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Dream Dram: Glen Moray Mastery on the tasting table!

2017-07-11

Recognising the work of his predecessors, Graham Coull, Glen Moray’s Master Distiller, selected five different vintages of Glen Moray to create MASTERY, the ultimate ‘blend’.

Three of the five vintages used were laid down by Graham’s Glen Moray forefathers, Robert Brown (manager from 1959-1987) and Edwin Dodson (manager from 1987-2005). Two of Graham’s own vintages are in there too, as well as evidence of techniques first employed by Glen Moray’s original pioneers, James Haddow (manager from 1913-1927) and his son, Alexander Haddow (manager from 1927 -1959).

With great skill and finesse, Graham experimented to find the ultimate composition, using whisky matured in different fortified wine casks (sherry, madeira and port) to form the backbone of the 120th Anniversary release.

By using the sweetness of port to bring out the best in the heavier flavours emanating from the sherry and Madeira, Graham has added his own ‘twist’ to the Glen Moray classic taste profile.

The 120th Anniversary Release celebrates the traditional craftsmanship of Glen Moray while raising a glass to the innovation of maturing in wine casks. Mastery is smooth, sleek and sophisticated.’

Graham Coull says: ‘The Madeira casks that we’ve chosen to form the heart of the whisky relate back to the genuine traditions of Glen Moray experimenting with different, innovative techniques in maturation. It’s me putting a twist on the spirit that was made by previous generations of master distillers.’

I wanted to bring in something from 1978, some of the oldest whisky in the warehouses, that represented whisky made by Robert Brown, the 3rd generation of Master Distiller, who was at the helm of Glen Moray from 1959 until 1987 as well as casks filled in the 80’s and 90’s by my predecessor, Ed Dodson.

We’ve intertwined these with whisky that has spent its full term in first-fill sherry casks and also a proportion that has been finished in port, to develop the layers of complexity in the overall bottling.

The port finished whisky brings a little lightness, which we felt perfectly balances the more robust flavours of the sherry and madeira casks in the blend.’

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Nose: Expressive and flavoursome with delightful red fruits, orange blossom, buttered brioche, custard cream biscuits, gentle toasted oak, raisins, sultanas and banoffee. There’s also some more robust hints of leather and old furnitures, as well as cooked apricots dipped in melted dark chocolate.

Palate: Rich, powerful and rather complex, still less “pastry sweet” than what the nose suggested… Roasted nuts, raw coffee beans, plums and a full array of sweet and hot spices ranging from brown sugar to black pepper. The “leathery/waxy/old man’s cave” notes are still showing, accompanied by honey and burnt caramel. Overall, the fortified wine influence definitely shows more in the mouth.

After adding a few drops of water (which I would highly recommend here), sweeter notes of fruit cake, candied dark cherries and Christmas cookies appear.

Finish: long-lasting with drier notes, wood spices and wine tannins.