As I noted on Monday, this is a week of several overlapping themes: whiskies from distilleries from different regions of Scotland; sherry cask whiskies; whiskies bottled by Old Particular; whiskies bottled for K&L in California. And for at least the first two you could add, whiskies from Glen- distilleries. The week began with a 16 yo Glenrothes from the Speyside; we’ll now continue with a 17 yo Glenturret from the highlands. I will repeat what I have said in my introduction to every Glenturret I’ve reviewed—all two of them: I have very little experience of Glenturret. Of the two I have reviewed I really liked a 33 yo distilled in 1980, and really did not like a 6 yo distilled in 2013. This one doesn’t fall in the exact middle of those two age-wise but at 17 years of age it’s got some respectable age on it. And unlike that 6 yo, it’s not at a stupidly high abv. All of that is good. It is, of course, no guarantee that all of this means it is a good whisky or, at least, a whisky to my taste, Only one way to find out for sure.
Glenturret 17, 2004 (55.8%; Old Particular for K&L; sherry puncheon DL 14898; from a bottle split)
Nose: Comes in with rich sherry: dried orange peel, caramel, toffee, a bit of pipe tobacco. Gets leafier as it sits and there’s some spicy oak too now. With time the oak overtakes the other stuff here too but it’s still quite pleasant on the nose. Softer with water and the oak recedes.
Palate: Leads with much heavier oak here, I’m afraid, with the richer notes taking a backseat. A bit of sherry separation as I swallow. Good texture though and it’s reasonably approachable at full strength. The oak seems to get rawer and more bitter with each sip and very little else makes it past it. Will water rescue this? Let’s see. Well, it pushes the oak back a bit and makes it less bitter; there’s also some red fruit now (cherry mostly). Alas, it’s still not my cup of tea. With more time the oak expands again but rather than being bitter it’s now sharper.
Finish: Medium-long. The oak eases and it’s the slightly separated sherry that’s most palpable here (that thin cooking sherry flavour). With time the sherry recombines but the oak expands. As on the palate with water.
Comments: As you can tell from my notes, I found this to be two very different whiskies on the nose and palate. From my first two sniffs I thought this would be in the high 80s; the first few sips had me thinking mid 70s. With water it ended up close to the middle. Less oak-averse people may like it more.
Rating: 80 points. (Pulled up by water.)