Review – Out of the Glen Ord(inary) – Mey Selections Rare Cask.

This release is the first in Goldfinch Whisky Merchants ‘Mey Selections Rare Cask Series’. The people behind Goldfinch Whisky Merchants are Andrew and Ros MacDonald-Bennett who both have considerable experience in the wines and spirits sector with Andrew working laterally on projects with Highland Park and Glenrothes.

The Mey Selections range (named after the Castle of Mey, owned by the Royal Family) helps to support HRH The Duke of Rothsay’s North Highland Initiative charitable organisation with a donation from every bottle sold helping rural communities in the far north of Scotland.

This particular release is a 12 year old Glen Ord which was fully matured in a first-fill European oak sherry butt. It was distilled in April 2007, yielding a 689 bottles in July 2019. It is bottled at 51% abv, is non chill filtered and at natural colour.

The Rare Cask Series releases have been selected for Goldfinch by Max McFarlane who spent over 40 years working for Edrington before most recently taking up a position at Ardgowan Distillery.

Truth is that there is seldom an Independent Glen Ord these days, such is the appetite for the Diageo ‘Singleton Trifecta’ that sees most of Glen Ord’s production grouped in with Glendullan and Dufftown. The key market for Glen Ord these days is very much out in the Far East.

So, an Indie Glen Ord focused a little closer to home? Not to mention a full term maturation in a first fill sherry cask to boot which, potentially combined with the Glen Ord’s signature light, grassy nature, leaves me a little concerned about spirit obfuscation, but here we go.

 

Glen Ord – Mey Selections Rare Cask Series (IB – Goldfinch Whisky Merchants) 12yo, 51%abv, press sample, available here.

 

The nose is soft and pleasant, full of subtle sherry influences. There is a surprising Manuka honey note that overlays some fruity red apple and raspberry elements. It is rich but subtly so. Given a few moments vanilla, cinnamon and toasted oats reveal themselves which, alongside the red fruits from before give a feeling of Cranachan

The palate brings forth more fruity elements, some distant tropical fruits with a slight sharp edge reminiscent of redcurrants. Spices begin to appear, soft cinnamon and faint nutmeg along with raisins and figs.

By the time we reach the finish the spices slowly fade to leave some drying, lingering oaky tannins and a final soft twist of ginger.

 

All in all it is very well balanced with a wonderful sherry influence (not a domination). Perfectly drinkable at 51% abv, containing a great mix of complexity and drinkability.

At a little under £120 I’d suggest it is a touch on the pricy side, however it really depends on how much you wish to support the charity and if you want a (reasonably) rare independent bottling from this distillery as to how much value you find in this bottle.

 

You can find more of my tasting notes in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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