It’s been a while since Michael K. and I did a simultaneous review—in fact, I think, back then Sku may have been blogging for himself and not a liquor store; seems like so long ago now! Anyway, here is the first of three simul-reviews this month with Michael. We’ll be posting them on Fridays. They’re all of whiskies that, I believe, are/were exclusives for Total Wine. This Glen Ord and a Caol Ila 20 (next Friday) were bottled by Montgomerie’s, a brand I’ve not see anywhere except in Total Wine. The third, a Laphroaig 18 (the 27th), was bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd, and while it doesn’t say anywhere on the label that it is a Total Wine exclusive, I do believe it was listed at the store I purchased these bottles from as a “Spirits Direct” selection, which is a Total Wine thing. By the way, I know nothing about Montgomerie’s other than that their releases are sold at Total Wine, but after purchasing these bottles for a split I coordinated, I noticed that the Montgomerie’s bottles are identical in shape to the distinctive Berry Bros. & Rudd tall bottles. Just a coincidence? Or are they in fact one of BB&R’s private selection lines? If you can confirm or deny, please write in below. As with all Montgomerie’s releases—as far as I’ve noticed—this is at 46%.
This is still available at least Total Wine stores in Minnnesota. Oh, Michael and I have not discussed our notes—mine were actually taken a couple of weeks ago. I’ll post the link to his review when I have it in the morning (here it is).
Glen Ord 18, 1997 (46%; Montgomerie’s; cask #800002; from a bottle split)
Nose: Yeasty, bready, malty. Takes a while to settle down and then there’s some musky fruit (a bit indistinct) and some tart apple. Quite austere. Let’s see if water brings out anything else. Yes, fruitier with water but not exuberantly so (pear); some cereals too now.
Palate: Leads with the malt and it’s not particularly yeasty/bready here. A little peppery as I swallow and there’s some wet stone sweetness as well. On the second sip there’s some bitterness (apple peels) and more pepper. With more time there’s citrus and flashes of the musky fruit from the nose. Sweeter and brighter with water.
Finish: Medium. The oak emerges here and there’s a simple sweetness as well. As on the palate with water (less oaky now).
Comments: To repeat myself, this is austere whisky in a very typical Northern Highlands style. Yes, yes, I know I’m usually scornful of notions of terroir in whisky but it’s not really terroir at play here anyway, more like a regional style. Anyway, this would be a good summer malt—maybe even with a cube of ice.
Rating: 84 points.