Glenburgie 21, 1998 (Old Particular for K&L)

And here is the last of my reviews of K&L’s 2019 exclusives. (I think it’s the last anyway—I hope there isn’t another sample lurking somewhere.) As with most K&L consignments over the years, I’ve found it to be a bit of a mixed bag. That said this might have been one of the stronger years.  None have been bad, none have been great, most have fallen in the drinkable to very good range. Fair enough: that’s where most single malt whiskies fall. And if I still lived in Los Angeles there were a couple I would have liked to have picked up—the Ardmore, in particular, was very well priced relative to its quality. I’m hopeful though that this Glenburgie will be a strong closer, following on last week’s sherry cask Dailuaine which I quite liked even as I didn’t find it very distinctive. Bourbon cask Glenburgies can be very good indeed and as I don’t get too many opportunities to try them in the US I am looking forward to this one. That it’s from a refill hogshead is even better news in my book. Let’s see how it goes.

Glenburgie 21, 1998 (53.6%; Old Particular for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: More than a little yeasty to start; some malt under all that and some pear cider. On the second sniff there’s some lime peel and a plasticky note. With time the plastic and yeast recedes first a bit and then a lot and the malt expands to take their place. With a few drops of water it gets a bit chalky at first but then muskier fruit begins to emerge (ripe pear, lime, a touch of pineapple).

Palate: Pretty much as indicated by the nose. There’s good stuff in there but it’s dominated by yeast and plastic. Better on those fronts here too with time; the gingery oak pops out earlier now. More acidic with water (not chalky here) but also fruitier.

Finish: Medium. Some gingery oak as it goes and some dried leaves at the very end. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This didn’t start out so well but time and water lifted it up. Still, a weak end, relatively, to one of the better runs of K&L exclusives that I remember (yes, yes, I know it’s meaningless unless I rate everything at 90 points or above).

Rating: 84 points.

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