Another two superb drams of early nineties Glen Garioch that I like even more than yesterdays' already pretty good A.D. Rattray's. No below-average dram so far (after five different bottlings). I am curious if it stays that way...
[September, 2019] I re-tasted this dram tonight and I have to say I like it a little less than with my first review. Tonight I would go for a 88-89 points score because of a rather limited complexity, but still this is an impressive taste no doubt.
The colour of the 23y is amber and shows a texture of late slow legs and sticky tears. The 21y is significantly darker at russetmuscat and the texture shows even later legs that move a little bit faster than the 23y's ones and late sticky tears, too. The 23y offers a nice nosing profile of grassy, herbal and vanilla-toffee aromas in a great balance, I like that. After some minutes the vanilla-toffee aromas grow stronger and dominate the others, unfortunately. The nose of the 21y is modern style sherry-driven with raisins, herbs, chocolate and dried fruits. After a while of breathing it offers more forest aromas like wet duff and pine needles. Nicely balanced too and I like it better than the 23y.
The taste of the 21y shows a typical modern style sherry profile without any flaws that I can find. It is quite complex and balances the sherry-induced flavours with the malty aromas and wooden notes in a nice way. No, the sherry is neither dominating the nose nor the taste. The 23y offers the typical "crème brûlée" profile of a Glen Garioch matured in bourbon casks that you either like or not. I do like it because it is not one-dimensional but surrounded by a lot of spices, earthy and chalky flavours. Nevertheless I prefer the 21y because of its more subtle and complex taste. Some water turns the 23y smoother and more approachable but be cautious as too much reduction flattens the great profile. I like the 23y best when neat but I strongly recommend to experiment with water on that (if you have more than just a small sample at your hands). The 21y offers significant additional aromas and flavours when reduced with some water and I like it that way best. Again, do not add too much of it (but it will NOT turn the dram bitter as it happens so often with sherry matured whiskies) so playing with water is okay as long as you can raise the strength again with adding some neat whisky from the bottle.
The 23y arrives on the palate a little hot and peppery with a bold coating feeling and no distracting moments (really good!). The 21y is warming and a little less coating than the 23y and has no distracting feelings either. Here I like the 23y a little more. Both own a (very) long finish without any bitter or drying moments. The 23y shows more tobacco and lime notes that nicely counter the sweet vanilla-toffee flavour. The 21y adds some sweet and sour sherry flavours to the finish that are quite interesting to explore, together with more spices. A very different profile of the two drams again but both are great, I vote for a draw on this dimension.