If I was to say I’m bad at trying all the distilleries, most people would (rightfully) call me out. What I am is bad at trying lower end whiskies when the chance arises because I only have so much liver in this life.
I was already a multi-centenary Scotch reviewer when I first reviewed a Glen Ord, and only because not one but two whisky geeks. I’m not counting the people who call me out for not finishing the list of distilleries to review, as I a) understand it’s a joke and b) don’t really have the money/time/opportunity to find some distilleries that were opened less time than it took me to figure out secondary school.
And then there’s Glendullan, the workhorse distillery owned by Diageo and released under their “Singleton” line. My wife decided it was about time I try one, so she chose Glendullan 23 1972 Rare Malts Selection as a mystery to finish up our evening.
Oh, and there were two Glendullan plants, one was built in 1972 which still runs today and the other was built in 1897 which ran until 1985. I have no idea if the whisky made in “1” is different than “2”, however, this could be from either.
So perhaps I haven’t had a newer Glendullan yet? Perhaps I have? Who knows, let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Rich treacle, pomelo, espresso (creamy with some tropical fruit notes), smoked salmon, apple orchard
Immediate rich caramel/butter, strong interesting fruit notes, and a flavour I’m used to in really, really okay espresso (I only own a Moka pot).
Water brings out this smoke and brine/clean fish note, then just a ton of floral/apple/wood/farmy notes that remind me of an apple orchard. Just need some kid crying and the feeling of wasting your time apple picking and you’re right there.
Taste: Heather honey, toasted oak, honeycomb, red plum, caramel cream, mushroom
Floral/sweet, strong toast/oak notes, some more honey, and this strong red fruit flavour. Has a distinct earthy note that isn’t really fitting in however I can look past it due to the sheer amount of honey notes.
But that’s my bias, so your mileage may vary.
Finish: Rockets (candy in Canada), limoncello, caramel M&Ms, dandelion, passionfruit, hot spiced apple sauce on vanilla ice cream
Just this strong, home-y flavour with water. It builds with blends of bitter and sweet notes and just keeps getting better. Lots of strong notes on the finish. Really pops out.
Conclusion: Sweet, fruit, honey… Damn this is good. I’m not going to say it’s representative, because it’s from a different time, selected by a more prestigious independent bottler, and cask strength. Heck, this may have come from a different distillery and maybe the rest doesn’t taste like it.
But this specific Glendullan? I’m a big fan. Tons of honey, warming spices, well-developed vanilla and bitter notes. Great balance, well worth trying. Gonna have to balance it all out though, what with being cynical and all that.
Guess: Sherry cask, 50%, Hillside (guessed because I was told I’ve never had one, so was a wild guess), 20-25 years old
Actually: Glendullan 23 1972 Rare Malts Selection
Scotch review #1320, Speyside review #358, Whisky Network review #1979