Glen Moray SMWS 35.165 “Variety – the spice of life”

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This is a continuation of my ongoing series that I’m calling “Scotch Malts, Wife’s Selection”, in which my wife goes through my backlog of SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) samples that I haven’t reviewed yet, pours them blind, and then I review it blind.

It’s a weird situation when you look back on the previous year, and the whisky that surprised you the most, of which you split some bottles, enjoyed a high end version, and changed your mind, all is some Speyside that you would have made an Italian opera singer joke about years ago.

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I am, of course, talking about Glen Moray, as today we’re reviewing Glen Moray SMWS 35.165 “Variety – the spice of life”.

It’s funny that a whisky with the name Variety comes into play here. Over the last year or two I’ve had many Glen Moray, typically ones from first fill toasted heads. Toasted casks are normally used in wine, which brings us to our whisky today, which was aged in ex white wine casks.

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So we know that white wine casks are different. Because we don’t see them often. And while Glen Moray has an OB that is Chardonnay cask, as /u/throzen will tell you, Chenin Blanc is not Chardonnay.

I hope.

Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

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Price: Sold out

Region: Speyside

Date Distilled: April 2003

Age: 13 years

Cask Type: 1st fill ex-Chenin Blanc hogshead

Outturn: 180

Abv: 52.9%

Colour: 10YR 7/12

Nose: Gatorade (orange), lemongrass, clean, raspberry cheesecake, leather book

Initially I’me quite concerned as the orange on this has a light, sugary note, however that slowly goes more floral, more clean, and eventually somewhat tart as time goes on.

As for my guess, I’m completely lost in the woods, as is my default in life.

Taste: Cranberry sauce, chocolate fudge, brine, anise

This tastes like an ex-sherry cask. What kind of sherry? Not idea. I wouldn’t know at all. Some old Oloroso when the wine was still sold, or maybe some Fino, as really my experience with Fino is right up there with my experience with hang gliding: Non-existent unless that’s a sexual innuendo.

Finish: Cranberry-orange muffin, brine, fennel, zucchini loaf, sulfur

Finish has more of the tart, wood based acidity that evens it out. Overall it has that semi-sweet, old style dessert loaf flavour.

There’s certainly elements here, again, that scream sherry (though there is none). Earth, sweetness, spice, and red fruits.

Conclusion: White wine casks are weird, yo. This is an odd, variety filled whisky that I’m not 100% sold on or off. It’s unique, that’s for certain. There’s a brine line throughout that never really goes anywhere.

It tastes like a different type of sherry. It does well in areas, but couldn’t quite hit the dismount. Certainly this dram is an argument for white wine casks. It almost needs to be out there for distillers to prove the concept.

For the rest of us? Well it’s a crazy unique dram that does well in winter. Not the worst thing on the planet.


Guess: Glen Scotia in ex-sherry?

Actually: Glen Moray SMWS 35.165 “Variety – the spice of life”

Scotch review #798, Speyside review #228, Whisky Network review #1305

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