Glen Moray Twisted Vine


Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…

A review of Glen Moray Twisted Vine, a new release that appeared in my local supermarket in the Spring of 2023.

Glen Moray is a single malt Scotch whisky from the world-famous Speyside region. Located on the outskirts of Elgin in Scotland’s north-east, the distillery was constructed in the late 19th century, towards the end of a dramatic boom in the industry. The turn of the new millennium would see something of a collapse, with several distilleries forced out of business. Glen Moray itself closed in 1910 but re-opened a decade later under the ownership of Macdonald & Muir, the firm behind Glenmorangie Distillery.

Originally established in 1897, the distillery was founded in an area known as Gallow Crook – an interesting location that had previously housed a brewery – and a noose.

The West Brewery, Elgin, for many years known for its production of beer and stout, has now been renamed the Glen Moray Distillery, and rebuilt for the purpose of manufacturing “Highland malt.” It is situated about a mile from Elgin, at Gallow Crook, close beside the Gallow Hill, on which the malefactors of former generations used to suffer the last penalty of the law, and whose bones may yet be bleaching on top of the sandy knell.

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday 10 September 1897

However, the distillery was barely in operation before it was rubbing some of its neighbours up the wrong way…

Yesterday the Second Division disposed of the action by John Milton, dairyman, near Elgin, against the Glen Moray Glenlivet Distillery Company. Pursuer sought interdict against respondents forming a reservoir and drawing water from the Lossie, so as to diminish the volume of the river when passing his property. After proof Lord Kyllachy assoilzied defenders on the ground that pursuer had failed to prove that the water was abstracted from the Lossie, or that abstraction was prejudicial to pursuer, it being infinitesimal compared to the ‘volume of the stream.

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 25th November 1898

The distillery won the case and was able to continue producing its spirit for many years to come. Its long association with Glenmorangie came to an end in 2008 when it was sold to La Martiniquaise, who used it in the Cutty Sark and Label 5 blends. Under the current regime, Glen Moray has developed a reputation for budget-friendly yet diverse single malts that are widely available across UK supermarkets. The Elgin Classic series has seen Port Cask, Sherry Cask and Peated versions on the market for around £20, whilst the latest release “Twisted Vine” is priced around £28.

Packaged with a design that reflects twisted vines and golden grapes, the whisky is matured in ex-Cognac casks made from oak that grew near Cognac’s vineyards in France.

Glen Moray Twisted Vine Cognac Cask

Glen Moray Twisted Vine

Smell: Pleasingly rich nose – the cognac has really made an impact. There’s caramel and honey, figs and sultanas, cinnamon, vanilla and gentle oak spice. A wee hint of apple juice there too.

Taste: Wow. There’s a lot of flavour going on here. Similar to the nose, it begins with silky caramel and runny honey before notes of currants and sultanas join the party. Towards the back, there’s dark chocolate and old oak casks. There’s also apple, citrus and even some tart berries to be found in there.

Thoughts: If I were to blind-taste this whisky, I’d never guess it was diluted to 40%. It’s fully flavoured with a well-integrated cask character. This is no afterthought. It isn’t a three-month cognac overcoat being used to cover up an immature spirit. It’s a proper, well-put-together, cognac-matured single malt and it’s absolutely bloody lovely. Glen Moray have long made a habit of giving whisky lovers who shop on a budget plenty of choice so this shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise but the sheer pleasantness of it still caught me off guard. The best compliment I can give it is this: it tastes like something I would have picked up in a specialist whisky shop, rather than my local supermarket. Excellent stuff for the price. Well done Glen Moray.

Price: £28. A whisky that knocks it out of the park where value for money is concerned.

Glen Moray Twisted Vine

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2 thoughts on “Glen Moray Twisted Vine

  1. Sounds very enjoyable. The Glen Moray Port is well worth a purchase, as is the Cabernet Sauvignon if you see it..

  2. Picked up a bottle today then came to read this after my first nose and taste. I paid £23 on offer at a supermarket. I have to say I am more than pleasantly surprised by it. It is certainly not a whisky with a lot of depth or lasting finish but it is certainly well balanced. If you like a lighter fruitier whisky with a little acidity (guessing the pH is above 4) go for it!

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