Thanks to /u/twiddleDD for the sample
Introducing a new series that I’m calling “Scotch Malts, Wife’s Selection”, in which my wife goes through my backlog of SMWS samples that I haven’t reviewed yet, pours them blind, and then I review it blind.
Girvan represents an interesting whisky for me. First off, it’s a single grain whisky. I’ve always enjoyed single grain whiskies because of the age statements required to make them tasty. Let me explain:
If you want a good single grain whisky, it needs to be at least 30 years old. Yes, there are some out there in the 20 year range, however for me, it’s usually 30+ years old. Guess I just prefer them mature.
How did I make that sound creepy? Jeez, I gotta work on my phrasing.
Anyway I enjoy the idea that a whisky can be 30+ years old and still accessible to most people. That’s rare. And they can have some odd flavours to them. Also they are Lowlands, and I’m a sucker for the region.
That’s what brings us to Girvan SMWS G7.10 “The Texan tea party”, a single grain single cask from SMWS. Granted naming a whisky after Texas and not including Crown Royal is dangerous, but let’s see how it turned out, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Date Distilled: May 1984
Age: 31 years
Cask Type: Refill hogshead
Colour: 2.5Y 8/8
Nose: Vanilla, smoky, custard, lemoncello, mango
Interesting sweetness on the nose. Just a little bit of smoke, and a lot of different “there’s flan dessert” smells to it.
Taste: Gravel, cocoa, moss, chipotle, lemon cheesecake
Initially quite rough with the earth. Like face first into it. Given some time the smoke takes over, the herbs take over, and you feel better. Kinda like most US marijuana enthusiasts before Jeff Sessions was given his role.
Interesting complexity on the citrus here. Nothing that is screaming the age statement though.
Finish: Dark chocolate, guajillo pepper, blackberry, cardamon, marshmallow
Here’s where the name, the age, and everything about the dram comes together. On the finish. A good conclusion, if you will.
Lovely initial earth has gone to a rich, dark chocolate, the smoke is closer to a rich, deep smoke, and everything’s quite deep, like a pizza in Chicago.
What, you expected a horrible joke there? I’m trying to turn over a new leaf here people. Last time I did that I offended half the internet.
Conclusion: A light, almost simple nose followed by a rough start taste that never screams the age statement (even of a single grain whisky) followed by a finish that explains why the whole thing came to be.
The smoke threw me off completely. And that’s because I’m not too up on Girvan like I should be. This is a unique dram. There are better single grains out there, however if you’re a sucker for either BBQ or amazing finishes on whiskies, then it’s worth at least finding a sample of this one.
Guess: A Highland Park, maybe ex-bourbon only?
Actually: Girvan SMWS G7.10 “The Texan tea party”
Scotch review #789, Lowland review #38, Whisky Network review #1292