Whisky Advocate

Review: Two new Glen Garioch whiskies

April 19th, 2010

It’s nice to see this new line of Glen Garioch whiskies bottled at a higher strength and not chill-filtered. And they’re definitely more vibrant than their predecessors. Both expressions are very textural and have good oak “grip”. (Perhaps the use of higher quality oak, or more first-fill casks?) No chill-filtering certainly helps too! Could this be Glen Garioch’s version of “designer” whiskies?

Glen Garioch, 1797 Founder’s Reserve, 48%, $45
This one tastes a bit youthful. Very fruity (pear, green apple, green grape, rhubarb, bright citrus) with a rich, coating, malty foundation accentuated by ginger and subtle coriander. Resinous oak finish. An enjoyable whisky, but I would like to see a lower proportion of young whisky in the mix.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 81






Glen Garioch, 12 year old, 48%, $60
Delicate sherry notes soften the oak spice, and the malty sweetness provides a foundation for this whisky. The layered sweet notes (vanilla cream, butterscotch, caramel) and fruit (lime, apple, caramelized pear) show mostly on the front of the palate, with the firm, warming dry, oak spice emerging towards the finish. A lot of oak influence for its age, but not excessive.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 84

37 Responses to “Review: Two new Glen Garioch whiskies”

  1. Rick Duff says:

    I have always liked Glen Garioch.. and thought their 8/10 year old for $20 was about the best dram for the money. I don’t like these price increases though. $60 for a 12 year old seems a bit steep.. will probably keep me away from purchasing it. The Founders Reserve still is twice was the old 8/10 yo cost.

  2. Looking forward to tasting, perhaps in Chicago, as I have not tried many Glen Gariochs.

  3. smsmmns says:

    Managed to try both at WhiskyLIVE in NYC and preferred the Founder’s. The new pack is a win as well.

  4. B.J. Reed says:

    I have some very old Glen Garoich’s – One that is 29 YO distilledy in 1968 (too woody) and one that is a circa 1990s 15 YO that was amazingly peaty – Will enjoy trying these.

  5. MrTH says:

    Someone’s getting the message–higher strength, no chill-filtering. Will definitely try to give them some positive feedback in the form of sales. The prices may seem high compared to older bottlings, but seem to me to be in line with what else is going on.

  6. Malty Madness says:

    I tried both of these whiskies at Whisky live NY a few weeks back and have to say both of them were outstanding whiskies. I was especially impressed by the founders Reserve and love where these guys are going with this distillery. I asked what the price of the Founders was and was blown away 45 Bucks!!

    I sincelry hope that this trend for high strength non-chill filtered whiskies continues!


    • John Hansell says:

      In the fairness of full disclosure and transparency, I must mention that I noticed that the IP address of Malt Madness’s comment that came in is from: That’s the owners of Glen Garioch. So there might be some bias there, perhaps?

      • Thanks, John. Appreciate the disclosure.

      • sam k says:

        Excellent and most-appreciated catch there, John! Thank you sincerely for your candor.

        Hey, Morrison Bowmore, it looks a lot better if you toot your own horn above board. You’re already getting pretty good feedback here on good products. Why not capitalize on that and thank this crowd for the support instead of trying to manipulate us?

      • JWC says:

        john, you have a gift for making understatements. to malty madness: BUSTED! LOL!

        anyway, based on john’s comments and the other comments, i may give the founder’s reserve a try, shameless marketing notwithstanding.

      • Dear John and fellow malt fans,
        I’m very sorry to have read the ‘ghost post’ originating from a Morrison Bowmore IP – someone within our business has clearly become carried away with all the excitement surrounding the Glen Garioch re-launch and we are working tirelessly to track Malty down.
        It is true that we are extremely proud of the distillery and the work that we are doing to bring this unique Highland single malt Scotch to whisk(e)y enthusiasts and we really appreciate all of the genuinely positive postings and feedback on the new Glen Garioch range in this blog.

        Jamie MacKenzie
        Regional Manager North America
        Morrison Bowmore Distillers

        • sam k says:

          Well said, Jamie. Thanks for setting the record straight. Now, get back to the business of making great whisky.

      • Henry H. says:

        John, it’s already been said, but thank you for sharing this information with your readers. This is one huge reason (among *many*, needless to say) that so many whisk(e)y drinkers appreciate you and your hard work. It cannot be easy to be in your position, yet here you are coming down on the side of integrity and transparency, regardless of the consequences vis-a-vis your relationship with the industry. Kudos to you, sir.

        Thanks also to Jamie MacKenzie of Morrison Bowmore for the statement you posted here. Would you be willing to take it one step further by issuing a company policy against such practices by anyone affiliated with the company? Or by telling us of such a policy that already exists?

        • mongo says:

          i want to commend you as well, john, for your honesty and transparency. i don’t always agree with your reviews and ratings but i do trust that they’re genuine; instances like this one bear out that trust.

        • John Hansell says:

          Henry, Stronglikecask, etc.: Thanks for the vote of confidence. The importer of this whisky is our biggest advertiser. So, if you were ever concerned that our advertisers might bias my opinions or reviews, I hope this helps to ease your mind. One of the reasons why Malt Advocate has lasted nearly 20 years is because the industry respects us, knowing that we can’t be bought.

