Last week I posted a review of an unusual rum cask Laphroaig. Here now is a relatively unusual Glen Ord. The distillery is best known—in official and independent incarnations—for bourbon cask matured whisky. This release from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was, however, bottled from a sherry butt—a second-fill oloroso butt, to be exact. As that’s not something you across every day, and as I really like Glen Ord, I decided to take a chance on this as well at auction. I was dissuaded only a little by the fact that I had no idea what the SMWS tasting committee’s name for this whisky, “Japanese omelettes with Dunkelweizen” might refer to. I was conscious of the fact that I was overpaying but, again, sherry cask Glen Ord is not something we come across regularly in the US. I’ve not previously reviewed any sherried Glen Ords and indeed I’m not sure if I’ve had any. So this should at least be interesting. Let’s see if it’s more than that.
Glen Ord 14, 2001 (56.3%; SMWS 77.43; second-fill oloroso butt; from my own bottle)
Nose: Orange, oak and a bit of nutty, salty sherry plus a leafy note. A bit hot though. Gets stickier as it sits with some honey joining in—still, I expect water will help this open up some more. Water pushes back a bit of the oak and brings out more citrus—lemon mixed with orange peel.
Palate: Some sherry separation right off the bat but then it comes together again with a nice blend of oak, lemon, wax and dry leaves. Between the oak and the abv this feels pretty hot. Saltier on the second sip and also spicier. Not much change with time and so it’s time to add some water. Less oak and more citrus here too with water
Finish: Long. The oak hangs around for a while yielding to the mix of leafy and sweet notes; some dark chocolate at the very end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I would not have picked this as a Glen Ord. Knowing that it is, however, I can talk myself into seeing some family resemblances with their ex-bourbon malt which I am more familiar with. This is an interesting change-up but is not terribly interesting in its own right. I liked the nose the most and I liked all of it better with water. I’ll be interestd to see how this changes with air in the bottle. Right now, I like it but wish I hadn’t paid as much for this at auction as I did. Those who like their whiskies on the oakier side would probably be more enthused (and would want to add less water, if any).
Rating: 84 points.