Let’s make it a week of whiskies in their 20s. This Glenburgie is a year younger than Monday’s Benrinnes and distilled eight years after Tuesday’s Brora. I liked both of those whiskies a lot and as I usually enjoy bourbon cask Glenburgie I am also expecting to like this one a lot. Indeed the only Glenburgie I’ve reviewed that I did not think was at least very good was a 21 yo Signatory exclusive for K&L; others have been the very epitome of fruity and oaky bourbon cask goodness. This 23 yo was also an exclusive; it was bottled for the now defunct Chester Whisky, a combo shop and bottler based in Chester, England. Well, as I type that I realize that I don’t know if the shop is defunct as well; it may just be the indie bottling operation that is no longer on the go. They didn’t bottle very many whiskies even when they were on the go. I’ve previously reviewed their Bowmore 15, 1998 (which was just fine) and their Tomintoul 45, 1968 (which I liked a fair bit). Let’s see how this one goes.
Glenburgie 23, 1989 (54.8%; Chester Whisky; bourbon barrel; from my own bottle)
Nose: Lemon, toasted oak, a touch of malt, a touch of vanilla. As it sits a mild vegetal and herbal note emerges. After 10 minutes or so there’s a cereal note as well. The lemon expands with water, getting zestier and picking up some white pepper. There’s a muskier note too now—pineapple.
Palate: All the stuff from the nose but the oak is in the lead—not tannic, just spicy. Very drinkable at full strength with a good, rich texture. With time the oak recedes some and the lemon and malt come into the lead. With more time there’s a herbal edge to the spice. The fruit expands here too with water, with more sweetness emerging than on the nose.
Finish: Long. The lemon expands here and picks up some salt as it goes; the oak emerges again at the very end, drying and spicy. As on the palate with water at first but then it starts getting more herbal/leafy at the end.
Comments: Classic Glenburgie marriage of fruit, malt and oak. I would prefer a bit more fruit and a bit less oak, probably, but this is a very good whisky of its type. I think I preferred it without water (though I may also have added a bit too much).
Rating: 87 points.
This bottle is now at the halfway mark and it has become fruitier and maltier. Less oak now and the herbal note is gone. I’d bump it up a point tonight.