This is an amalgam of a few different reviews I originally posted on Reddit. The Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve was one of the early bottles that I bought, as it was reasonably priced at the LCBO and, in my opinion, was a much nicer Highland option than other entry level bottles. This caused me to seek out other bottlings from Glen Garioch (pronounced glen geery for anyone who didn’t know!) the collection of which are below.
Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve – NCF – 48% ABV
bought this on a whim after taking a shining to the classic look of the bottle and packaging. Figured it could just be a lesser known, under-appreciated dram and felt like giving it a try!
- Appearance: dark amber/orange colour and generous thick legs
- Nose: heavy nose that I can smell from a couple feet away. Diving into the glencairn, the aromas are a bouquet of green fruit, honey, lavender, and spices. Can smell the 48% heat.
- Taste: just a fantastic mix of flavours! Sweet honey, green apple, spiciness, but I can’t place it, maybe cinnamon? Nutty, malty and earthy. Incredibly rich. After adding a TSP of water to reduce the heat, and got a chocolatey note and way more tannins and oak. absolutely fantastic.
- Finish: long and warm. Sweet honey and vanilla linger. Very hot on the tongue.
- Rating: 90/100
this one made the 90 cut and is delicious and layered. Water really did it some favours too. at only $55 (now $60 as I post it on TWS), it’s cheap by Ontario standards and I’d recommend anyone in the province to get their hands on a bottle!
Glen Garioch 12 – NCF – 48% ABV
got together with a buddy tonight who I recently found out is a huge scotch fan. He picked up a ton of bottles out West (where freedom reigns and liquor taxation isn’t insane) and has some incredible bottles in his collection. One of the ones he shared was the Glen Garioch 12 yr, as he’d found out I really enjoyed their Founder’s Reserve recently. So as he tried that dram, I tried a glass of this beauty. I only took mental notes while drinking it so this will be less detailed than most of my reviews!
- Appearance: rather pale, not at all like the founder’s reserve.
- Nose: fruity. Floral heather, some citrus, spicy
- Taste: definitely tastes older than the NAS Founder’s Reserve. Woody and floral, burnt sugar. An almost musty taste.
- Finish: bit of fruit and flowers. Oaky.
- Rating: 86/100
very tasty, though I do prefer the Founder’s Reserve.
I’m a big fan of Glen Garioch. The Founder’s Reserve was a fantastic bottle that the LCBO actually underpriced, I felt. Then I tried the 12 and enjoyed it as well. Then the 1995 vintage 17yr was purchased to celebrate selling my house, and it was phenomenal. So when I was up at the Dam Pub on the weekend, I decided to go with a few of these to round out the set of their standard offerings by trying the 8, 10 & 15yr bottlings.
Glen Garioch 8 – 40%
- Colour: Amber gold
- Nose: Honey,floral, light, pears, grass, malt,
- Palate: Honey again, lots of light fruit, pears apples, grassy, definitely tastes it’s age. Not mellowed out at all, a bit brash for 40%. very Sweet nectar.
- Finish: sweet and short.
- Score: 79/100
- Overall: Young sweet and has potential
Glen Garioch 10 – 40%
- Colour: same as 8
- Nose: More going on here. Sugar, honey, but less sweet. Bit of Nutmeg, slight spice. Cereal. Nutty. Honey nut cheerios
- Palate: Less harsh by far. Spicy…cinnamon and nutmeg still . quite woody and oaky. Damp wood. Fire after its been doused. Nutty and malty.
- Finish: A little bitter. Spicy and medium length.
- Score: 81/100
- Overall: More rounded, nutty and more oak influence.
Glen Garioch 15 – 43%
- Colour: Slightly darker amber
- Nose: Sweet but not as sweet as 8/10. More Oak, vanilla. Less spice than 10. Honey, . less complex than 10 strangely.
- Palate: Interesting.. I get a slight dill note. Tons of oak and spice. Quite sweet still with honey and caramel . thicker mouth feel and more mellow despite higher abv. Nutty again but less than 10
- Finish: Moderate, spicy and sweet. Some chocolate in the finish that’s quite nice.
- Score: 83/100
- Overall: Better than the others… Kind of combines good characteristics of both and lacks the bitterness of the 10. the set didn’t live up to my expectations based on previous experiences with the distillery though. Too bad.
I bought this bottle celebrate the sale of my house . I’m a big fan of the Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve, and so i figured a 16-17 yr old cask strength version of their spirit must be pretty damn good. the bottle says this stuff is from the very last production run in 1995 before the distillery shut down for 2 years. it was then aged for over 16 years in 1st fill ex-bourbon and bottled in 2012 as part of a limited run. looking forward to trying it!
Glen Garioch 1995-2012 Cask Strength, Batch 10 – 55.3% ABV
- Appearance: pale yellow straw. Not coloured. Incredible how little colour it picked up after 16 years. Legs are wide and rich.
- Nose: lots of fruit: apple, banana, pear, berries. Chocolate and mocha. Sweet bread. Vanilla, oak and some maple. Cinnamon.
- Taste: lots of chocolate. Chocolate covered cherries. Oaky vanilla, cherry cordial. Fruit again too: bananas, peach, apricot, plums… wow tons of plums in the finish [spoilers]. The box says this old spirit is lightly peated but I really don’t get any peat or smoke from this dram at all.
- Finish: plums! So good. More fruit, chocolate and some maple. It’s long and warm.
- Rating: 92/100
this is a fantastic dram. It’s got a ton of notes from all over the flavour wheel; it’s cask strength and really warms you up; it’s got history and cache; and it’s from a distillery I greatly respect for putting out quality drams. I’m a big fan, and I encourage anyone who can get their hands on a bottle to do so, or swap for it if not. well done Glen Garioch… i had high expectations and you delivered.
if you made it this far, i hope you enjoyed the review set. Overall, this is a really nice highland distillery that doesn’t get the same marketing budget or fanfare as a Glenmorangie, but delivers on taste.