Glen Moray 2002 Cask Strength 13 Year (Alexander Murray & Co.)
Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland
Reviewed February 18, 2020 (edited January 25, 2023)
I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain I haven't reviewed any independent bottlings yet, which means I have my work cut out for me because I have a LOT of independent bottlings to work through. My overly generic quick take on independent bottlings is this: the distiller either has too much stock on hand (how often does that happen nowadays?), or the cask doesn't fit their typical profile and they are willing to offload. Up for review is Alexander Murray & Co.'s 2002 Glen Moray 13 Year Cask Strength.* It's bottled at 53.4% ABV, it says it’s aged in ex-bourbon casks, it looks to be the same hue as most other Alexander Murray & Co. E150a-drenched whiskies, and I'm going with chill-filtered due to the absence of substantial mist with the addition of water (I’ve pushed this one really far with various water ratios and got a very faint cloudiness at the far end of that spectrum). I've never tried Glen Moray's offerings before (sadly, the 12 year is nowhere to be found nearby) so I am not familiar with the distillery's preferred style. How did I end up with this bottle then? Well for $35/bottle, how could I not give this guy a try to see if it's worth stocking up on before it disappears? Nose: At full strength, it's restrained and very sweet. Almost white sugar sweet. Doughy white bread, but there's a sour note that comes across as a hybrid between white sandwich bread, and a bland sourdough. Dry grass. The bourbon cask influence is apparent, but because of the ABV, it comes across as a muted vanilla and creaminess. However, this next note took me a bit to unravel (and bear with me) - while it certainly has a faint orchard fruit scent to it, this note seems to pair up with the tart, soured cream note to give it a "burped up" milk odor. I know. It's strange. But that it what it smells like. It’s not a wildly offensive note, but then again you’re reading the thoughts of someone who thinks burning plastic, new bicycle tires, tennis balls, and ash can be appropriately pleasing notes when found in the right dram. With a splash, it’s still essentially sweet white bread with fruity and floral notes. The “burped up” milk odor separates a bit to reveal artificial white grape, overripe white peach, and miscellaneous semi-rotting stone fruits (white nectarines, white plums, etc.) with unsweetened, plain yogurt. Palate: Sweet, sour, and crisp as the nose suggests. Medium-bodied. Doughy white bread with lots of oak, but the oak is surprisingly well-integrated here and stays taunt and creamy rather than bitter, dry, or astringent. The sugary sweetness comes across as a blend of refined white and turbinado sugars. Overly sweet sugar cookies with a dusting of the aforementioned sugar blend on top. There is a wallop of heat. I have to try to look past the “burp up” note at full proof. With water, this softens up but it is still a sweet dram. More doughy white bread, plain yogurt, and a tart, overripe fruit salad note (like it sat in the heat too long). Finish: Without water, the finish is a sweet burn with creamy, charred oak. With a splash, the fruity and floral notes come out a bit and can linger. The oak is nicely balanced – that is probably the most pleasantly surprising and pleasing facet of this dram. Verdict: They say don’t judge a whisky by its neck pour. Well I didn’t – I waited until I got through a good chunk of the bottle. I may be rushing this review out the door a bit since I’m not halfway through the bottle but others might be wondering if it’s worth picking up or not. There were definitely some odd notes, but considering how well-integrated the oak was, I am curious if this might evolve into something special with some more time and oxygen. When I initially tried it, I don’t think it would have cracked 3 stars but it has improved with some limited time to oxidize. At this time, if you happen to see this on shelves for $35 or less, it might be worth grabbing a bottle to let it sit and oxidize. Maybe you will find something different. But I don’t think I will risk stocking up. I will update my review if it changes substantially over the next few months. 3.0 ~ Average *Also, I would like to point out that this is a 2002 vintage aged 13 years...by my count that probably means it was bottled in 2015 and has sat around in a warehouse for 5ish years. Maybe they were waiting for the market for average, competitively priced single malt to expand? Post-tariffs, this seems about right as I have only seen this pop up recently and the other 2 reviews here seem new as well. And, since we were talking corks the other day, I will say this has a natural cork which when I opened it, it was not as tight as something that would have been bottled more recently (it wasn’t loose, it just wasn’t especially snug). I let it rest on its side after discovering that and it filled out nicely.
35.0 USD per Bottle