For this quarter’s selection, we’re turning the ABV volume way down to enjoy a whisky aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. Many Scottish distilleries re-use barrels to mature their whisky, which results in more subtle barrel influences. Glen Moray distillery, however, aged this 18-year whisky in freshly-dumped bourbon barrels; hence being “first-fill” casks. A rich dram to enjoy during Fall and into the winter months.
Glen Moray distillery, located in the western edge of Elgin, the capitol of Speyside, began distilling whisky in 1897. Having just celebrated their 124th anniversary on September 13th, the distillery is producing some of the best whisky to come out of this region.
Glen Moray is known for their experimental cask finishes, as they were one of the first to begin using cask finishes other than ex-bourbon. In 1999, they introduced a Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc finished whisky – which was unprecedented at the time. Presently, they have whisky aged in a variety of barrels, from Port and Sherry to Rhum Agricole and Cabernet Sauvignon. This distillery is always pushing the boundaries. We’re always excited to see what they come out with next.
The distillery has not had an uninterrupted path. Operation closed down for 13 years between 1910 and 1923, until Glen Moray was purchased by Glenmorangie. Distilling resumed shortly after and they doubled their production. The distillery also malted their own grain - which at the time was uncommon. There have been quite a few ownership changes in the last 20 years, most notably in 2004, when Moet-Hennessy purchased Glenmorangie. Four short years later, Moet sold Glen Moray to La Martiniquaise, the current owner.
Tasting Notes: The entirety of this whisky’s maturation was done in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. The whisky shows a gold color with aromas of toasted oak, toffee, peach, melon, and apricot with faint cinnamon and wood spice. On the palate, rich, velvety, and complex flavors of cherry, hazelnut, vanilla, white chocolate, and ginger. An elegant and long finish with light hints of smoke, wood spice, citrus, clove, and toasted oak.