Earlier this week I took part in the tweet-tasting for the
Girvan Grain Patent Still range that was launched recently. This online event
was an opportunity to take part in a vertical tasting of the range starting out
with the new make spirit and ultimately ending up at the Girvan 30 year old.
I do enjoy these occasions which are becoming very popular
online and seem to attract a crowd. In saying that I only put my name forward
now and again, and when tweeting try to keep my thoughts fairly concise with a
tweet per nosing and taste for each dram. I’m very aware of how annoying it can
be to have your twitter feed clogged up with 1 person or topic (thanks Friday’s),
so hopefully this isn’t too overpowering for followers @raithrover.
Grain whisky is growing in popularity and for a variety of
reasons including pricing which offers real value when looking out for aged
whisky. I was once told that grain needs at least 20 years interaction in the
cask before it becomes truly rewarding.
Generally this seems true and there are some great examples out there
including releases from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Clan Denny range
from Douglas Laing. I’ve tried several new make spirits over the years but
never one from a grain distillery so this was a first and where we start with
Girvan New Make Spirit 42% ABV
Colour: well this chap is crystal clear!
Nose: vibrant apples, a scattering of castor sugar with lime
leaves, bubble-gum and Riesling wine.
Taste: very watery after taking this new make down from 94%
to 42% ABV so this is understandable but a little too much. Almonds and
vanilla; a medicinal antiseptic feeling here.
Not one of the best new make spirits I’ve tried but a new experience
to try a grain variant.
Girvan No: 4 Apps 42% ABV
Colour: if you’ve ever been to Islay or the Highlands and ran a water tap
then it could be like this
Nose: buttered toast morphing into Shredded Wheat cereal and
damp cut grass. More vanilla from the American Oak barrels, some light floral
notes which fit the lightweight characteristics of this featherweight.
Taste: more character than the flat line Haig Club I tasted
recently. Tablet, no make that fudge with whipped cream and a Rich Tea biscuit
vibe. Kind of like a deconstructed Orkney Fudge Cheesecake which I recommend
you must experience at least once in your life! A very short finish though.
Girvan 25 year old 42% ABV
Nose: we’re moving up a notch now with the wood really
kicking in with more forceful vanilla and almonds. Now joined by creamy notes that
you associated with grain and American oak. A little background hint of white
vinegar of all things that I’d associate with the Riesling appearance during
the new make nosing. A vegetative note delivers hotdogs in brine to much surprise.
Taste: I was expecting more oomph here but this fella is a
little restrained. Tropical notes of banana and coconuts (closely associated
with grain whisky) with more wood influence carrying over from the nose with
crushed almonds and a syrupy texture to it all. A little water brings out more
sugary, caramel sweetness or in summary crème brulee. A short finish once
Girvan 30 year old 42% ABV
Colour: not as bold as the 25 year old more a lighter caramel
Nose: slightly toasted marshmallows, a little bit of orange
peel and freshly baked vanilla sponge cake
Taste: the cereal note is short crust pastry – really rich
and buttery. A hint of lemon, more coconut and a slight Caramac (a devilish
confectionary) undertone to it all.
Overall during these events it is easy to be swept away by
the ages of the samples involved and in the eagerness trample over what comes
before the ‘star’ dram of the night. Pricing is always a consideration in my
mind as the majority of what I review here are my own purchases. Even when faced with a lovely presented set of free samples like this Girvan Grain package, I still have to consider the
price. The 25 year old reviewed here will set you back around £270, whereas the
30 year old is nearer £375. These seem overpriced or set the expectation
extremely high – which is not achieved.
Overall No: 4 Apps was the pick of the bunch as it comes in
just below the pricing of the Haig Club, which is priced at £45. It might be a
No Age Statement whisky but it offers more flavour and experience than Diageo’s
Beckham-led benign grain.
Labels: girvan, Girvan 25 year, Girvan 30 year, Girvan grain patent still, grain, new make spirit, review, single grain, taste, whisky