Man…I actually dreaded sitting down to write up this whisky, knowing as I do the distillery’s connection to The Famous Grouse (arguably my least favorite blended whisky). Imagine my surprise then, when the malt in question turns out to be a rather ok, if unspectacular, dram.
While the debate about Scotland’s oldest distillery is one that is liable to rage on indefinitely, Glenturret is yet another distillery that has thrown its name into the hat for having a legitimate claim to the title. A claim, of course, does not necessarily make it so, and while 1775 is definitely an early entry into the books, the reality may be a little different than the assertion. Let’s just say I buy into this one as much as I buy into that 1608 claim from our good friends at Bushmills. For those that care to read a little further, an interesting rundown of the Glenturret history can be found at the Malt Madness site. No point in regurgitation here, when they’ve already done such a splendid job of sharing the benefit of their wisdom.
So…while the history and the bloodline of the malt is one of my favorite aspects of Scotch whisky, I imagine you’re here to read about whether or not the whisky itself is actually decent stuff, so let’s move on…
Glenturret is indeed one of the key components of The Famous Grouse. While the distillery produces a mere ~350,000 litres of spirit annually – some of which is bottled as single malt – it still somehow manages to have a hefty influence on the Grouse. Try the two side-by-side and you’d be hard-pressed not to recognize the DNA. The thing is…the malt-heavy, syrupy, caramel-laden ‘blah’ that is the Grouse personified is only mildly present here, making me believe the ‘blender’s art’ is probably mostly to blame for the Grouse’s stodgy and (for me) almost undrinkable profile.
As for the Glenturret 10 though? At the end of the day, it’s pleasant enough for a young malt. Go into it knowing that you can expect a whisky with a rather milquetoast personality. It’s a generic, malty, grain-driven dram. Not overly complex…not a trailblazer in any way. But so what? It’s young, affordable and drinkable. Its unpresupposing nature makes me like it a little more than the score belies. I don’t mind drinking this when I want something simple. I believe that’s called ‘damning with faint praise’.
Nose: Decent nose. Dusty grains and clean barns. Slightly floral. A touch of orange and grapefruit. Sugar cookies with a faint dusting of old cinnamon. Biscuits or scones with currants. A little bit of pepper. Then a little more pepper.
Palate: Clean. Drying barley and grassy notes. Prickly delivery, but not tooooo aggressive. Slightly metallic. Spice and powdered ginger. A little bit of apple. Woods and walnut. Maltier than expected. Is that a touch of smoke? Maybe. Somewhat tannic. Finish is all wood and under-ripe pear.
Thoughts: This is a summer evening malt, not without some old school charm. Not great, not bad. Just…good-ish.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I’m always interested by single malts from distilleries that almost entirely go into blends. Compared with the relatively high quality of the introductory Caol Ila 12; do you think that no matter what the malt is itself very middle of the road, or that Edrington is making no effort to save their finer casks to sell as single malt?
Thanks for the review. I think I’ll skip this one. OK malts are fine if you have a dram or 2 every day and want an occasional variety, but if you’re like me and really only get 1-2 drams a week if you’re lucky, I’d stay stick to stuff you really enjoy. Doesn’t mean no variety, just less watered down and more craft presented.
Yes. Agreed. I used to think life was too short to drink bad whisky. Now I think more along the lines of life is too short to drink mediocre whisky. I’m like you, where a couple drams a week is where I top out unless there is an event or a flight being tasted for review.
I still like to try all I can get my hands on though. The bad ones are even more informative than the good ones.
I would like to try all I can get my hands on. But the result is that I have a huge shelf of “to try” waiting for me to finish the many open bottles I can’t finish because I drink too slowly.
Had a whisky tasting though this weekend. 11 people at its peak. Opened 3 new bottles and pretty sure we went through close to or even more than a litre from the 5 bottles I provided (there were 7 total). That ought to help me work through the stock a little.