Big Trouble in Little Cider

You’d be fair in suggesting the opinion that Scotch Whisky has been, until recently, in something akin to cruise mode. A bit like approaching the end of your notice period, its ticked away steadily without much fanfare, to some extent sitting on its laurels you could argue. Experimentation has occurred but remains relatively limited, in part (not completely) due to regulations imposed by the industry body, the SWA.

At the Glen Moray distillery the Master Distiller at the time, Graham Coull (self professed winner of ‘Elgin rear of the year 1997‘) – awoke one sunny morning and thought it would be a great idea to stick some aged spirit in casks that previously held cider.

Now the SWA didn’t like that at all. So much so that as night fell, a glow appeared on the horizon that steadily grew brighter and brighter. Chanting could be heard growing steadily louder. A mob had come for Graham, pitchforks-and-all. Still in his somewhat questionable choice of shorts and novelty socks that consistently terrified the locals, he was unceremoniously thrown into the boot of a 1982 Austin Metro and smuggled on to a ferry bound for Dublin hidden in a crate of Cox apples. Unfortunately the crate was lost overboard and after spending three weeks on the choppy waters of the Irish sea and the Atlantic, it washed up on the shores of Dingle on Ireland’s west coast.

The SWA rounded up an angry mob from the Apple Society of Speyside (ASS)

Now banished from Scotland and quickly eating through his emergency supply of Nairn’s oatcakes, Graham stumbled across the Dingle distillery where he talked his way in to the building by pretending he was reading the electricity meter. He’s now the master distiller at Dingle and has been putting his own stamp on the place since day one. He is however still searching for that elusive and coveted Dingle rear of the year win.

The whisky in question here isn’t Dingle although I will be reviewing some at some point, this is a 2007 Glen Moray distilled during Graham’s tenure and bottled by Berry Bros and Rudd. This is an Amazon exclusive and while I’m not the biggest fan of supporting the current rise of billionaire’s wealth in the middle of a pandemic, I like Glen Moray, I like BB&R and this was on offer at £36 a few months ago so my principles temporarily took a back seat.

Distilled in 2007 and matured in ex bourbon casks before being bottled in 2019, this single malt is natural colour and non-chill filtered.

Glen Moray 2007 (Cask 5805) Bott 2019 46% NCF – Natural Colour – RRP £53

A nice rich gold in the bottle and glass highlighting some good quality American oak maturation.

On the nose we have some really lovely baking notes. Fresh cut stem ginger, lemon shortbread, vanilla and golden syrup. Very engaging, very multilayered too with each flavour standing proud. There’s also something akin to fresh nectarine and a standout for me was a chunk of lemon sherbet in there towards the back.

The palate, carries a good oily texture. Crisp tart green apple, lemon curd and orange blossom water (oh how very Waitrose). In comes a welcome and warming hit of spice. Now I’m choosing my next words carefully but genuinely there’s a dry, matured cider like element here. The sherbet from the nose presents itself again as it tingles right on the tip of the tongue throughout the long, sweet and warming finish.

Overall a really lovely drop and so glad I picked this up. Glen Moray has been very overlooked outside of the Elgin Classics range and indie bottlings such as this really highlight what you may have been missing. This for me is Glen Moray in it’s purest form whilst under Graham’s watchful eye and can only assume this is first fill bourbon which was Graham’s preference at the time. Bourbon cask maturation alongside Glen Moray’s light and fruity spirit is a match made in heaven. Also a big shout out to the guys at BB&R for the cask selection here, you’ve played a blinder.

Available from Amazon Here

Score: Very Good (on the cusp of Outstanding)

Fancy some tunes? The Malt Music for this dram is comes courtesy of the legends that are the Stone Roses, a Mancuian institution. There’s no intro needed to the band or the song so sit back, pour a dram, and let the music do the talking.

Scoring Scale:

Holy Grail – Indiana Jones himself can only hope to find such a treasure.
Unbelievable – Among the best I’ve ever had. Must be tried at all costs.
Outstanding – One you should try to get hold of. Qualities in abundance.
Very Good – One to have on the shelf regularly. Provides consistent enjoyment.
Good
– I’d happily drink this. One to buy at the right price.
Solid
– No particular flaws but no wow factor either.
Fine
– There to take the edge off. Good for highballs and won’t need much thought.
Meh
– Somewhat flawed. More of a chore than a pleasure.
Oh Dear
– Consistent flaws. Gets you where you’re going at the speed you want to get there.
Please Make it Stop
– Not one to seek out. Hope for a gift receipt.

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