Jim Murray has apparently deemed a Glendullan to be the best something or the other. This is not that Glendullan. This is also not the Singleton of Glendullan, the 12 yo from that distillery that used to be the most ubiquitous, or more accurately, the only ubiquitous Glendullan in the US. No, this is a single cask bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for Binny’s in 2012 or thereabouts. In other words, this is an extremely untimely review: I doubt anyone at Binny’s or Gordon & MacPhail even remembers this whisky. But that’s what I’m here for: to make sure we never forget these one-off releases from Scotland’s third and fourth tier distilleries, to resist the relentless pressure of the now. Or maybe I just randomly review whatever’s at hand. Can you tell that I have nothing to say about this distillery, which mostly produces for Diageo’s blends? I’ve only ever reviewed one other—a Cadenhead’s release from a couple of years ago that was nice enough. Let’s see what this one is like.
Glendullan 12, 1999 (55.2%; G&M for Binny’s; cask #13770; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Prickly, vaguely grassy at first sniff but there’s a solid malty core below that with some stewed apple and cereal. After a minute there’s some citrus to go with the apple and after a bit longer some berries and some oak. Really quite nice. Water brightens up the nose, pulling out more of the citrus (lemon)
Palate: Malty with an indistinct sweetness and some oaky bite that expands and gets a bit astringent as I swallow. Drinkable enough at full strength but I have to think this will be better diluted. Most of the good stuff from the nose is barely palpable on the palate: it’s not bad but it’s anonymous. Far less oaky with water and some of the lemon pops out here too now.
Finish: Medium-long. It’s the oak that dominates here as well. Some pepper at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I really liked the nose but neat, it was a bit of a letdown on the palate. Better with water on the palate but better without on the nose. So I guess if I had more I’d nose it for a good long while and then drink it down with water.
Rating: 80 points. (85 if scoring only the nose, and 78 if scoring everything without water.)
Thanks to Florin for the sample!