Glen Ord 13, 2004 (Cadenhead’s)

We are leaving Orkney today and as we’ll be spending the night in the Highlands before heading down to Edinburgh tomorrow, I figured I’d post a review of another Highland malt. This is from a distillery not too far from where we’ll be putting up: Glen Ord. I’d had no plan to visit Glen Ord on this trip but when Aberlour disappointed me with the complete lack of a “distillery only” cask, I started grasping at straws for distilleries along the way to Dornoch that might have one. Accordingly, I called the Glen Ord visitor centre and asked if they had an exclusive. The person answering the phone helpfully informed me that all their whiskies are exclusive as they’re sold only in Southeast Asia and at the distillery; yes, I said, but do you have a cask that’s only available to visitors at the distillery. She repeated her information about the exclusivity of all Glen Ord bottles. Thinking that perhaps we had a case of battling Scottish and Indian/American accents on our ears, I handed the phone to a Canadian who has lived in Edinburgh for a year. She was met with the same response. All this to say that I did not go to Glen Ord after all. But this review is still trip-specific: it’s of a Glen Ord 13 that I purchased 200 ml of at Cadenhead’s in Edinburgh last week. It didn’t take long to disappear and I took notes as it did. 

Glen Ord 13, 2004 (60.3%; Cadenhead’s; refill sherry; from a purchased 200 ml bottle)

Nose: Starts out grassy and then turns waxy and fruity (pear, apple, lemon); some dry notes suggestive of fino sherry. Gets muskier as it sits. Should open up more with water. Indeed, muskier with water and some pleasant floral notes join the fruit. Some almonds as well.

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose with the wax to the fore, followed by sweeter fruit. Massive bite at full strength. Not much sherry influence here. Quite a bit of bite even with water and a big hit of lime zest—tart and bitter.

Finish: Medium. The high strength results in a somewhat closed finish. Not much development—maybe some malt and some brine. Yes, much longer finish with water and it’s all about the lime and wax here now.

Comments: Seems like it was a refill sherry cask with some mileage on it. That is to say, there’s not much sherry influence here—shows up more as dry notes than as rich fruit and nut. Indeed, if I didn’t know it was from a sherry cask, I’d have guessed bourbon. Anyway, it’s very Glen Ord and it’s quite good. If we had more time in Edinburgh tomorrow between dropping off the car at the station and heading to the airport, I’d buy some more.

Rating: 86 points.

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