Glenesk 1984 Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice [Feather’s Flight Review Set #16]

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Hey, it’s been awhile since I went to The Feathers Pub. I think it’s time to do that again.

Okay, there’s more of a reason than that. The Toronto Whisky Society, for their first ever meet-up (official, not just drinking as a group), are running a Scotch tasting at The Feathers Pub. And I’ll be walking people through it.

As such, I need to ensure I know all of the drams. And of the 6 of them, I know 4. Pretty good for helping pick them myself (and with others help).

And I decided to let my wife and friend pick the rest.

This is one of the “rest” drams. If you can guess what year my buddy was born in by the end of these reviews, you win a shiny no price.

As I said in an earlier review, I recently compiled a list of Scotch distilleries that I’ve had and not had. And in this, I was given a dram blind from a distillery I’ve never had, after my wife and friend looked it up.

His Live-In SO and I played Pokemon Go while the others conspired to confused me.

Glenesk 1984 Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice has a lot of nouns in it, which I’ll try to break down succinctly and fail at.

Glenesk is a distillery that was known by many names. It was founded in 1897, and has both produced malt and grain distillate in the last 100+ years. It’s a confusing distillery, founded by a wine merchant, multiple names, multiple types of distillate, and even a constant name that everyone gets wrong because it looks like it should be Glen Esk and it’s actually Glenesk.

If you ever have a Hillside, you’re drinking Glenesk. If you ever have a North Esk, it’s Glenesk. And if he knows how you think right off the bat, that’s a woman baby.

The Connoisseur’s Choice portion of Gordon & MacPhail is a group of rate and not widely available single malts, under the G&M name. They say sought after, but that’s a little bit of a misnomer, because other than the really hardcore Scotch nerds, most people are fine to have these in blends.

So a rare, not had before malt that I have no idea about and go into blind. What could go wrong? Nothing really, it’s just alcohol. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

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Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Distillation Date: 1984

Bottling Date: 2008

Abv: 43%

Colour: 2.5Y 6/6

Nose: Butter, lime zest, peanut, smoky paprika, caramel, meaty

I know it’s a Highland at this point. Because I requested a Highland. I can tell it’s not cask strength, though something is going on here. Good amount of butter and lime zest. Kinda nutty, and there’s a little smoke.

Given this is 24 years old, it’s a very light dram. I’m quite surprised by the age once I have it. Think maybe it needed more Abv. to ensure it still had some oomph. This has no oomph. Interesting notes, but no oomph.

Taste: Ham, caramel, orange, lemon, gravel, mint

More meat. Meat is nice. Some earth parts, and a lot of fruit and mint. Think those Mojitos that are flavoured. Now don’t. This is different, just kinda like that.

Maybe one made with ham and brown sugar in it. And you fall while drinking it. But not that vivid. Still missing some oomph.

Finish: Butter, brine, cabbage, smoke, cheap coffee

Finish is really earthy. There’s a cheap coffee flavour that sticks out and dominates the whole time. I try to ignore it, but… wow, that’s rough. These flavours compliment each other about as much as Presidential candidates do.

That means not often.

Conclusion: This is a light dram that needs more Abv. The age has taken something that typically is very one note forward and great for blends and made it more complex. And the low Abv. has robbed anything I could pick up from that time.

Or the cask was weak, or it just didn’t work. Something’s not working. It’s nice to nose, and it’s nice to try new things, but this one is a pass from me.


Scotch reviews #547, Highland review #94, Whisky Network reviews #907

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