Gordon and MacPhail Glenburgie 10 Year: 43% abv
Background: What’s there to say about Glenburgie? More than you’d think, actually. Here’s the scoop. The Glenburgie distillery was founded in 1829, under the name of Kilnflat. The distillery ceased production in 1870 and went through a series of changes. Water has been a short commodity at Glenburgie, and they have exchanged, on and off, a series of stills called Loch Lomond stills, which are substantially different than the typical swan neck pot stills that are used in most distilleries. Now, the Glenburgie whisky we’re drinking today is interesting, because Gleburgie just built a new building in 2004, so this might not be the same whisky you’ll be drinking tomorrow if you find a bottle. This is a G&M bottling, an independent bottler that provides some killer whiskies. G&M do tend to be pricier than their Signatory counterparts though.
Nose: The nose starts off malty and creamy, having a gentle bready aroma and full barley complexity. There is a good amount of lemon, lime and vanilla in the nose, with tangerine citrus, along with bits of pineapple and banana. There is some nuttiness as well, which counterbalances the advertent sweetness, with salty water and green tea leaves adding some bitterness. There is fresh green mint leaves, as well as other herbal green notes. The smell is crisp, clean, and fresh. The nose is complex and presents some unique aromas that are unusual in Scotch.
Arrival: The arrival starts off with a nice blend of sweetness and zestiness. There is a unique, but strong mintiness that comes out. There is some earthiness and maple wood in the arrival, with a syrupy honey flavor as well. There is a vegetal note, one of dewy grass, that is quite interesting. There is a bitter green tea in the arrival, along with some spurts of pine. There are some hot spices in the arrival, which carry into the body.
Body: The body presents a full flavor of fresh, cooling mint. There is also a wonderful fullness of cocoa. The body is woody and full of flavor. The body has some sugar notes to it, but it still has some earthiness and spiciness in it.
Finish: The finish is incredibly minty and refreshing. It is cool and has some botanical flavor like the arrival. Cocoa is present in the finish, with citrus and wood notes as prevalent contributors to flavor. There is a certain IPA-like flavor as the finish carries through the whisky. Look hard enough, and you might find a little bit of tobacco on the finish.
Nose: After adding water, there is a bit of brown sugar and floral notes that come through. The balance in the nose is fairly good at this point, with the citrus notes backing off and giving more play to the rest of the notes.
Arrival: The arrival comes off as much more spicy, with pronounced cinnamon and nutmeg in the arrival. The flavors are more balanced, with spiciness. The arrival loses some of the flavors from before, and replaces it with the vegetal, mineral notes.
Body: The body displays mineral notes and spices, still sustaining some of its previous character. The whisky is very peppery. The body presents some caramel notes that weren’t present before.
Finish: The finish is now more malty than before, but displays some oily notes as well. It has a good blend of vegetal flavors and spices. The caramel from the body is very dominant in the finish.
Final Comments: This is a very excellent whisky. It provides a great balance, complexity, and an extremely unique character that we haven’t seen in a lot of whiskies. Although there are mixed reviews out there on Glenburgies, this is evidence that they can put out a really great product that is approachable and compelling for advanced drinkers and beginners. At 43%, this whisky presents itself as a46% whisky at minimum, although we wouldn’t complain if they gave us the extra 3%. It is important to realize, however, that despite this very positive review, Independent bottlers don’t promise the kind of consistency that you will find from the big companies. This is a major deterrent for some.
Why you’d buy it: You are looking for something outside of your normal Glens and you’re willing to take a gamble on an Independent Bottling
Why you wouldn’t: You’re a conservative drinker that doesn’t want to try something new and interesting, and good.