Glen Ord Reviews [13 Cadenhead, SMWS 77.28, 25 & 30 year old]

Thanks to ScotchGuy_TO  for these samples.

Many moons ago, in the before times, people took alcohol drinking and made it a social activity. Some went further, trying out different offerings, seeing how people differed, and having a good time.

Before the diseases came, we had fun.

During one of these now mythical times, where we were teasing one another in fun, bond-creating fashions, it came up that I hadn’t had many Glen Ord.

So I was given Glen Ord.

However on another time the fact that I had only one now of a whisky most people try as an entry level (as part of the Singleton series) meant I needed to bump those numbers up! Those were rookie numbers!

So Glen Ord: How’s it taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Glen Ord 13 2005 Cadenhead was bottled for the Companions of the Quaich, a whisky group named after being friends with a bowl (Citation required, not correct at all, said as a joke).

So we have 13 years in a Bourbon Hogshead at cask strength from Cadenhead and agreed upon by a group of whisky geeks. I’m sold. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Price: € 70

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 2005

Bottled: 2018

Cask Type: Bourbon Hogshead

Number of bottles: 294

Bottled for: The Companions of the Quaich

Abv: 55.1%

Colour: 5Y 9/6

Nose: Mint nectarine, mineral water, vanilla

Shy at first. Can’t split the mint from the nectarine. Bit sharp. Water brings out vanilla, which adds some needed complexity.

Taste: Brown sugar, mango, plum, coffee, vanilla

Again shy. Sweet, some molasses at first, lots of fruit (tropical and sour). Water again comes to save the day, thus why it’s being traded on the commodities exchange (kidding, that’s for greed).

Finish: Anise, cereal, molasses, roast veggie, rice pudding

Spicy, good cereal note, though less complex. Water again brings out this roast note and adds to it.

Conclusion: Roast/Sharp flavour heaven, though it really needs lots of water. I can see why they picked this. It’s a nice young dram that you could have on a regular basis, add some water, get those roasted notes and be happy.


Glen Ord SMWS 77.28 “Tropical Nights” is a cask strength SMWS pick back in the time when I used to enjoy their picks and you could afford things. But you know, we have money to be made, so get more people to join and low your standards and up the prices!

So this particular Glen Ord was aged in a Second-Fill Charred Hogsheads for 25 years. How does Glen Ord take the years? Who knows, let’s see!

Price: Couldn’t find it

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 13.08.1987

Stated Age: 25-years-old

Cask type: Second Fill Charred Hogshead

Number of bottles: 236

Abv: 54.9%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Floral, colourful marshmallows, honey tangerine, butter, pecan pie

Floral and those marshmallows that parents thought were neat since the 60s but were probably just taking time off our lives. Water brings out more natural flavours, like honey tangerine, butter (that grows like a tuber, right) and pecan pie.

Taste: Cardamon, honey, nutmeg, violets, nerds, cinnamon

Orange is the main element here, though in that spice, cardamom way I enjoy more than the actual fruit way.

Actually spice takes on the whole thing, right from no water to water. It’s close to a nutty, sweeter dessert, though it lacks something to hold it together (like butter, or cereal).

Finish: Orange liquor, caramel, peanut, cloves, ginger, nectarine jam

Full on orange finish. Lots of jammy notes, strong alcohol, caramel, and eventually some fruit to cement it all in place.

Conclusion: Spicy and orange. If I liked orange more, I’d have liked this more. It’s complex in that it has lots and lots of individual interesting flavours. I… just don’t like orange that much. Fuck Florida and all that.

I would have been happy with this bottle. It’s got the complexity to match the age. And shows what Glen Ord is doing at the older ages (at least with this one bottle). If you’re a fan of spice and orange it’s a no brainer. Too bad it’s not newer.


Glen Ord 25 Diageo Special Release 2004 was released in the well before times when we thought that 2001’s financial woes were well behind us and would never impact us again.

Oh how naive we were. Also in 2004 Diageo releases a 25-year-old “oak cask” aged limited edition whisky from Glen Ord.

So before we had a single cask that Glen Ord sold to a group because it couldn’t be vatted or they needed the space or they didn’t like the flavours or someone dared them to (probably). Now we have casks that were vatted together by the distillery itself with the view of this being special.

Thus we encounter a whisky debate: OB or IB? Well let’s see if the naive optimism extended to whisky in 2004, shall we?

Price: € 460

Vintage: 1978

Bottled: 2004

Cask type: Oak Cask

Number of bottles: 3,600

Abv: 58.3%

Colour: 7.5YR 5/8

Nose: Charred orange, rhubarb & strawberry, algae, mango, rose, cotton candy

More orange. I’m sensing there’s a reason I didn’t go hunting for Glen Ord prior to being called out. Floral, tropical, good tart/sweet balance. Even some vegetal notes to make you a happy person. And we all like that.

Taste: Papaya, mango, orange, strawberry, mineral, brown sugar

Tropical, tropical, some orange to remind me it’s Glen Ord, mineral (which I love with tropical notes) and brown sugar. Oddly similar to the one above. Almost like it was distilled and aged by the same people (sarcasm).

That said, the taste kept hinting at the lovely complexity above but misses just shy of it.

Finish: Brown sugar, dry apple, papaya, grapefruit, salt, leather

Long finish. Good dry notes to finish it, lovely salt note that works with the tart aspects, and water brings out a leather note that I’m in love with.

Conclusion: Great nose, however I’m begging for just a bit more on the taste. I’m seriously splitting hairs here, to be honest. If you had either of these you’d note they are fun times (at whichever high you want).

This one had a better nose, a well constructed finish, and a weak taste. The taste would have dragged it down, but damn am I a sucker for leather.


Glen Ord 30 Diageo Release was released in 2005, because it seems back when I was in University Diageo decided they were safe to release whiskies I couldn’t afford or begin to enjoy, what with being in second year university, changing majors, being a naive 20 something who still drank orange juice and amaretto…

Anyway this is 30-years-old, not a single cask, cask strength, and that’s all we get to learn. Remember it was the Bush years so information dissemination wasn’t the biggest thing (yeah, like it is now [this is sarcasm]).

So let’s see what orange juice mixing me missed out on, shall we? And does this pair as well with pizza pockets as my old drink of choice?

Price: € 675

Bottled: 2005

Number of bottles: 6,000

Abv: 58.7%

Colour: 7/5Y 8/6

Nose: Mango, grapefruit, pot pourri, ruby chocolate, toffee, Twizzlers

Tropical fruit, citrus, floral. All these things we now know like the back of our hand. Or at least the palm. Oh, who am I kidding, my wife does it better (the whisky and me, if you’re wondering).

Water brings out my inner childhood dream of visiting Willy Wonka’s factory and surviving (something I did as an adult).

Taste: Brown sugar, mineral, caramel, mango, orange liquor, anise

Here again we see something similar to the above: The nose has this interesting depth and complexity yet the taste is not meeting that standard. Still tasty, still lots to look at, but not as integrated.

Finish: Floral, grassy, grapefruit, mineral, butter/caramel, cardamom

Long finish. Not as final as the 25 was. Less spice, less dry notes, and less complexity.

Conclusion: Spicier, a bit less refined, but what a great nose (if sugar heavy). So what we have here is the nose really meeting the standard of an older, well developed dram and then the rest being complex but not as well done.

I still enjoyed the whole thing, and if anything I think the orange is less bossy here, however I think if you were buying this hoping for lightning to strike twice in a row, well.. You were as sad as everyone who saw Bush re elected and not make the world a better place.


Scotch review #1356-59, Speyside review #369-372, Whisky Network review #2029-2032

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