Glen Moray 12
There exists a certain subset of malts that emerge on the market priced significantly cheaper than most Scotches, usually in the $30 -$40 range, that were principally used in well known blends, and are now being featured as malts in their own right. Well, I love trying new things and can't resist a bargain, so when I see one lurking on a store shelf, I tend to snap a bottle up and try it. My compulsive bargain hunting has led me to not-so-good malts and surprisingly decent ones. There's really nothing remarkable or earth shattering in this category, but they tend to make good "Tuesday drams," my term for a whisky you reach for when you just want a dram, but don't feel like breaking out the quality stuff on a Tuesday night. Bottom shelf stuff that you might not break out for a friend, but a pleasurable dram for a non-occasion...a category also filled by some of the better blends like Teacher's.
Glen Moray is an old distillery, founded in 1897 in Elgin, Speyside, on the site of a former brewery. Owned for a period by Glenmorangie, the distillery used to feature malts finished in white wine casks, Chardonnay and Chenin blanc, though sadly, since the company was sold, they seem to have discontinued the practice, which is a shame, since this malt would play very well with a dry white wine. Glen Moray starts with a mild Speyside sweetness, mellow notes of apple and pear, which gives way to gentle hints of spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Nothing's overstated here, mild flavors playing well together, and while this isn't a flavor explosion, it doesn't taste cheap, which is the biggest concern with such a bargain priced malt (I'm looking at you, Speyburn). The texture is a bit thin, and clearly chill filtered. I wish more whisky folks would follow the Burns Stewart Group and abandon the process altogether. The fruit fades quickly, while the spices linger into a surprisingly dry finish. I can see why this malt did so well finished in white wine casks; the flavor profile could easily describe a well aged Chardonnay. Overall, a decent enough whisky, with a rather unusual dry finish, though it loses points for mild flavors and a touch of roughness. Still, a pretty good bargain for a Tuesday dram. Score: 80 (B-)