If there was one brand which owns the entry level single malt sector it would be Glen Moray and their Classic’s range. The distillery has a complete range of whiskies all available for under £30 in the UK and I have been remiss to have not mentioned them here before now.
The Glen Moray distillery is in the village of Elgin which is near the coast of Lossiemouth and located on the road between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Having been around since 1897 as a product of the whisky boom it is not the first alcohol production facility in the area. Originally the site was used for the production of beer with the water source Riber Lossie being the attraction.
The distillery has been in almost constant production since 1923 and has used four stills since 1958. Like so many distilleries they lost their own malting facilities in the late 1970’s to cut costs and take advantage of the economies of scale developing with so many distilleries under common parent ownerships.
The current owners are La Martiniquaise who have bought the distillery from LVMH in 2008. The purpose of the distillery is mostly to provide product for Label Five blend and Glen Turner brands but with increasing production by 40% there is a wide range of single malt products available now. In addition to the Classic’s range there is the heritage range which all include age statements and the premium range which is mostly only available from the distillery shop.
The Port finish expression was released in 2014 and is about the hardest one in the range to buy. Available only from online retailers this is still only £28 a bottle at 40% ABV. There is colouring and filtering used in the process as with all the classic’s in the range. The other products are:
- Classic – ex bourbon
- Sherry Finish
- Chardonnay Finish
- Cabernat Finish
The port finish specifically as an 8 month finish in ex-port pipes from Porto Cruz with the initial maturation being in ex-bourbon barrels. I know from following the master blender on Twitter that first-fill ex-bourbon barrels are used extensively for the first maturation in the Classic’s range to get that honey and vanilla profile into the whisky early on.
Colour – straw yellow
Nose – Lots of soft oak, wood sap then soaked fruit notes before a woody herby quality. I get a slight note of like a leather polish as well.
Palate – More of the soft and sweet wood sap and toasted vanilla extract. The ripe fruit notes continue from the nose as well. The texture is quite thin though which is its only criticism.
Finish – Following on from the texture on the palate the finish is equally pretty short. As is the theme here the notes on the finish mirror the nose and palate before it.
All in all quite a delicate but flavoursome whisky. Over the winter period I have been abandoning my usual Islay peated whiskies in favour of ex-port cask which is a new thing for me. This whisky and the Talisker Port Cask are the two which are am constantly reaching for out of all the open bottles in the cupboard.