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.




  1. Is it really worth it..??? No Age Statement and only
    48% ABV
    at £69.99
    while you can have a
    Arran Single 14yo
    55.5% ABV
    the last one sound better.

    Anyway..there is should be a law which stop the distilleries put the whisky for sale without any age statements..I like to know what I’m paying for and what I’m drinking and is simple as that and don’t wont’t to hear any crap like…old one is not necessarily better!!

  2. Has Malt Inquisitor tried the Glen Garioch? Actually it is £64.95 in Royal Mile Whiskies (cheaper than the Arran), and is a hugely flavoured dram.It is NOT about age, but about QUALITY. Simple really, if you can recognise quality without numbers.

  3. Of course I’ve tried Glen Garioch Founders Reserve and Glen Garioch 12 Year Old the last one was miles better!!! I’ve tried a few vintages as well.
    Actually you can find Arran Single 14yo for around £45..and that’s £20 cheaper then Glen Garioch Virgin Oak.There is also Glen Garioch 1991 for around £70 which is a good whisky..I would rather buy Glen Garioch 1991 vintage then bogus Glen Garioch Virgin Oak…and hopefully it will be on the shelves for a ages.

    The (no age statement) whisky bottles technically should cost much cheaper then bottles with age statement…really simple isn’t it???
    …and as I mention before I like to know what I’m paying for and what I’m drinking and is simple as that!!

    p.s there is a similar whisky you can buy for the nearly half the price what’s glen bogus ask for…Deanston Virgin Oak 46.3% £40 I would like to hear your comment on that..!!!

  4. TO Paula,
    (It is NOT about age, but about QUALITY. Simple really, if you can recognize quality without numbers)

    unfortunately QUALITY can’t be recognize without the numbers …is a old skool ,you would slap in the face if you try to proof I’m wrong!!

  5. Malt Inquisitor,

    I think you can safely assume, given the regulations concerning a label claim of whisky age, this is a 3 year-old.

    Besides the obvious regulation that whisky cannot be legally called or sold as whisky in the UK without a minimum of 3 years in (the same) barrel (undisturbed) and that if it was 8 years old or more it would be a boasting claim on the label, while 3 isn’t – my experience is that as ‘still-strength’ whisky is a very agressive solvent and as virgin oak carries a very large number and volume of soluble lignins, flavonoids, tannins and vanillin, 3 years is a very long time to leave it in barrel. It would have extracted everything by then.

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