Yesterday’s Old Pulteney 14 I described as being in the Clynelish-Glen Ord part of the spectrum. I guess I may as well round out bourbon cask, northern highlands week with an actual Glen Ord. On our trip to Scotland in June 2018 I’d considered stopping at Glen Ord as well but no one who’d been there seemed to think there was much there of interest to anyone but the completist distillery visitor. And that is not what I am. I am someone who leaps at the chance to drink Glen Ord though. It’s not a sexy distillery but I’ve had a lot of fine bourbon cask Glen Ord in my time. Let’s see if this is another of those.
Glen Ord 14, 1997 (50.4%; The Whisky Agency; bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Tart fruit (lime peel, green apples, gooseberries), just a touch of prickly oak and something mineral. As it sits a nice malty note develops. With a couple of drops of water the fruit expands and it’s a little sweeter now.
Palate: The rich texture is the first thing I note. Then there’s the malt and a medicinal quality—not phenolic but instead reminiscent of old medicine bottles with rubber gaskets. The fruit’s all here too but accompanied now by a slight bitterness, a touch vegetal. With time the coal from the finish starts showing up earlier. Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes the vegetal thing back and pulls out more of the coal smoke and the lime peel.
Finish: Long. The bitter accents expand a bit; there’s some wet coal at the very end. Gets a bit dusty as it goes. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Ah, the pleasures of Glen Ord: this is squarely in that border of fruity and austere that you only seem to find reliably in bourbon cask northern Highlands whiskies. There is nothing very exuberant happening here; it’s just solid, good whisky, one I could happily drink every night. Wish I’d bought a bottle when it was on the go.
Rating: 87 points.