Glenburgie 16, 1998 (Chieftain’s)


I closed out September with a review of a bourbon cask whisky from a Speyside distillery; let’s start October with another bourbon cask whisky from a Speyside distillery. Glenburgie is only about 20 minutes away from Longmorn—which is where Wednesday’s whisky was distilled. I guess that’s not saying much as most distilleries in the Speyside seem to be within 20 minutes drive of each other. Like Longmorn, except even more so, Glenburgie is not a heralded distillery, producing mostly for Pernod-Ricard’s blends (Pernod-Ricard also own Longmorn). I say “except even more so” because Longmorn has a strong reputation via indie bottlers, especially for their whiskies from the 1960s and 1970s. Glenburgie, on the other hand, I don’t think anyone has ever gotten very excited about. They make excellent whisky though and I’m always happy to try a Glenburgie. Let’s see if this one bears out my confidence.

Glenburgie 16, 1998 (46%; Chieftain’s; hogshead 5006; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Apple cider with the emphasis on the apple. As it sits the apple cider turns to apple pie and the acid moves in the direction of lemon (I almost expect it to fizz). Some malt and some bready notes under the fruit and acid and a bit of oaky bite. The fruit expands as it sits. A few drops of water bring the cider out again

Palate: Most of what’s on the nose but with the malt in the lead. The fruit expands before I swallow, turning musky (peaches) as it goes. Very nice texture and a good drinking strength at 46%. More toasted oak on the second sip and more of the peach, now dosed with some pineapple and shot through with white pepper. Maltier and breadier as it goes. More acidic here too with water with the cider and yeast topping the musky fruit.

Finish: Long. It fades a bit just as I swallow but then the fruit expands again. It has a more of a tropical nature here with the pineapple coming out over the peach. The pepper expands too. With the time the expanded malt and bread hang out into the finish as well. As on the palate with water but the fruit is more palpable under the acid here.

Comments: Just lovely. This is quintessential bourbon cask whisky—a perfect marriage of malt, oak and fruit. A little more intensity to the fruit and this would be in the next tier. I preferred it neat. Glenburgie is such an underrated distillery.

Rating: 89 points.

Thanks to Michael for the sample! (See his review here.)

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