I’ve been hearing about Glann ar Mor’s Kornog for years, courtesy of Serge who tells us ‘,… this is Glann ar Mor’s Port Charlotte’, later describing Kornog as ‘Glann ar Mor’s Longrow’,… or perhaps Tobermory’s Ledaig? You get the picture. It’s genuinely small-batch & often unattainable whisky.
TWE says: ‘Glann ar Mor means ‘By the Sea’ in Bretonese? Artisan production with wooden washtubs, worm tubs and “100% Live Flame”,..’
Wiki [currently] says: ‘Glann ar Mor was created in 1997 by Celtic Whisky Compagnie [further reading: TSB], with the first single malt whisky produced in December 1999. In its present form, Glann ar Mor has been operational since June 2005, bottling its first unpeated single malt in late 2008. In November 2009, the first peated single malt (about 30-35ppm] was sold under the brand of Kornog (“West Wind” in Breton).
This is the first time I’m trying any whisky from the Glann ar Mor distillery [courtesy of the Foz], and like buses, two [Kornog’s] come along at once – a 3yo followed by a 15yo.
- N: Clean, assured, established [Caol Ila-esque, yet not], biscuit/crumble-sweet, the fruitiness from apples > pears = melons [over grilled pineapples with a suggestion of fireworks?], various metals [tin cans] something mineral & slightly meaty,… [tinned] tuna,… oysters?, Fimo~plasticine, synthetic shoe-wear [in shops], something of sweet chilli sauce about it [take away the blatant sugar & chilli – what?].… enough already,.. yet there’s more and more if you are so inclined – and at just 3 years old? Wow! Cracking nose.
- T: Arrives texturally with a desirable softness, yet conversely, it’s also rather driven [that’s its youth]. Profile-wise, it’s salty, slightly [dried] herbal, gently [Pisco] sweet yet with well-tempered aromatic peppery spice and an easy yet mindful prolonged travel into,…
- F: ,… a salty < barley-sweet [slightly fishy – tinned tuna again,.. just very slightly] easy yet focused cruising finish, the mouth well coated considering this one’s youthful spirity quality. That peatiness [also toasting/charring?] is so impressively integrated, relaxed, and yet present.
- C: Delicious accomplished [Caol Ila-esque – yet not – with Longrow and Kilkerran vibes in there also, and yet not] whisky. There’s no need to talk of age or casks here though surely we must be in the first-fill bourbon cask realm ? Furthermore, the youthfulness/maturity balance is fabulous. Is this the best available NAS/3yo whisky on the market right now? Discuss.
Scores 87 points
The Foz was lucky to win one of 149 bottles via ballot, and very generously split it between SWAG members.
- N: Plenty here from a gentile yet youthful nose, one that smells younger [under 10] than it is. We appear to have some cask-borne fruitiness here, correct? The confectionary [red] fruit-sweetness is potent/aromatic/seeping. Are we in Madeira cask territory, or port perhaps? Grapes for sure, yes?,… [non-oloroso] sherry? – on top of a bourbon base, certainly. The brilliant Serge points us in the direction of white asparagus and petrol-y aromas which alters my direction significantly. There’s that tinned metal-y note again though less fishy in comparison to the Roc’h Hir. It’s sherry all the way if you ask me – not PX and no way Fino, so manzanilla then? – though again, refill madeira casks could also fit the bill.
- T: The confectionary fruitiness is more muted on the palate. Like the Roc’h Hir, there’s a considered yet relaxed spirit-led drive. On development, it’s rather coppery, [crystallized] sticky sugary [PX-ish?] salty, chiselled/forthright and rather industrial [hints or rum] yet homemade all at the same time. Add water for some [more] passing Campbeltown and Sunderland vibes – a Springbank-esque Longrow Red profile suggestion alongside a [wax-free, yellow fruity] Clynelish-ness.
- F: The finish grows and grows. Oozing vanilla leads to custard, caramel, and then to rhubarb crumble and strawberries & cream boiled sweets – and we have full circle – plus a clear vegetal/fauna element.
- C: It’s not just me then, who is amazed that this didn’t come from a [Manzanilla] sherry cask but a lowly bourbon barrel – it’s also the great man himself. Makes you rethink spirit/bourbon casks does it not?. Who [tasting blind] guessed this at 15 years? Plenty to investigate with this whisky, one I found not dissimilar [in part] to Kilkerran’s 12yo in complexity, and the 16yo in profile.
Scores 86 points
Further reading: glannarmor.com
More? There’s always more. I fancy one more smoker. This lowly release from Ardbeg will do nicely.
If you’re wondering, it’s spelt using seven ‘r’s. As for the price of this NAS release, a bottle-split dram worked out at £13.50!! It is the Ardbeg Committee release, however, wholly matured in ex-rye casks – a first for Ardbeg.
- N: After the Kornog duo, this smells decidedly ordinary and even displeasing. Then again – Perpetuum, Grooves, Auriverdes – it’s not like I haven’t been here before. When I say ‘ordinary’, I really mean highly competent whisky [and it’s those nut oils where I found some joy],.. but the price, the fanfare,… Here’s another release that won’t/can’t live up to the hype, and I haven’t even tasted it yet!
- T: Unremarkable, and what of all that salty < sourness? How many times do I [we] end up comparing these special [annual] releases to the standard 10yo? And what of the rye? Its influence might be found in the butter-melting mouthfeel on the turn into the finish, but there’s plenty of plain savoury-sourness to wade through before you get there.
- F: Thank goodness for some [rye-iinduced?] caramel to balance the sourness, but boy, tough gig. As usual, my view is not shared by the many.
- C: A worthy farewell to Micky Heads? I’m sure he has his own plans. Scores 85 [at best], in line with the Perpetuum [for example], but personally, I find both equally decent and dislikable at the same time. I’d just as happily drink the far more affordable Wee Beastie [WLP], and certainly more of that young Kornog.
Scores 85 points