I like private bottlings. There is a lot of good things to say about them – they are often single cask, cask strength, and non-chill filtered with no added coloring. They give one a bit of a different take on a distillery’s whisky than the normal, multiple-casks-dump that achieves a particular flavor profile that the distillery wants to adhere to. It’s just a naked taste of what the distiller was putting out that day and effect that one particular barrel had on the juice.
That’s the case with this one. 56.0% alcohol. Single cask, cask strength, non-chill filtered, 19-year-old Signatory bottling for Binny’s from the Glenburgie Distillery. The Speyside distillery (tho the bottle says Highland) was founded in 1810 under a different name, has been closed and opened numerous times, changed ownership several times, and is now owned by Pernod Ricard. This is my first experience with a Glenburgie. It’s a scotch that often flies under the radar because it’s product is mostly used in blends, namely Ballantine’s and Old Smuggler. It seems to me that private bottlings of Glenburgie are more common than their own.
So on to the malt. The nose hits with notes of sawdust, floral, and a fruit basket – citrus, banana, kiwi, and apple. Juicy Fruit gum. Some baking spice. A bit of grain and a bit of a vegetable note under all that floral and fruit. It takes a while to get it; its somewhat subdued. But with patience and repeated nosing it comes forward.
On the tongue, it’s creamy yet astringent. It’ll burn if you don’t add water. Vanilla. The fruit is there, but also with some bitter notes. The citrus is more like citrus rind. Cinnamon. Salt. Banana. Bread pudding. Sweet yet bitter. It’s complex, but the complexity is kinda limited to the play between the sweet fruit and the bitter rind and spice.
The finish is medium to long in length. Here is where the grain comes forward. The citrus rind is there, but then fades to more sweeter notes with spices like cinnamon with sugar. More slat. Sweet yet bitter. It’s complex, but the complexity is kinda limited to the play between the sweet fruit and the bitter rind and spice.
I’ve been on the fence about this one throughout the bottle. The first few drams were a bit rough and not as complex. After about 8 weeks of air time it opened up, and was nice. Its now been about 3 months, and the bottom third is not as good. Of course my opinions of it from opening to this point has been subjective, but hey – isn’t it always? All this is only about my opinions of the stuff.
I’ll give it a solid B. Complex, interesting, and enjoyable, but I’m not rushing to get another bottle before they’re gone.