Northern highlands week began with a 15 yo Old Pulteney. We move 100 miles or so south now to Glen Ord. This is an 11 yo from a bourbon hogshead that my source says may have been a private cask split with Binny’s in Chicago. As it happens, there’s also a Glen Ord 11, 2006 with the same abv bottled by Cadenhead that is still available at some Total Wine outlets (though none in Minnesota). So maybe it was split between Binny’s and Total Wine? Or maybe the abv is just a coincidence: the Total Wine listing is not for a single cask by a small batch release. If you can solve this uninteresting mystery please write in below. Confusion about the source of this bottle aside, I am always happy to review a Glen Ord—which is something I don’t get to do very often. Bourbon cask Glen Ord, in particular, can be very good indeed (see, for example, the last indie cask I reviewed); and it’s rarely the case that it’s not at least solid, highly drinkable malt whisky—that’s true even of the official 12 yo Singleton of Glen Ord. Let’s see where this one falls.
Glen Ord 11, 2006 (54.8%; Cadenhead’s; bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Tart green apple and lime—brisk, almost fizzy in a way. On the second sniff there’s some sweeter apple as well along with some chalk and some oak. Continues in this vein, picking up some malt. Muskier with water—some floral notes, a touch of pineapple.
Palate: Comes in as promised by the nose with tart-sweet apple, a bit of chalk, citrus and some oak. Very approachable at full strength with a good texture. The fruit expands with each sip and just as on the nose, there’s more of the sweet stuff (apple, pear) and more malt to go with the citrus. More tart here with water: quite a bit of lemon and lemon zest now; the chalk is all gone.
Finish: Medium. The fruit fades out leaving a slight oaky burn behind. As on the palate with water.
Comments: An honest Highland malt whisky that starts of on the austere side but then develops a nice vein of fruit. No real complexity as such but hugely drinkable, especially in the summer. $120 for an 11 yo whisky is taking the piss—and I wouldn’t recommend it at that price—but I enjoyed it more than some much older whiskies I’ve recently reviewed that cost only a bit more.
Rating: 87 points.