Glen Ord 18, 1996 (Blackadder)


Another whisky distilled in the 1990s, another Glen Ord. I wasn’t sure I was going to get to this one this month but after Diageo announced an 18 yo Singleton of Glen Ord as part of their 2019 slate of over-priced releases I figured the time was right: that if there was ever going to be a surge of interest in 18 yo Glen Ord it would be now; and who better than me to stand poised to ride that wave all the way to marginally less irrelevance than I now boast in the marketplace of content.

The last couple of teenaged Glen Ords I’ve had—including Tuesday’s 15 yo—have been very good but nothing very exciting. Let’s see if this 18 yo does a little more for me and makes me consider paying a large amount of money for the new Singleton 18 yo for a few minutes before I slap myself across the head for being a fucking idiot.

Glen Ord 18, 1996 (54%; Blackadder; hogshead #2175; from a bottle split)

Nose: Malty, slightly yeasty, with tart green apples and lemon. On the second sniff there’s a big leafy note. As it sits that leafy note takes a slight smoky turn and there’s some candle wax to go with it. With time and air the yeasty notes recede and the fruit gets muskier. A few drops of water bring the wax and leaves back to the front.

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose with some mouth-puckering acid as I swallow. Very nice texture at full strength. Gets sweeter as it sits with the malt turning into musky fruit here too—over-ripe pear with hints of peach; there’s still a fair bit of acid still (lemon with bitter accents of peel). Here water emphasizes the fruit and the late breaking tropical notes from the finish show up earlier now (pineapple, a touch of passionfruit).

Finish: Long. Wax, simple syrup, soot, lemon. The fruit that develops on the palate lasts into the finish as well. With more time still the fruit develops some tropical accents (pineapple). More tropical fruit with water here too.

Comments: I liked the bright, acidic blast and wax on the first sniff and sip and I liked the sweeter fruit that developed as it sat in the glass for 30 minutes or so. The former was reminiscent of the slightly younger bourbon cask Glen Ords I’ve reviewed this year; the latter put me in mind of the fruit in the older OB Ords of years past (the 30, the 28 and the 25). It doesn’t quite reach the heights of the best of those but it’s cool how it manages to give a good sense of the best qualities of both younger and older Glen Ord. One to be patient with. I liked the nose better neat and the palate better with water.

Rating: 88 points.

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