Last week was island distillery week. We began with a Bunnahabhain and ended with a malt from an undisclosed island distillery and in between there was a Highland Park. This week I have for you a triple-themed week: all Scotch Malt Whisky Society releases; all distilleries located in the Highlands; and all distilleries whose names begin with “Glen”. First up, a young Glenturret. As I always say when reviewing a Glenturret, I have sampled very few Glenturrets: this review takes the count up to four. I expect to hit double digits before the polar icecaps melt. This was matured in a re-charred hogshead and bottled at a ludicrous strength. It’s also apparently peated. Crazy high abv? Check. Peat? Check. Which means all it’s missing from the trifecta that seemingly appeals the most to a large fraction of the malt whisky drinking populace is a mega dose of sherry. The SMWS’ tasting panel named this one “No two sips are the same”, presumably because you have fewer tastebuds left after each sip. Well, I’m ready for anything.
Glenturret 8, 2013 (62.3%; SMWS 16.62; re-charred hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: A little closed at first—which is not surprising—and then there’s a fair bit of charred green pepper along with some meaty smoke and a touch of vinegar. The smoke gets more phenolic with each sniff and there’s more salt too. A big squirt of water and the vinegar turns to citronella even as sweeter notes emerge: charred pork fat, malt.
Palate: Comes in generally as indicated by the nose but with more of the vinegar. Just barely approachable at full strength (and you want to be sitting up straight while drinking this—wouldn’t want this hitting the back of your throat); oily texture. More vegetal on the second sip. Not much change on the next few sips: time to add water. Ah yes, much more approachable now and more balanced: the vegetal note subsides a fair bit and melds with the smoke and salt and acid. On the last few sips it teeters on the edge of bitter and astringent notes but doesn’t go over.
Finish: Long. The smoke expands here picking up a fair bit of tar at first and then subsiding into a fair bit of char. The salt comes back strong at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: The last young Glenturret I reviewed was even younger and was also peated, matured in a recharred cask and bottled at a ludicrous (even higher) abv. I was not at all impressed with that one. I’m happy to say I like this one quite a lot more, especially with water. The two extra years of aging may well have helped but the vagaries of cask roulette probably have more to do with it. I can’t say I found very much variability from sip to sip but who expects realism from the SMWS’ whimsical names? This cost roughly 64 euros on release in Europe. I would buy a bottle at that price. Somehow I expect a lot more was asked for it by the SMWS in the US.
Rating: 87 points.