The locals of Moray pronounce their town ‘Murrey’, because otherwise the rhyme wouldn’t work.
Glen Moray 2008/2018 10yo Ob. Cabernet Sauvignon finish [btl #83] 43% WB88
A four month finish in ex-Cabernet Sauvignon casks proved more than enough during the incredible heatwave of 2018.
- N: Squidgy barley juice with vanilla and pollen notes.
- T: The squidgyness continues. You know there’s been a deliberate finish, but more striking is the mouthfeel and form.
- F: Easy neat conclusion.
- C: Decent whisky from an unforgettable summer. [£150 rrp].
Scores 84 points
Glen Moray 1995/2018 22yo Adelphi cask #7785 [292 bts] 53.2% WB85.50
- C: Proving very popular on the day for all the right reasons, this immediately hits the comfort zone sweet-spot. A great example of what well-aged Moray can offer.
Scores 86 points
A commemorative 120th anniversary bottling consisting of 2 sherry casks, 1 bourbon, 1 port and a Madeira cask, all vintages from five different decades. More on ‘that’ Madeira cask later.
- N: A fungal depth strikes first followed by a dominant straight-bourbon influence. Aside from the bourbon cask, the other cask effects are more subtle and intricate. With only hints of [sherry] fruits emerging at first, it’s mainly that bourbon-y fungal/dunnage-y/bung cloth profile that leads – Tomintoul-esque, old-skool and vibrant.
- T: It’s on the palate where we really get to enjoy the fruits of the other cask influences – a convoluted fruity>spicy mix and with plenty more sweet fungal. Some cancelling out from the casks is observed, such is the nature of these things, but it’s a fine mix. A number of advantageous changes occur with water.
- F: Lots more [malty-rich] raisins continue on from the palate, finishing resinous-fresh with some metallic notes and a sweet-sour conclusion.
- C: An involved blend with a fine result, one that needs an explorer’s thirst. With thanks as ever to Iain. Well worth reading a super review of this expression by The Dramble.
Scores 89 points
Now, back to ‘that’ Madeira cask.
Like ‘that’ 1994 Sherry cask [Blog] I first tried straight from the cask at the distillery in 2016, on the same visit I also tried a Madeira expression. Though I’m not an avid fan of Madeira casks per se, I wrote a note-to-self upon a sample bottle at the time: Buy! Since then I’ve been trying to track down the cask to bottling. After a few chats with Iain Allan over the course of a few years [at festivals], he reckons the cask may well have gone into the Mastery. After trying the Mastery, what a perfect time to re-try ‘that’ Madeira cask from my sample I’d kept for nearly two years.
Glen Moray Madeira cask  un-released CS [abv unknown]
- N: The quality and prominence of the previous Madeira fill is evident, the cask & oak influence desirably present yet never overpowering. This is dessert wine & malt mixing superbly well. With notes of honey, plum & chocolate>liqueur, a touch of ginger cake and all manner of grape-sweet abundant fruitiness, this is an immaculate example of a Madeira-led malt – on the nose at least.
- T: A deliciously sweet start with the cask & high abv [CS] kicking in before stabilising. There’s a pregnant pause before the magic begins to unravel and flow. Add a little water and you have a gloriously picturesque Glenmorangie-esque oaky, waxy malt that delivers overlapping layers of gentle [icing] sugar variations and dried fruits as well as genealogical glimpses of many varied spirit families [malt, sherry, wine, genever, Cognac,….]. It’s impossible not to see this to some degree as a malt whisky/>Madeira liqueur hybrid, and all credit to it. Underlying the finishing cask action is a firm bourbon-cask provenance that beholds subtle dunnage=y fungal notes on the turn.
- F: Just when you think the oak is going to overpower, the Madeira over-takes – now drier in style. it’s not long before the maltiness makes a move, just in time for the oak to pipe up once again. All these elements work to create a long and sustained chocolate-y-malty>liqueur-like oaky chew with more dunnage-y malty/fruity>fungal notes partying on. With no signs of fatigue, we’ve more grape-y/sherry-like fruits, malty/fruity candy sugars, oaky putty,….
- C: An immaculate example of a Madeira malt indeed, right up there with ‘that’ sherry cask. I might have preferred this as a single cask bottling, especially if it had shared the same price tag as the sherry cask, and not the Mastery.
Scores 89 points
Whilst we are flying high, let’s revisit ’that’ sherry cask.
- N: As ever, the fungal-sweet richness is ever-strong, a quality the Madeira does not share on the nose. With the sherry cask as boss, this is a nose that evolves in the glass, it multiplies, it flourishes, it proliferates.
- T: This isn’t for the faint hearted, but comes rich with reward. There’s a proper punch here that fans of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection will know all too well, and aptly/unusually I’m picking up quite some rye references tonight. Strong, oaky, fruity, fragrant juice continues to blast and flow through.
- F: Bourbon-y fungal notes reveal this one’s true roots with vanilla rippling past.
- C: Sure that cask dominates, but when it’s this good, why wish for more? Also scores 89 [today], given how that Madeira cask shines.
Scores 89 points