        • Henry H. says:

          Jamie MacKenzie of Morrison Bowmore: I didn’t think you’d respond, and you didn’t. Too bad for you and your company.

  7. patrickj says:

    I was hoping for a fair bit of peat in the mix. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case, though.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      I just bet a peaty version is on its way!

    • MrTH says:

      Why does everyone have to have a peaty version? Is it really so difficult to appreciate the unclouded taste of well-made whisky?

      • B.J. Reed says:

        It is not that they have to but that the have and its fun to compare if you have an earlier version – frank I would not be excited about a peated Glenfarclas or Glenmorangie 🙂

      • Seth Nadel says:

        I agree. Too much peat in whiskies nowadays. I’m not a huge fan of peat. I don’t know how people can drink Supernova.

        • sam k says:

          Just like the hop-bomb craft beers that are so trendy now. I think once you acquire the taste and tread that path exclusively, your taste buds become desensitized to the point that only MORE will do. I steer clear of the insistence on being slapped in the face by any particular style of beverage. Finesse, my friends, finesse!

    • Rick Duff says:

      They used to make just a peaty whisky, but when the distillery was reopened they started only making a non-peated version. So in older bottlings you’ll find the peat… newer ones none.

      • George Jetson says:


        Although Glen Garioch is concentrating on a non-peated whisky nowadays, they still do produce peated whiskies. Witness this Limited Edition 1990 release available in the EU only:

        “Bottled at cask strength, this batch of Glen Garioch sees the return of peat to distinct Highland malt. Quietly matured in a classic combination of bourbon & sherry wood since 1990, the result is honeycomb and chocolate truffles with a distant hint of a smouldering fire.

        An abundance of sweet honeycomb, chocolate truffles and fresh seasoning; treacle toffee blends with fresh green apple peel and oak spice, culminating in a gentle earthy peatiness.” – from the MB online shop

        • Rick Duff says:

          Production stopped in 1995 (that was peated).. and when they started back up in 1997 they went without peat. The 1990 would have been pre-restart. They may be doing some experimental peated but not that I’m aware of.

  8. They had these at the Auchentoshan Distillery Tasting Room on a visit this past weekend. I thought the Founder’s Reserve was a bit too fruity, but the 12 year was very pleasant.

  9. Neil Fusillo says:

    I really like the Glen Garioch 8 and 15 I have. I may even like the 8 more than the 15. I do NOT like the price increases for these new releases. Glen Garioch 8 (which is really all the Founder’s Reserve likely is in rebottled format, from what I’ve tasted) was $25. They’ve basically removed the age statement and added $20. I’m not so sure I’m happy about that.

    Do like the new bottles, though. Looks nicer than the old ones. A nice design. But paying that much for new bottles seems… counterintuitive.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I always loved gg 8 as well, Neil– my experience is that higher strengths often do not pay off as much as one would liked. The much touted difference between 43 and 46% definitely doesn’t make the difference that people act like it does.

      Bottom line is they’re doing anything they can to justify selling younger whisky at a higher price. For the price of the new NAS you could get the old 15 yo or possibly a bottle of McClelland’s 16, which was of course a gg.

      Glen Gary is not the great value whisky it once was. There are no value whiskies for 20-30, these days. Time to move on to Benromach Traditional and Glenmorangie 10.

      • mongo says:

        “There are no value whiskies for 20-30, these days. ”

        tamdhu 10?

        • Red_Arremer says:

          Ah man… I wish I could say “oh yeah, mongo, of course I forgot Tamdhu” or “Really mongo, how is Tamdhu?”, but those pleasant conversations would only make sense if Tamdhu was still operational. In fact it will be officially closed in four days.

          There are still stocks around just as there are with glen garry and, slightly less so, with bowmore legend– but they aren’t going to last too long 🙁

  10. Sean says:

    I want to try these before I buy. For $45 out here in AZ (the price of the Founder’s Reserver) I can get Aberlour A’bunadh, or Laphroaig QC, or Glenlivet Nadurra, or Ardbeg 10, so I think there pricing is a little off. I would like to see the prices at $30-35 for the Founders Reserve and $40-45 for the 12.

  11. Robinski says:

    Sean, at 96 proof and non chill filtered, $45 for the FR is a deal

  12. Mike says:

    Having a glass of Glen Garioch 12 now. I never tried the older bottlings so I can’t compare but I’m enjoying this. I get strong raisin and herbal notes at first but in time it opens with some floral aromas and something almost chocolatety. The flavour is perfect, starting off sweet and fruity/floral before becoming bitter and assertive. Nice, long finish.

  13. Red_Arremer says:

    Have to say that I just picked up a bottle of the FR and am enjoying it very much. I agree with Neil who notes the similarity in the flavor profile between it and the old 8 yo.

    Relative to the 8, FR sees the lemon, cumquat notes playing a bigger role– the pumpkin spice marshmallow notes a smaller one. It’s a little hot, but it takes water very well, and as John says, it’s quite grippy and mouth coating.

    Bottom line, individualistic and invigorating– Not for beginners, but I think there are many scotch fans out there who would really like it. Not be the best buy in its price range– It pales in comparison to Benromach 10– I can still see myself picking up another somewhere down the line.

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