Lady of the Glen tasting

Recently I met up with Gregor who is pursuing his love of whisky by establishing the independent bottler Lady of the Glen. Regulars will know I've met Gregor previously and over a tea/coffee we discussed vinyl, music, travels and a wee bit of whisky in-between. On a chilly October evening in South Queensferry we caught up once more to chat and exchange a few whiskies.

Pictured above are a couple of his releases which I'll review below as a mini-vertical tasting piece. I've added to these a Caperdonich sample I purchased that is an earlier release. Previously I've reviewed the excellent Secret Speyside distillery 20 year old here and the challenging 16 year old Ben Nevis here. Overall I've been impressed by his choices and being driven by quality rather than the distillery name.

Hopefully this is just another chapter in our bottle/sample swapping exchanges as I did promise a taste of the excellent Wild Buck rye whiskey next time. For now let's stay within Scotland.

Bunnahabhain 26 year old
Distilled November 1987 in cask #2470, strength 50.01% vol
Outturn 205 bottles, price £140 available here
Colour: a well worn bannister
Nose: surprisingly fruity initially with peaches, orange peel and pineapple. Thrown into the mix is a decent sprinkling of sea salt, ginger loaf, honey and caramel.
Taste: not as varied on the palate with almonds, ginger, balsa wood alongside green peppers and smoked vanilla.

Caperdonich 19 year old
Strength 54% vol
Outturn 120 bottles, now sold out
Colour: the last rays of sunset
Nose: a very well balanced nose with oranges, beeswax, olive oil and black pepper. Fresh baked white bread, brambles and smoky ribs. 
Taste: not a hugely detailed palate but a graceful poise with plenty of spices including ginger and more black pepper. Then the sweetness with marmalade, butterscotch, black tea and smoked hay.

Glen Garioch 21 year old
Distilled 1993 in cask #798, strength 56.4% vol
Outturn 250 bottles, price £110 available here
Colour: corn husk
Nose: right from the off this is a sweetie of a dram. Coconut ice and soft caramel mingle with melted vanilla marshmallows. Szechuan pepper and a herbal edge that I'm sticking down as peppermint tea. With water oranges come through. 
Taste: less sweet than the nose suggests and very drinkable without water. The wood comes through more on the palate with vanilla and tablet. White is the key word applying to white grapes, white pepper and a little white wine vinegar. The addition of water irons out the dram with apples, crème fraiche and an almond toffee evident.

Looking across the trio variety is the key theme and keeping an open mind. I did enjoy the spicy nature of the Caperdonich and the sugar rush of the Glen Garioch. The Bunnahabhain is very drinkable but for its age I had higher expectations so perhaps the cask was a fault here to some degree? The level of smoke I was anticipating also failed to materialise compared to say an excellent example of what this distillery can offer in the Wemyss Smouldering Hickory earlier this year. Food for thought and perhaps I should investigate Glen Garioch through a vertical tasting.

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