Let’s keep the “Glen” distilleries thing going a bit longer. That won’t be the theme of this week though. The theme for this week is Speyside distilleries. And there won’t be a through line of labels either—each will be from a different bottler.
If I’d thought to do this Glentauchers last week instead of the Glengoyne it would have been three 8 yo whiskies from distilleries whose names start with “Glen” bottled by the SMWS. Unlike last week’s 8 year olds, however, (from Glencadam and Glenturret), this one was not bottled at a ludicrous strength. Compared to those >62% strength monsters, 56.1% seems downright restrained. What it does have in common with them—in addition to the bottler and age—is that I have very little experience of Glentauchers’ malt as well. It’s part of Pernod Ricard’s portfolio and apparently contributes heavily to the popular Ballantine’s blend—which is doubtless why so little of it emerges as single malt: a reminder as always that, for the most part, the single malt category is a by-product of the world’s thirst for blended Scotch whisky. Well, this review takes my Glentauchers score to five. The ones I’ve reviewed before have all been a fair bit older—the youngest twice the age of this one (this G&M 16 yo)—and I quite liked most of them (this 21 yo from Archives most of all). Let’s see where this one falls.
Glentauchers 8, 2010 (56.1%; SMWS 63.58; first-fill bourbon barrel; from a bottle split)
Nose: Yes, it’s sweet from the get-go and candy sweet at that (berry flavour). Below that is some cereals and some oak. As it sits there’s some vanilla and pastry crust and a touch of lemon. With time the acid recedes a bit and the sweetness picks up a floral quality as well. A drop or two of water and the oak is all but gone and the pastry crust expands—some sort of berry tart cooling in the distance.
Palate: Leads with citrus and the oak comes up hard behind it. A pretty good bite at full strength and oily texture. More acid on subsequent sips (lemon peel) but the candy sweetness never goes away. With time the oak backs off a fair bit. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. It pulls out more of the lemon and brings some of the oak back (menthol and a slightly bitter leafy thing)
Finish: Long. The oak crosses over to bitter lemon zest and there’s some salt at the end. The lemon amps up quickly, getting sweeter fast. As on the palate with water, with quite a bit of menthol here.
Comments: The SMWS named this one “Dental Damage” and other reviewers—including the redoubtable Michael Kravitz of Diving for Pearls—have found it to be quite sweet. I actually recognize most of Michael’s notes but don’t find it to be quite as sweet as he does and find more oak than he remarks—then again I am very sensitive to oak. Despite the variance in our notes, I end up where he does: this is a pleasant whisky with no real flaws but also not a whole lot to recommend it past that.
Rating: 84 points.