New Whiskies

Batch 29

by

A trio of blends from William Grant’s resurrected Hazelwood brand, an indie single grain from Girvan and two Speyside single malts – Glen Moray and The Glenlivet – vie for Dave Broom’s attention this week. The results? Mixed…

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glen Moray 17 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 7.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Moray 17 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Pale colour. Hugely creamy nose with green, piney elements, and a touch of nose burn. Then comes soft honeysuckle and butteries covered with apricot jam. In time, things move into apple syrup and, with water, a touch of agave.

    Palate

    Remains very appealing with ample amounts of the green element – now with added herbal/fennel aspects – and central sweetness. The heat helps to give some drive. There’s some marzipan when diluted.

    Finish

    Slightly tight, even with water. Spicy.

    Conclusion

    All in all, gentle and rather lovely.

    Right place, right time

    A Cornish cream tea (that means cream on top of jam) in the woods.

    Hazelwood 18 Years Old

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Hazelwood 18 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Creamy start. A sightly confused breakfast, with hot milk on Weetabix crossed with apple pie and vanilla ice cream. There’s a lemony bite and a distant floral bouquet. Calm and collected. With water, there’s some cut grass.

    Palate

    Delicate and sweet, before some chewy vanilla comes over, mixing freesia with kumquat. Soft grain influence and a little charred oak. When diluted, shows itself to be medium-weight and slightly sugared.

    Finish

    The citrus zest returns, alongside light, drying spice.

    Conclusion

    It’s lovely, well-mannered, and very polite. Delicious, in fact, but do I want more from an 18-year-old blend? I think I do.

    Right place, right time

    Having tea with Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters.

    Hazelwood 21 Years Old

    Score 7.0/10
    Scoring explained >
    Hazelwood 21 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    More Sherry from the off, which comes across as being slightly funky with touches of treacle toffee. Despite this, it remains in the very open and gentle house style, as if it’s trying to be down and dirty, but can’t quite bring itself to abandon itself to baser instincts. A touch of sulphur carries on through the undiluted palate, adding a cordite-like edge.

    Palate

    More obvious structure than the 18-year-old, but has retained this very sweet core, along with barley sugar and juicy, dried fruits. With water, a gentle biscuity quality and that hint of Oloroso on the end.

    Finish

    Little touch of oak.

    Conclusion

    Again, well-mannered – which is hardly a fault – though quite what this has to do with 1920s Bombay (the PR line) is beyond me.

    Right place, right time

    A ballroom dancer trying to twerk.

    Hazelwood 25 Years Old

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Hazelwood 25 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Availability
    Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    The most obviously mature of the trio. Light touch of cigarette smoke and perfume alongside orange zest, stewed rhubarb, baked peaches and gentle evidence of the richness of time. Just a touch of wax, but still very up and sweet. With water, there’s white peach flesh. Elegant, but not heavy.

    Palate

    Slightly elusive, like a dancer half-revealed behind gauzy veils. A little heat, that hint of smoke, then lavender and strawberry. Becomes creamy, with sweet grain and clean spiciness.

    Finish

    Longer and with more honeyed substance.

    Conclusion

    Again, there is impeccable balance. It’s great blending, but I just want a little more grunt to proceedings to elevate it to another level.

    Right place, right time

    As you sit outside a Parisian pâtisserie, an existentialist disappears around the corner, trailing smoke from his Gitanes.

    Girvan 21 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Girvan 21 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.5%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Straw colour. Quite hot, lightly floral, but with minimal cask influence. Light and quite dry, with touches of lime oils and, in time, green banana. Opens slightly with water. On the column-still white rum side of things.

    Palate

    Much more open here than on the light nose, though it has retained that tight, floral focus. I’m reminded of butter icing on a banana cake. More lemon now, and an acidic bite. Water brings out a real sugary sweetness and lightens the finish.

    Finish

    Light and short.

    Conclusion

    It’s light, it’s pleasant, but it’s also slightly insubstantial.

    Right place, right time

    Eating a Mr Whippy on Girvan beach.

    The Glenlivet 1974 Rare Vintage (Gordon & MacPhail)

    Score 9.0/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Glenlivet 1974 Rare Vintage (Gordon & MacPhail)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Deep amber. Hugely elegant. Aromatic to start – damask rose, concentrated fruits, membrillo, cooked plum, roast pineapple. In time, a darker, moist, humic element comes through – leather and sweet leaf mulch with dark berries. Develops for hours into a mélange of wild fruits.

    Palate

    Slow, and growing slowly more expansive. The flavours shift into Cognac-esque areas of light leather, sweet spices and fruits. As with the nose, in time it moves from the airy upper elements into the depths – here it’s liquorice and chocolate. Has retained amazing length and energy. Classic old style, with the gentle power which we, sadly, rarely encounter these days.

    Finish

    Spicy, long, ginger and light oak.

    Conclusion

    A classic mature malt, and a classic Glenlivet that is highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    It can only be Abbado and Mahler.

Scroll To Top