Glen Garioch used to peat their whisky. Actually, if we look at the history of Glen Garioch, they’ve had quite a few left turns in their whiskies.
Which isn’t a surprise, really, for a whisky that’s been made since 1797. It is surprising because Glen Garioch was an important ingredient in Vat 69 in the late 19th century. At some point (I couldn’t find anywhere I trust that said when) it wasn’t, and by 1968, the distillery was decommissioned and closed.
Then they started up again in 1973 and that’s when the peated malt started. Then they were sold in 1984 and rumour has it they changed again when Suntory took over. They became less peaty (something I sadly see as a trend when Suntory takes over a distillery).
Then they closed in 1995 and opened again in 1997, this time telling us that it’s no longer peated at all. And that brings us to Glen Garioch 16: The Renaissance – Chapter II.
The Renaissance series is a group of whiskies that are made up of whisky from 1997, right when they opened and switched gears.
This is where I should state my experience with Glen Garioch isn’t as detailed as the history. I’ve had two of the early 90s ones, known as the right balance of peat to some and no enough peat to others. I haven’t had any from the moderate peat era, the heavy peat era, or the previous, “golden age comics are probably cheaper” era. Thus I can’t speak to the rumours above.
That said, I do have a mouth, and tastebuds that aren’t completely useless, so let’s see how Chapter II tastes, shall we?
Price: $144.95 CAD at the LCBO
Cask Types: Bourbon & Sherry casks
Colour: 2.5Y 8/10
Nose: Grapefruit, spice cake, butter, dried fruit
Tart nose, and I don’t mean a brown noser. Eventually opens up with soem spice, some dried fruit.
Basically it’s like nosing Autumn, but at breakfast.
Taste: Cinnamon doughnut, hot apple cider, papaya, caramel
Good amount of spice continuing into the taste. Butter develops into more caramel notes, especially with water. The dried fruit and tartness mellows into more of a cider flavour, and some tropical fruits pop out.
Finish: Orange cake, plum, brown sugar, fruit bread
Finish is a bit more tart, bit more simple than I’d like. From the taste we were getting these interesting butter notes, here they are gone or closer to the dessert/bread notes.
So if you’re not a butter fiend like me, it may be an upgrade. For me I felt it was missing a bit. Also was a bit quick, takes some time to be a real boy. I mean finish. I mean a Pinocchio joke.
Conclusion: At the end of the day this was a nice malt. Good amount of spice, orange, dried fruit, and overall an Autumn feel to it.
Is it going to blow your mind? I’d say no. This is a mellow dram with each of the flavours pairing well. The finish needs some work.
On a personal note, when comparing this and Chapter 1, I found them very similar. So much so I am concerned that the bar I had the Chapter 1 at wrote down the incorrect alcohol percentage (or maybe I did). I’m going to push to find a sample of Chapter 1 again to re-review just to make sure.
Scotch review #792, Highland review #130, Whisky Network review #1298