Review: Glen Moray Elgin Classic Cabernet Cask Finish and 21 Years Old Portwood Finish
Perennially underrated Glen Moray recently dropped two new single malt expressions, one a cabernet sauvignon wine barrel-finished version of its NAS Elgin Classic, the other an ultra-high-end 21 year old, finished in Port pipes.
Let’s give them a spin, each in turn.
Glen Moray Elgin Classic Cabernet Cask Finish – The follow up to last year’s Elgin Classic Sherry Cask Finish, this expression is first aged in bourbon barrels, then spends a “final few months” in cabernet sauvignon casks. No specific age information is available. The nose initially evokes thoughts of sherry, not red wine, with sweet fruit and spice hitting first. As it develops in the glass, aromas of rhubarb and a hint of dark chocolate emerge, both of which perhaps point more to the cabernet barrel. The palate has some of the tannic grip of a big red wine, with notes of fresh cereal, cinnamon-scented oatmeal, and strawberry jam emerging. Light on its feat and quite fresh, this is a surprisingly easy-drinking dram with a delightful balance between sweet and spice elements, more of the toasty wood elements becoming evident as the whisky develops over time and on its slightly sultry, lingering finish. An excellent value malt that could easily stand as a daily sipper. 80 proof. A- / $30
Glen Moray 21 Years Old Portwood Finish – The oldest Glen Moray I’ve encountered, this spirit spends 19 years in first-fill bourbon casks, then two years in tawny Port sourced from Porto Cruz. Immediately quite beautiful on the nose — lightly aromatic with notes of sandalwood, dried flowers, cinnamon, cloves, and barrel char — it keeps things rather austere and close to the vest, never overt or flashy. The palate has considerably more depth, evoking notes of honeycomb, butterscotch, and milk chocolate, against a backdrop of barrel char and mulled wine spices. More spice develops as the finish arrives, bringing notes of graham cracker, chocolate, and some Port-driven raisin notes. Enveloping and complex, it evolves in the glass and is never short of intrigue. Definitely worth your while. 92.6 proof. Very limited production. A- / $150