Whisky Review – Glen Garioch #GGDrambassador Mystery Dram

A few weeks ago Glen Garioch posted a public broadcast call to whisky bloggers offering them to register for a chance to taste an upcoming  new Glen Garioch whisky. This is quite the reverse of the standard situation where it’s usually us the bloggers who chase the distilleries for samples 🙂

I registered of course and completely forgot about it until a package showed up at my door few days ago:  In the package there were a scroll (which I almost missed), a small jam jar, chocolate with ginger and a whisky sample bottle. I opened the scroll and lo and behold – we get to play Sherlock Holmes as it’s a mystery dram!

I’ve had my share of tasting blind drams and utterly failing in identifying them) and considered going that route but I just couldn’t stop myself from having a peek in the scroll and once I read the first paragraph, I couldn’t stop myself from gathering some information before actually tasting the whisky. That paragraph says:

The entire batch of this expression was distilled one Summer’s day when Scotland took part in a global sporting event. The country where this event took place is closely linked to our tasking notes.

I love sport and follow many sports like basketball, baseball, soccer and more. So this piqued my interest – Scotland as standalone nation and not part of England in a global sporting event? Is it a coincidence that there’s such a global sporting event that happens again this summer? I think not! Quick search on the internet revealed that Scotland did take part in the FIFA world cup a couple of times in the past and the last time it happened, in 1998, it was held in France and the time before that, in 1994, it was held in Italy – I think this narrows the field a bit, ah? Let’s move on to the next clue I decoded:

The oak shares its name with a breed of cattle

Again, Google is your best friend and looking through a list of cattle breeds, there was one breed name that simply jumped out of the screen and shouted at me when I reviewed it: Limousin. I think we can safely scratch off Italy and 1994 out from the options so we’re left with 1998 vintage (and France). But more evidence is needed so I went back to a previous paragraph:

Our whisky is a perfect marriage of two regions, and you may find our whisky’s robust structure and complex flavours remind you of something else

If we’re assuming it’s a 1998 vintage and France is our country – it makes a perfect sense as France is full of spirits and wines regions. But there are so many options here: Brandy, Cognac, Calvados, Armagnac and many famous wine regions, so it was time to taste the whisky and see what we can gather from it.


Glen Garioch #GGDrambassador (48%)

Nose: Sweet and fresh, big hit of chocolate notes mixed with tropical fruits (melon in for forehead), soft melting caramel toffee, hazel nuts – a really delicious nose. After a few minutes of sniffing another wave of notes come up – red wine tannins, oak, fresh & light floral edge, fresh figs, marshmallow, raspberries and blueberries.

Palate: Starts with big oak with chocolate (less so than on nose), big red wine impact, fresh figs, some persimmon, tropical fruits – this one isn’t full bodied but light with slight sweetness and very drying feeling.

Finish: Short-Medium length finish. Oak with wood spices and nuts with drying sweet tannins.

Conclusion: Quite a tasty and easy going whisky. The nose is fantastic while the palate is lagging a bit behind but overall a good session drink for summer/spring evening.

So, from the notes above it was clear to me that those casks were not Cognac nor any other spirit casks (although I automatically thought Cognac when I found it was Limousin oak casks) as the red wine impact is clearly evident there, so the question is: which one? Good thing there are more clues in the scroll:

The casks were previously stored in a cave, 100km from the Atlantic Ocean

This one reinforced my belief it’s french and what do you know, Bordeaux region fits this description! According to map I found on Wikipedia, part of the Bordeaux region fits this 100km distance. Digging deeper on Bordeaux wines information I also found the following information nugget:

Bordeaux region use oak from two principal regions, the Limousin and the Centre of France (Allier).

Another connection made – Limousin and Bordeaux!

Oops, Almost forgot the Jam and Chocolate! The Jam is a delicious plums jam which also points me at France and Bordeaux as the South-West region is known for its plums/prunes (and many Bordeaux wines have plums in their tasting notes).

And the Chocolate? It’s inlaid with sugary Ginger pieces and was very tasty, but I have no idea what’s the clue I should gather from it 🙂

So to sum it up: I’m probably wrong, looking at the wrong country and region and my guess is far off the truth, but I’ll go forward and guess it’s a Glen Garioch 1998 Vintage matured (fully or partially? – can’t really decide on that) in wine casks from Bordeaux region (maybe even YQUEM?) but I may be wrong and it still can be Cognac casks. One thing I know for sure – it’s quite a tasty fresh and light whisky!


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