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History of Glen Garioch
Glen Garioch was founded in 1797 in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, by local farmers, the Manson Brothers. The distillery remained under family ownership for decades, passing from one generation to the next. In 844 the distillery was run by John Manson. His son Patrick would go on to make a significant contribution to science, and in particular, medicine. Known as ‘Mosquito’ Manson, Patrick graduated in Aberdeen and was posted to Taiwan, where his work would prove the connection between infectious diseases and the bite of the mosquito!
The Manson family eventually sold Glen Garioch in 1908 and the years that followed saw regular changes in ownership. The distillery was eventually acquired in 1937 by DCL, a forerunner of Diageo. By 1968 however, DCL was looking to make cutbacks and decided that Brora distillery in Sutherland was more than capable of meeting their need for peated Highland spirit. That left Glen Garioch very much surplus to requirements. Their decision was made easier thanks to the distillery’s long-running issues with an unreliable water source.
This problem was finally addressed when Glen Garioch was bought by Stanley P Morrison (of Morrison Bowmore) in 1970. Morrison employed a water diviner to locate a new source. This was finally achieved in 1972 and the distillery returned to full production. Thus it continued until Japanese distillers Suntory bought the parent company and mothballed Glen Garioch once again in 1995.
You can’t keep a good distillery down, however, and Glen Garioch would return in 1997. This time it produced an unpeated spirit. The single malt relaunched in 2009 with a new modern look and a core range consisting of the 1797 Founders Reserve, 12-year-old and Virgin Oak expressions.
Smell: Floral, heather honey nose with malty biscuit and bready notes. A touch of Toffee. Perhaps a little dark chocolate and coffee as well.
Taste: Caramel, honey. Chocolate digestive biscuits. Orange and a touch of spice.
Thoughts: Good value dram at £40 a bottle. Especially considering that high abv of 48%. I’ve been quite impressed with the official bottlings of Glen Garioch that I’ve come across and this one is no different. For the price being asked, it offers a satisfying mouthful with a lovely touch of warming spice that I find very appealing. It’s not one of the better known Glens, but perhaps it should be.
If the whisky featured in this review has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission should you make a purchase after following a link from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.