Glenburgie remains one of the great unsung Scottish distilleries. Almost all their production goes into Chivas Bros.’ blends—mostly into Ballantine’s, I believe. I don’t believe there is any official Glenburgie beyond entries in the 500 ml “Cask Strength Edition” series sold in the group’s distilleries’ shops. This lack of recognition is really a shame as bourbon cask Glenburgie is almost always at least very good and can be very, very good indeed. I’ve not reviewed very many on the blog but Glenburgies always catch my eye and I purchase them when the opportunity arises. I can’t remember when it was that I purchased this one (my usually dependable spreadsheet fails me on this occasion) but it is the oldest Glenburgie I’ve yet had. Older doesn’t always mean better: sometimes it can just mean oakier (of course, it also always means “more expensive”). This one, I am happy to say, is very good—I opened it for my local group’s premium tasting earlier this year and it went down a treat. Here now is my review.
Glenburgie 29, 1983 (53.4%; Signatory; bourbon hogshead #9820; from my own bottle)
Nose: Baked apple, toffee, polished oak, mulched leaves. Some citrus too (orange) and some powdered ginger. The orange picks up as it sits and edges over to marmalade/apricot jam territory. With water there’s pastry crust and some buttercream.
Palate: As promised by the nose but with less apple and more orange and apricot. Lovely soft texture at full strength. Sweeter as it goes and there’s also pine resin and wax. With more time the ginger and oak from the finish start showing up earlier (nothing tannic about the bite). A little sharper and metallic with water at first but then the fruit expands.
Finish: Medium-long. The ginger and oak are the lingering notes. Fruitier here too with water.
Comments: Lovely bourbon cask whisky with a good balance between the fruit and oak. It’s only missing some complexity: a little more depth on the fruit, a little more richness and it would be headed for the next tier. Man, Glenburgie can be so good—I wish there was more of it about.
Rating: 88 points.