Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Lady of the Glen is an independent bottler of Scotch whiskies, owned by Hannah Whisky Merchants. They bottle spirit produced at an array of distilleries all over Scotland. In this feature, I’ll be tasting my way through samples of their Winter 2022 range.
For part 1 of this review visit https://whiskyreviews.net/2023/02/28/lady-of-the-glen-single-casks-part-1-2/
*Full disclosure: the whiskies featured in this article were sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the drams and the value for money they represent.
Lady of the Glen Dailuaine 2012 10-year-old
Dailuaine is a Diageo-owned Speyside distillery that produces whisky predominantly for use in blends. This single malt was distilled on 17th June 2012 and bottled on 30th September 2022. Matured for a total of 10 years, including a finishing period in an ex-sauternes barrique. It’s bottled at 51.7% abv.
Smell: Honey and golden syrup. Pineapple. Grapes. Barley grains. Oatcakes. Orange liqueur. Almonds. Cinnamon and ginger.
Taste: Tinned fruit cocktails – peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes… Golden syrup again. Biscuit. Oak tannins and woody spices follow. Dry, oaky finish. With water… vanilla pods. Orange zest.
Thoughts: It’s quite dry and the cask certainly dominates but it still makes for a delicious dram. The fruity arrival, in particular, hit the spot for me and the Dailuaine spirit is substantial enough to carry an active finishing cask. I wasn’t convinced by Sauternes cask finishes at first but over the last few years, I’ve had some absolute belters and am now something of a fan. This is another to add to the list of good examples. Perhaps lacking a little in complexity but makes up for it in big flavour. Lovely dram.
Price: £72. Not the cheapest dram you’ll come across but the price point isn’t ridiculous and it’s tasty enough to be worth it.
Lady of the Glen Glenburgie 1995 27-year-old
Glenburgie is another Speyside distillery that spends most of its time churning out spirit for blended Scotch. The whisky was distilled on 20th June 1995 and matured for a sizable 27 years before being bottled at 58.4% on 17th October 2022.
Smell: Tropical fruits. Pineapple. Watermelon. Also coconut. Almond flakes. Caramel and creme brulee. Digestive biscuits and honey. Subtle oak.
Taste: More tropical fruits. Also apples and pears. Tangfastic sour sweets. Vanilla fudge. Caramel biscuits. Coconut Macaroons. Water released some intense peppery spice.
Thoughts: A really interesting dram that has taken on some of the delicacy and tropical character of old single malt without losing its abv. It makes for an interesting juxtaposition of light and delicate but also powerful and spicy. For an old malt, it can take some water without losing body – although I think I preferred it neat. It’s a fine example of an old Speyside that hasn’t been worn down by an overly active cask.
Price: £210. Talk of value-for-money rather goes out the window when it comes to old single malts. That said, the only other Glenburgie of this age I could find on the market was a Signatory at £190 so we’re in a similar ballpark. If you compare that to something like the official bottling of Fettercairn’s 28-year-old, which comes at 40% and costs a bonkers £500, this indie Glenburgie starts to look like a bargain. Outwith the price point of most but at least those who take the plunge will get something good.
Lady of the Glen Caol Ila 2012 10-year-old
Caol Ila is Islay‘s largest distillery, which is partly why there are so many independent bottlings of it around. The other reason is that the whisky tends to be very, very good, especially when bottled at cask strength. This expression was distilled on 19th July 2012 and bottled on 19th October 2022 at 54.8%. It was matured in a hogshead for 7 years before finishing its maturation in a first-fill ex-oloroso sherry cask.
Smell: Smells like it comes fresh from the factories of Hades. Struck matches and coal fire chimneys. Oily engine smoke but there’s also the sweet warmth of sherry. Dried fruits and walnut. Dark chocolate. New leather. Even some cherry top notes.
Taste: Lovely oily texture. Rich with sherry. Raisins. Sultanas. Figs. Black pepper. The smoke is held back until the mid-palate where it emerges slowly before taking over completely on the finish.
Thoughts: When nosing this whisky the smoke and fire come first, sherry second. On the palate, it’s very much the opposite, sherry first, smoke second. It’s a wee journey that works well with each sip, though. First the nutty, dried fruits of the oloroso, then the wave of Islay peat. That’s a combination I’ll never tire of. A dram that gives you everything you want from a sherry bomb Islay.
Price: £80. Sadly, Islay malt costs more nowadays, especially when they’re finished or matured in sherry. £80 isn’t too excessive though and it’s a winning dram if you like the style.
For more on Lady of the Glen visit https://www.ladyoftheglen.com/