A while back I received quite a few samples of old and rare GG’s from the rare cask release batch 1. It’s not everyday you get to taste stuff like that from the late 60s and early 70s and I suspect most of those bottles are not going to even get opened, and mainly used as a tool for “investment”. That’s too bad.
I am extremely lucky to have gotten those, and gladly shared them with friends, but I also kept notes, for reference. I searched the web, and could not find any tasting notes, so these are probably the only ones you’re going to come across if you’re thinking of getting any of these babies.
This whisky was aged for 45 years, mostly in ex-bourbon casks, then a short finishing period in a sherry hoggie. (not quite sure how long this finish lasted). 349 bottles all in all, and it’s still available (if very expensive).
Nose: The sherry effect is not massive, but the 40 odd years left quite a bit of lovely notes here. Were off to a start with some a waxy feeling, followed by dark old wood, Black tea with a smoky touch (Lapsang). There’s also some wet oak, Mushrooms and wood varnish. It is also A bit salty (think brine).
Palate: The palate delivers too, continuing on the old wood and mushroom combination, black tea and tobacco as well as a sweet note of old sherry. The sherry finish did not overwhelm the liquid, and that is good news.
Finish: Very dry. wine tannins, Lapsang and old benches.
It was distilled in December 1973 and bottled in February 2014, just like its older brother (above) it was finished in a Manzanilla puncheon, and yielded 497 bottles.
Nose: This one is a totally different affair:Very thick with Monstrous sherry. Not much wood at all as the sherry has overpowered it. I’m also getting big ham notes very meaty. Balsamic.
Palate: Wham. Big sweet juices. Peppermint. wine, Meaty with lots of Cinnamon, spices but also dry.
Finish : A very long finish with red fruit, wine tannins, almost jam like.
A very interesting dou, and how different they both are. The first one gracefully integrated with the sherry finish, retaining the “old wood” notes, you might expect from 45 year old whiskies, while it’s younger sibling, only 5 years younger succumbed to the sherry, and lost most of those notes. I am not really sure what GG chose to finish those two whiskies in sherry after such a long maturation, but it must be because they thought they lacked something, or their original casks were not good enough. For me the 1968 edition works. it’s just lovely, a tryly excellent whisky, while the 40 year old is good, but for that price, you can get better and more affordable older whiskies.
I am very lucky to have tasted those, and would like to thank the GG for sharing those samples with me.