Glen Elgin 18yo – Diageo Special Releases 2017

Glen Elgin 18 Feature

Wrapping up the first week of the Diageo 2017 Special Releases reviews is an 18yo Glen Elgin matured entirely in ex-bodega European oak butts. Not a bad way to start a Friday, and certainly not a bad way to lead us into next week’s line-up which consists of Blair Athol 23yo, Port Dundas 52yo, Convalmore 32yo, Brora 34yo and Port Ellen 37yo. Yeah, I know. Tough week at EWB HQ in store for me, huh?

Back to Glen Elgin. In the late 1990s the distillery played around with different yeast strains to investigate what effect that would have on the final spirit. Pombe yeast (literally meaning ‘beer’ yeast in Swahili, after the strain was discovered in an East African beer way back in 1893) was used alongside the more conventional cerevisiae yeast, with half of this whisky coming from wort fermented using the former strain and the other half with the latter strain. These batches were then vatted together to produce this expression. As such, I’m expecting something a bit out the ordinary given the monkeying around with yeast strains. Let’s see…

Glen Elgin 18yo
1998 Vintage
Diageo Special Releases 2017
5,352 bottles
54.8% ABV
£295 here

Nose: Mallow, toasted coconut, fresh bread, vanilla yoghurt, cream cheese, Campillo sweets (the strawberry and cream ones) and some stewed peaches and rhubarb. Sweet and funky.

Palate: Quite cereal led to begin; honey on porridge, Rice Krispies, stewed apples with cinnamon, pear crumble and some milk chews. Really rather creamy in fact.

Finish: Warming wood spices emerge along with vanilla slices and sawdust.

Overall: That was indeed pretty funky stuff, particularly on the nose. The sweet, bready, yogurty, creamy thing is rather pleasant and is attributed by those in the know to the action of the Pombe yeast. It really adds another dimension to the whisky. As with the Teaninich though, £295 for an 18 year old is pretty damn steep, even if you do get whisky made with funky yeast. But there you go. That rounds off the first week of reviews of the 2017 Diageo Special Releases and on Monday we head south to Blair Athol, where we’ll be reviewing the brand new 23 year old. Have a great weekend.



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