I was not a big fan of the last Glenburgie I reviewed. That one, a 21 yo and also bottled by Signatory, was part of K&L’s uninspiring lot of single casks from late 2016. This one was bottled for Binny’s in Chicago—in 2014, I believe—and is in fact a sibling of another K&L cask, also 19 years old and from 1995 (K&L got cask 6449 and Binny’s got 6450). Well, I always say that when it comes to bourbon cask whisky I trust the Binny’s selection process far more than that of any other store in the US, and when first opened this bottle bore that out in spades: it was a perfect mix of oak and big fruit with tropical accents. I’d opened it for one of my local group’s tastings and it handily thumped the competition that night. Alas, with time and air in the bottle the fruit seems to have subsided somewhat on the palate—my last couple of small pours did not feature that explosion of fruit. Well, who knows, maybe it will come back again as the bottle sits [foreshadowing].
Glenburgie 19, 1995 (56%; Signatory; bourbon hogshead #6450; from my own bottle)
Nose: Toasted oak and orange (zest and juice). The oak gets pricklier on the second sniff and there’s a very mild phenolic note as well; a little more acidic too now. Gets fruitier as it goes and that phenolic hint disappears. More citrus with water.
Palate: Pretty much as advertised by the nose with the toasted oak and orange. But as I swallow the fruit expands with apricot and some pineapple joining the party. Nice mouthfeel. Gets more acidic as it goes and the tropical fruit from the finish starts showing up earlier and gets bigger with each sip. A bigger hit of citrus with water—and it’s now lemon rather than orange; the oak gets a little spicier too.
Finish: Long. Creamier oak at first and then a burst of tropical fruit (mango, guava). As on the palate, the fruit expands with time and then with water.
Comments: Hallelujah, a lot of the fruit did already come back! This is very close to K&L’s sibling Signatory cask #6449, but the tropical fruit on the palate and finish pulls it past that one. I wish I had another bottle. At one point I think Binny’s had it discounted to $70—it would have been a very good deal at $100. And as of this writing, if you live in the Chicago area there are a couple of Binny’s locations that might still have it for $90: go get one, you won’t regret it.
Rating: 88 points. (When first opened I would have said 89, going on 90.)