Glen Garioch Virgin Oak

Glen Garioch

For a long time now, it’s been rather fashionable to stick new spirit into an interesting type of cask to mature, or to finish a whisky in a cask not normally used. Whether it’s sherry butts, port pipes, rum casks, white wine casks, red wine casks, ale casks or irn bru casks made of ivory from a highland unicorn, finishing is quite the thing. Well, that last one might not be strictly true, but you get my point. A more recent trend is to stick whisky into virgin oak casks to mature. The casks are brand spanking new, untouched by alcohol and have not yet had their maturation cherry popped, so to speak. Some distilleries have been known to finish their whisky in virgin oak for just a few months, mainly because the wood imparts such strong flavours into the whisky that a full maturation may swamp the natural character of the spirit and ruin the end product. However, Glen Garioch are just about to release a limited edition fully-virgin-oak-matured whisky with only 120 cases of the stuff being made available to the UK market. Rachel Barrie, master blender at Morrison Bowmore, says, “Glen Garioch’s intense flavour means it holds up well in a new fill cask, allowing the liquid to be fully matured in virgin oak and not just finished in the barrel.” A bold statement, but has it worked?

Glen Garioch Virgin Oak
No Age Statement
48% ABV
RRP £69.99

Nose: Pine trees, toffee popcorn, Danish pastries, heaps of vanilla, honey and sugary porridge. There’s a green apple note in there too. Very sweet and inviting.

Palate: Chocolate eclair sweets, toffee, honey, buttery caramel and gingersnap biscuits swiftly give way to a hit of sweet oak, cinnamon, cloves and all sorts of wood spices.

Finish: Creamy vanilla with a touch of chocolate and lingering wood spices.

Overall: Big and full of flavour – lots of sweet notes and spicy notes to chew on. Good balance and enough depth of flavour to justify shelling out seventy quid on a bottle. Bottling at 48% ABV also perhaps gives this whisky a bit more verve than if it was bottled at 40% ABV. A really good dram.



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