I was not very enamored of the Glenburgie 21, 1998 I reviewed on Wednesday. Here now is another Glenburgie 21, 1998. Wednesday’s was bottled by Douglas Laing for K&L in California. This one was also bottled for a store, in this case the Whisky Exchange in London. I’m more than a little unclear on who the bottler technically is, however. The Whisky Exchange has had a number of labels over the years and recently spun off Elixir Distillers as a separate indie bottling concern. In fact, there is another Glenburgie 21, 1998 bottled by Elixir Distillers under the old Single Malts of Scotland label. This Glenburgie 21 and a number of other recent exclusive releases, however, were put out under a Whisky Exchange label. I am a simple man and I find all this very confusing. I guess I could have asked the source of my sample, the estimable Billy Abbott, to clear it all up but I am also an old man and things don’t occur to me at the right time. Billy, if you read this, please explain in the comments. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Glenburgie 21, 1998 (55.4%; The Whisky Exchange; bourbon hogshead 900888; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Lemon, pears, tart apple, gingery oak, cereals; a faint old-timey medicine bottle rubberiness too. After a minute or two in the glass muskier fruit begins to emerge: candied pineapple, a touch of peach. With more time the cereal expands a bit too. A few drops of water push the oak back but also seem to mute the fruit a little (did I add too much?).
Palate: Leads with the oak but the fruit comes rushing in as I swallow. The lusher fruit is in the lead here. That rubber gasket medicinal note is here too. Very approachable at full strength—and nice texture—but I suspect a drop or two of water will open this up nicely. Well, yes and no. The oak gets pushed back and the fruit gets brighter (more acidic) but not much richer.
Finish: Long. The fruit yields to tingly oak but not entirely. With more time the oak turns polished. As on the palate with water.
Comments: A much better cask than K&L’s 21 yo. Lovely fruit but also just a bit too much oak for my liking, which keeps it from the next tier. It’s possible I got the balance of water wrong. If you have a full bottle you’ve been playing with, let me know what you’ve found the sweet spot to be. I do like it quite a lot as it is though.
Rating: 88 points.