Glenburgie 21, 1993 (Cadenhead)


Here to close out the week, the month and the year in whisky reviews on my blog is a Glenburgie. It is 21 years old and was bottled in 2014 for Cadenhead’s whisky club in Europe from a single sherry cask. In case you’re wondering, I purchased it at auction some years ago. As you may recall, this week is a week of sherried whiskies. It got off to a very good start on Monday with an 18 yo Ben Nevis. The Glen Elgin 16 I reviewed on Wednesday was also good but not quite at the level of the Ben Nevis. This Glenburgie, I know, is very good indeed—I opened it a few weeks ago. Indeed, when first opened I liked it more than I had the Ben Nevis when it was first opened. But now it’s sat with a bit of air in the bottle and I’m curious to see how it’s developed. My experience with Glenburgie is not very extensive and is largely centered on bourbon casks. It’s a distillate that can be very fruity indeed and there was certainly a lot of fruit in the first few pours from this bottle. Has that fruit expanded further? Let’s see.

Glenburgie 21, 1993 (51.1%; Cadenhead; sherry cask; from my own bottle)

Nose: A lovely fruity opening with fried plantains, apricot jam, roasted pineapple and some peach. Quite a bit of polished oak playing around the edges of the fruit. The oak gets a bit sharper and a bit dusty as it sits but it continues to be all about the fruit, which now includes some orange peel. Gets stickier as it sits, with more apricot jam; the oak recedes a bit. Roasted malt here too with time. A few drops of water brighten it up considerably, pull out a bit of butterscotch and push the oak back.

Palate: Comes in as promised with the fruit and the polished oak—no dust or sharpness here, thankfully. Very nice drinking strength and rich texture. The fruit keeps going with each sip but the citrus becomes brighter and more assertive with time. With time there’s a bit of a glassy/metallic note. Okay, let’s see what water does. Well, it pushes that glassy/metallic note some; it also brings out some salt; however the fruit becomes less rich.

Finish: Long. The fruit crests and some roasted malt emerges to join it. Just a hint of sherry separation before it all comes together again. Develops as on the palate with time and water.

Comments: Even though it doesn’t quite ascend the fruit-bomb heights promised initially by the nose, this is a very nice whisky indeed. Just a touch too much oak, which keeps it from the next tier. I’ll be interested to see how it develops further with air in the bottle.

A happy new year to all my whisky readers (the three or four of you that remain): I hope you enjoy your last pours of the year, whatever they might be.

Rating: 89 points.


 

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