By Diana Karou Cheang
It is an eccentric thing that I have chosen to nose Glenglassaugh’s first expression released at the engagement of their distillery business at the very last line of three expressions they released mid 2014. At their Revival Tour, guests can see the traditional methods used at distilling, enjoy the fascinating history of the still house and spirit safe, and then settle in with a warming dram of Revival. No doubt, this hand-shaking whisky is meant to introduce enthusiasts to the new but old comer, and the over all sense of this drink is very much in line with that air of greeting enthusiasm.
When I popped the test bottle (I am going to do a thing no nose does and describe the bottle), an apothecary brown glass, black bottle, with an edgy slanted label reminiscent of Johnnie Walker, I was greeted by an overtly friendly but forced nose. It’s a bit weak, good coffee toffee, a meaty walnut, leathery sherry, and the good part while sitting in that lounge chair waiting for Christmas ginger snaps is the smell of maple syrup on a stack of fresh pancakes where someone’s tossed in a few drizzles of artificial berry syrup. It’s very fresh, but also makes you feel a little guilty because you’re about to eat a few calories you didn’t quite sign up for. But with a soft, if not lacking nose devoid of prickle, I begun to indulge.
Surprisingly, the first thing I tasted was bit kippery. I am instantly brought back to the apothecary style tester bottle and couldn’t help but wonder if this would be good in a medicinal hot toddy. It’s very syrup sweet (but not a sassy, manly sweet like Torfa), and the wine flavor mimic the nose cause of the Oloroso sherry. This baseline sherry is strong in fragrance, but in taste it is dry. Thus, attempting very hard to contain the rest of the caramel, a slightly artificial saccharin tinged with cherry, it only managed to create a rather generic and green experience. More simply put, this whisky “fits in” with the crowd, it is not an outlier, the linger of wood-smoke is the character of a good smoking room, one is brought back to that nice leather lounge chair cigar in hand, but you can’t help but notice that the leather is pleather.
Nevermind the upholstery. The dram finishes with a medium impression, it’s pleasant and has an earthy peat that lingers, the sherry says hello again, tingle of spice on the tip of the tongue. But before you leave, you are still nevertheless assaulted by the youthful enthusiasm of that caramel maple weird ginger snap cookie that you take with you, but are loathe to taste again, except to be polite.
You can find a bottle of Revival at Master of Malt for $53, and even a tester sample. Unlike mine, it has a nice wax seal bottle top for $7. Classy. Fancy a sit in my chair?