On Monday I had a review of a 14 yo Glen Moray bottled for Old Malt Cask’s 20th anniversary. Here now is another special Old Malt Cask bottling of Glen Moray. This is almost a decade older than Monday’s bottle and is part of K&L’s recent run of exclusive casks. I reviewed another of those last week—their Clynelish 23—and, alas, David OG of K&L was not very pleased with me. My review of the whisky itself was positive (I gave it 87 points) and my notes not too far away from his own on the K&L site. So I’m guessing his anger is actually at my suggestion that $250 is way too much for what that whisky is. But, these being the times we live in, he seized on an embarrassing but really inconsequential error on my part in my closing comments. I suggested there that rather than spend $250 on that Clynelish people might instead pick up something like the Springbank 18 and have money left over for a bottle of the Laphroaig 10 CS. I made this suggestion because the last time I had the Springbank 18 it was a pretty heavily sherried malt (composed of 80% sherry casks). I’ve not kept up with it—again on account of the high price—and so did not realize that at some point in the last few years the formulation changed to emphasize bourbon casks. An understandable error, you might think, and not surprising from someone who always notes he doesn’t really follow the industry closely anymore. But as far as David OG is concerned this error of fact invalidates my entire review—presumably he’d care less if they’d already sold out of the Clynelish (there seems to still be a fair amount of it in stock).
Anyway, I own the error but the effective point of the comment is not really affected by it. That point again is that, in my opinion, for $250 you can get cheaper sherried whiskies of equal or better quality than K&L’s new Clynelish and still have a fair bit of money left over. If you fetishize cask strength sherry bombs you could purchase multiple bottles of the A’bunadh. And if you’re not looking for a high strength sherried whisky you could, in fact, buy two bottles of this Glen Moray 23 and still have money left over. But would that be a good idea? Let’s see. I hope I do hope I won’t anger David again.
Glen Moray 23, 1995 (49.8%; Old Malt Cask for K&L; refill barrel; from a bottle split)
Nose: Starts out bright with lemon and tart apple. On the second sniff there’s a strong leafy note along with a herbal quality. Some tingly oak as well. Very nice and fresh. Gets sweeter as it sits and then with more time the fruit gets muskier. Maltier with water and the fruit and malt meld nicely.
Palate: Comes in sweet here with simple syrup, toasted oak and light malt. Very approachable at full strength—really a very nice drinking strength. On the second sip that leafy thing is happening here too (greener leaves here) but the herbs aren’t along. Maltier with each sip and the lemon gets stronger too. Okay, let’s see what water does. It makes it more acidic and brings out a pepperiness too with the acid and the malt.
Finish: Medium. The oak—tingly, not tannic—is most present here. Longer and generally as on the palate with water.
Comments: Oh, I like this one for the price. The extra decade or so has rounded off the high acid and yeasty/bready notes found in Monday’s 14 yo but they’re still here—it’s just not as idiosyncratic. It’s not a great 23 yo whisky but it’s very good whisky for $99. If K&L were still shipping to Minnesota I’d have one on its way to me now. As much of a value at $99 as the Clynelish isn’t at $250. But you have to like non-fireworks bourbon cask whisky—and I’m not sure how many whisky geeks like those simpler pleasures any more.
Rating: 87 points.