Glen Garioch 12-year-old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

If you’re looking for a flowery whisky review full of bullshit about how it lingers on the palate, you’ll no doubt find much better write-ups on this elsewhere.

But if, like me, you’re not a whisky expert and just wanna know if it tastes any good, pull up a chair.

I’m mostly a brandy guy. Brandy and Coke…so hardly at the cutting edge of alcohol writing, I have to admit.

But when there’s no brandy to hand, or when I’m feeling particularly badass and want to pose with a ‘dram,’ I will give a single malt a try.

A good pal of mine (who happens to be an expert and a damn fine reviewer of whisky, as it happens) The Whisky Moose once told me – in a drunken conversation as I downed another brandy and Coke and he sipped a malt – that “there’s a whisky for everyone.”

I worked out pretty swiftly that the peaty ones that smell like a hospital (and usually taste like the dregs squeezed from your granny’s well-pissed mattress) are definitely not the whiskies for me.

My sweet tooth was impressed with the Balvenie Doublewood 14, so I use that as my baseline whenever anyone tries to feed me a dram.

I was given a 50ml miniature of the Glen Garioch 12-year-old as a ‘favour’ at a friend’s wedding recently and thought I’d try it as a before-bed treat, following the same pattern I always do when trying whisky – one single block of ice.

And the smell of the Glen Garioch in the glass is definitely right up my street. I could be smelling caramel, and maybe even some cinnamon. Really, I don’t know how ‘real’ whisky reviewers come up with that stuff. But if pushed, that’s what I’m getting.

The important stuff is how it tastes and the Glen Garioch is mercifully free of that instant, shudder-inducing kick I have found with so many other whiskies. Smooth is one way to describe it, another is warm. And that warmth sticks around for a while after each sip, meaning my 50ml serving lasted longer than I’d have expected.

There’s a sweetness there too, which is right up my alley, and I later added a second ice block. This extra water seemed to bring even more smells and tastes out of the whisky.

Reading up on the Glen Garioch, I discovered it is matured in bourbon and sherry casks and, perhaps it was just the psychology of what I’d just read, but I was convinced I got a whiff and taste of sherry or port.

If you wanna impress guests with a whisky they might not be familiar with, the Glen Garioch is well worth checking out. And if the notion for a whisky takes me when I’m next out and about, I might well ask for one of these as a change from my usual Balvenie.

I will shortly be adding a man-size bottle to my liquor cabinet, no doubt.

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