This is my continuing review series of 2021 Special Releases from Diageo. I’m looking back at what I drink, what I think, and how things have changed.
What a great idea then to immediately go to a distillery I barely have any experience with! I’m so good at this.
So Singleton of Glendullan 19 2021 Special Release not only has a name you need to pay $50 worth of gas just to say out loud, it’s also from Glendullan, a distillery that typically doesn’t come up in my circles. It doesn’t make it to many IBs I’m able to buy. The OB comes in a 12, 15, and 18 year old offering that are all 40% and charged extra at my local monopoly alcohol emporium.
Do you see what I’m saying? If I want to try Glendullan I have to hope a bar has purchased it instead of Glenfiddich (which is cheaper and better reviewed), pay a high cost (last time I paid for a whisky at a regular bar they were charging to pay off the bottle in 3-7 pours), and then not have it in a glencairn because it’s me and maybe 30 other people who ever want them at bars. Do you get where I’m coming from?
But maybe I’m wrong? Right now there’s a cask strength, age stated release as part of the OB Special Releases. It’s finished in Cognac barrels! I like weird casks!
So maybe this is where I stop ranting and change my mind. Maybe I fall down and go boom, maybe I stay standing. Let’s see, shall we?
Cask type: Refill American Oak, then finished in Cognac barrels
Colour: 7.5Y 8/6
Nose: Nectarine, ginger, mineral, shitty chocolate, grass
Bit of fruit, some ginger, some balanced mineral note for the sweets, and then.. Huh, it’s like a super sweet, low cocoa chocolate.
Just to make it clear: When I say “this smells like shitty chocolate”, I don’t mean “this smells shitty”. I mean there’s an obvious strong sugar note that reminds me of dollar store reject chocolate. The chocolate is bad, but not for its nose. I’m not saying anyone at Diageo is using shitty chocolate around the casks.
I fully expect an illiterate idiot to ignore what I wrote, but felt like explaining it. Interesting sweet nose, though it has a decent amount of mineral and grass to balance the whole thing out.
Taste: Peach, fennel, wax chocolate, mineral, malt
Stone fruit, some spice, more of that cheap chocolate (read above), and all that with a mineral note trying really, really hard to balance it out. I was nice to the nose: The taste is too sweet. Do I hate overly sweet things? No, I always have chocolate in the house.
Is it too much here and an odd mix? Also yes, and it’s hard to reconcile that.
Finish: Ginger, mineral, apple, white chocolate, malt
Spice, apple, white chocolate, and mineral. It’s sweet, there’s more of the same, it feels like it’s trying to make up for the lack of balance by making an odd mix and improving the chocolate note (only a bit, white chocolate is pretty rough still).
It’s just an odd sweet flavour.
Conclusion: A very odd mix that I think some are going to love and others are going to be confused about. I fall somewhere in the middle. I do enjoy very sweet whiskies. I’m North American, it’s in my genes (literally). But it also mixes these extreme sweet moments with fruit, random spice, and various levels of chocolate quality.
Has it changed my mind about the distillery? No. Bluntly not at all. If this is the whisky they release at cask strength with more age and good, unique casks, then I have a hard time believing the standard 40% versions are going to change my mind. I’ll keep looking for them, but I feel this goes into blends for good reason.
Scotch review #1529, Speyside review #432, Whisky Network review #2249