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Glen Garioch was founded in 1797 in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire by local farmers, the Manson Brothers. The distillery remained under the ownership of their descendants for decades, passing from one generation to the next until in 1844 it came into the possession of one John Manson who’s son Patrick would make a most 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 eventually prove a 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 before the distillery was eventually acquired in 1937 by DCL, the forerunner of Diageo. By 1968 however, DCL were looking to make cutbacks and decided that Brora distillery in Sutherland was more than capable of meeting their need for peated highland spirit, leaving poor Glen Garioch very much surplus to requirements. A decision aided by the distilleries long running issues with unreliable water sources.
This problem was finally addressed when the distillery was bought in 1970 by Stanley P Morrison (of Morrison Bowmore) who employed a water diviner to locate a trusted new source. This was achieved in 1972 and the distillery returned to full production. Thus it continued until Japanese distillers Suntory bought the 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 producing unpeated spirit. The single malt brand relaunched in 2009 with a modern new look and a core range consisting of the 1797 Founders Reserve, 12 year old and later, Virgin Oak expressions.
Smell: 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: Caramel, Honey, Chocolate Digestive Biscuits, Orange and a touch of Spice.
Value for Money: Good value dram at around £40 a bottle. Not bad considering it’s bottled at 48%.
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.
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.