Scotch Whisky Reviews #137-140: Glen Moray Quartet (Elgin Classic, Sherry Cask Finish, Cabernet Cask Finish, Port Finish)
Distillery: Glen Moray
Price: $13 for 4 50mL Samples
This is the nineteenth in my Countdown to Christmas series where I’ll be posting a review a day until Christmas. You can find the entire series here.
Glen Moray is one of the biggest distilleries in Scotland and I’ve not had a chance to try any of their whisky. It’s usually stocked on the bottom shelf around here, nestled next to Passport and Cutty Stark so I’ve not quite had a huge desire to try it. When this little four pack came around this year, I figured it was a good chance to give their whisky a shot.
Scotch Whisky Review #137: Glen Moray Elgin Classic
Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon
Age: NAS, average of 7 years
Nose: Really strong on the ethanol notes. It’s accompanied by a really weird, funky vegetal note. It reminds me a lot of Kweichow Moutai Baijiu or the water that’s left after you’ve rehydrated some dried shiitake mushrooms.
Palate: It’s really light. There’s a little bit of malt biscuits (think Digestives) and a bit of lemon. Not a whole lot going on here.
Finish: Really short. It’s got a very sharp ethanol note that isn’t pleasant in the slightest.
Conclusion: There is no two ways about it, it’s pretty bad. You might as well be drinking ethanol, which is a bit of an achievement given that Glen Moray has watered this down as much as they can. The only redeeming factor has to be from the palate, it’s not bad. It’s light and easy going but far from having much flavor. Would I buy a bottle? Never.
Final Score: 53.
Scotch Whisky Review #138: Glen Moray Elgin Classic Sherry Cask Finish
Cask Type: Finished in Oloroso Sherry casks
Nose: I only made out two notes here in fresh cut hay and fresh cut grass.
Palate: This starts off with a bit of rather creamy sherry. It goes on to sweet butter cookie note that remind me of Chessmen. There’s a hint of citrus zest accompanied by a little bit of vanilla.
Finish: Pretty short. There’s a little more of the sweet butter cookie once more.
Conclusion: The finishing process really masked a lot of the ethanol found in the base dram to the point where I’ve not found any. It’s fairly straightforward, there’s a little bit of creamy sherry and a rather lovely sweet butter cookie note that’s fairly pleasant. It’s not bad. Would I buy a bottle? Unlikely.
Final Score: 71.
Scotch Whisky Review #139: Glen Moray Elgin Classic Cabernet Cask Finish
Cask Type: Finished in Cabernet wine casks
Nose: There is fresh hay and fresh cut grass again that’s joined by a hint of red wine.
Palate: It’s a little bit on the bitter side with a strong oak tannin note from the get go. There’s a really muted note of cabernet that’s accompanied by vanilla wafers.
Finish: Really short. Tannins is about all you get.
Conclusion: I was actually most excited about this dram. It’s not every day you get to see something finished in cabernet wine casks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t express itself very much beyond some oak tannins that make this a little bitter. Would I buy a bottle? Probably not.
Final Score: 69.
Scotch Whisky Review #140: Glen Moray Elgin Classic Port Cask Finish
Cask Type: Finished in Port casks
Nose: There is a trace note of ethanol along with some wood varnish. Maraschino cherry and strawberry also appear.
Palate: It’s a rather fruity dram. The main note up front is of currants and blackberries but in the background linger some maraschino cherries. Some vanilla butter cookies pop up as well to round this one out.
Finish: Shortest finish of the bunch, it’s gone in a flash.
Conclusion: This dram pleasantly surprised me. It’s actually not half bad. While the nose isn’t so great with the ethanol and varnish, the palate is fruity and lovely. The currants, blackberries, and butter cookies play so well and make for a little bit of a treat. While it’s got some flaws, it’s definitely the clear winner out of this bunch. Would I buy a bottle? If I ever get a hankering for anything port finished, perhaps.
Final Score: 75.
Final Thoughts: There is a reason the regular Glen Moray Elgin Classic sits on the bottom shelf and I can’t say I’m particularly pleased to have figured it out. That said, the Port finished version was quite the surprise, I expected nothing and found a rather pleasant dram. I’m rather disappointed with the Cabernet finish and the Sherry finish was decent. Still, it was fun to try all of these and try something I probably wouldn’t otherwise.
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Scotch Whisky Reviews #137-140, Speyside Reviews #55-58, Whisky Network Review #185-188
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.