Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have just tried - Glenturret 10 years old

Glenturret is officially the oldest whisky distillery that is still in operation in Scotland. It was founded on the same site as it stands today in 1775, and was a small farm operation called Hosh Distillery. It is located in the Highland town of Crieff, which lies between Perth and Stirling, and was legalised in 1837 when a man named John Drummond took over. On its 100th anniversary in 1875, the distillery was taken over by Thomas Stewart and he changed the named to Glenturret, which it has remained as ever since.

Glenturret is also one of the smaller distilleries in Scotland, with an annual production capacity of only 350,000 litres. In comparison, most Scottish whisky distilleries have capacities of between one and three million litres. It is currently owned by the Edrington Group, who took control in 1999. Whisky from Glenturret is used predominantly in The Famous Grouse range of blended whiskies, and it is because of this that the distillery is best known.

In 2002 The Famous Grouse Experience was opened at Glenturret, which is marketed as the 'signature malt' of the Famous Grouse, and it has become the most visited distillery in Scotland as a result. Over 100,000 people visit each year and it contains some innovative features, such as a consumer whisky sampling room built in one of the warehouses and an interactive 3D show that allows you to see the world from a ‘grouse eye's view’.

Due to Glenturret’s small production capacity and that its importance in the creation of The Famous Grouse blends, the amount of single malt released under the Glenturret name is miniscule. Only this 10 years old is on regular release, although other ages or single cask expressions do occasionally appear. The Glenturret 10 years old is bottled at 40% ABV and is available from specialist whisky retailers for around £30-35 a bottle.  Glenturret is a distillery that we have never tasted any whisky from, so it's about time that we did ...

Our tasting notes
The colour is a golden yellow and the nose has an interesting initial mix of fresh green fruits (especially apple) and distinct malted barley aromas.  With time, further aromas are detectable as the initial fruit and malt soften and subside - these include honey, vanilla, baking spices (think of nutmeg and cinnamon) and hints of almond and lemon peel.

On the palate, this whisky feels quite creamy, perhaps slightly oily, and grips the inside of your mouth.  There are plenty of the bittersweet cereals notes from the nose to start with and as these begin to fade, other elements start to appear.  These notes include some crumbly brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and green apples.  There are also increasing notes of zesty lemon peel and oak, both of which have the effect of balancing the sugary sweetness and giving a drier, spicier and bittersweet edge.

The finish is quite short and follows a similar pattern to the palate - the first element to fade is the malty cereals, then the sugary sweeter notes have their moment before the drying wood spices take over to finish things off.  It is this oaky dryness that leaves its lasting impression on your taste buds.

What's the verdict?
The Glenturret 10 years old is a pleasant and expressive whisky, but may not be to everyone's tastes.  It offers challenges in that it has a distinct bittersweet and drying spicy qualities but we feel that it is all the more interesting for that.  Because of this it has great depth and complexity compared to some of its 10 year old contemporaries.  We now want to try more Glenturret whiskies, but sadly they don't really exist.  Maybe we will have a look through some of the independent bottling companies current releases and unearth something ...

1 comment:

@letstalkwhisky said...

Thanks for the review. I can pick out Famous Grouse, even the Black Grouse in any blind tasting. There is a particular nose that triggers it for me. It might be Glenturret and some grain combo. I'll taste this and see. Thanks guys. Great review. Love the objective honesty.