Glen Garioch was founded in 1797 in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire by the Manson Brothers who came from a long line of farmers and were well known in their local community. The distillery remained under their family ownership for decades, passing from one generation to the next. By 1844 it was in the hands of John Manson, who’s son Patrick would go on to become known as ‘Mosquito’ Manson after making a significant contribution to science and in particular, medicine. After graduating in Aberdeen, Patrick was posted to Taiwan where his work would eventually prove a connection between infectious diseases and mosquitoes.
The Manson family eventually sold Glen Garioch in 1908 and, after it had passed through the hands of various owners it was eventually acquired by DCL, a forerunner of Diageo. By 1968, DCL were looking to make cutbacks and decided that Brora distillery was able to meet all their needs for peated whisky, leaving Glen Garioch very much surplus to requirements. Part of the motivation for this decision were the distilleries long running problems with their water source.
These problems were finally addressed when the distillery was bought in 1970 by Stanley P Morrison (of Morrison Bowmore) who employed a water diviner to find a new source. This was achieved in 1972 and the distillery returned to production. Thus it continued until Suntory bought Morrison Bowmore and mothballed Glen Garioch once again in 1995.
You can’t keep a good distillery down though and Glen Garioch returned in 1997, this time producing an unpeated whisky. The brand would relaunch in 2009 with a modern new look and a core range consisting of the 1797 Founders Reserve, the 12 year old and later, the Virgin Oak.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 17.5 / 20. Floral, Heather Honey nose with Malty Biscuit and Bread notes and a touch of Toffee. Perhaps a little Dark Chocolate and Coffee as well.
Taste: 17.5 / 20. Caramel, Honey, Chocolate Digestive Biscuits, Orange and a touch of Spice.
Value for Money: 8.5 / 10. Good value dram at around £40 a bottle. Not bad considering it’s bottled at 48%.
Overall: 43.5 / 50. I’ve been quite impressed with the official bottlings of Glen Garioch that I’ve been lucky enough to try 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 ‘Glen’s’, but perhaps it should be.