more peppery now; and more bitter lemon peel/zest too (and a touch of ginger too). Nice oily mouthfeel. It’s expressive neat but does taste a bit hot and so: water. Sweeter now and the lemon and oak are more integrated.
Finish: Long. Nothing new: the lemon peel and oak ease out together. Not much change here with water.
Comments: This is a lot more wood-forward than I normally like but it comes together nicely with water (which I strongly recommend adding). Neat, it’s more straightforwardly pleasurable (without much development or complexity) but with water it opens up nicely on the nose and becomes more balanced on the palate. I’m tempted to get another.
Rating: 86 points.