Friday, January 18, 2008

Malt Mission 2008 #230

Glenury Royal 1970 36yo
Highland Single Malt Whisky
57.9% abv

Last night I hosted a tasting where the guests we lucky enough to try whiskies from four closed distilleries including Rosebank, Glenlochy, Dallas Dhu, and Glenugie. This interest in trying and buying rare whiskies has been made apparent in the last decade and has been nurtured by companies like Diageo with their Rare Malts series (1995-2005) and their Old and Rare annual Special Releases, which began in 2001. To prove the growing interest in these types of whiskies it is worth noting that a Talisker 28yo from this first edition of Special Releases was recently sold at auction for £1400 (original price was £500) and their have been 59 of these rare releases to date, many of them selling out very quickly (Lagavulin 21, anybody?)

Glenury Royal, a distillery born in 1825, silenced in 1983, and closed in 1985, appeared as a part of these Special Releases in 2003 with a Glenury Royal 50 year old expression, the oldest whisky in that year's releases and a bottling impossible to repeat. The 2007 Special Release Portfolio also included a Glenury Royal as the oldest whisky in the annual range, and this is it.

Glenurie, as it was known, had a false start in 1825 when it was opened as a fire destroyed parts of the malting and grain storing facilities only weeks later. Captain Robert Barclay Allardyce, the founder of the distillery, was a legendary man with a reputation of eccentricity. He was the Laird of Ury, a local MP, had walked from London to Birmingham in two days in 1799, and was the first man to walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours in 1809. He managed to secure permission to use the highly presitigious 'Royal' suffix by King William IV and Glenury became one of only three distilleries to have that honour. Can you name the other two?*

Tasting notes by TF today. Thanks, mate. I will try to decipher some of his usual Briticisms for the sake of international understanding. And humour.


Perfumed and floral (roses), hint of Chinese balloons (haven't a clue- ed.) initially. Then pear esters, fresh ginger and a hint of clove. Freshly bitten red apple, then baked apple and a hint of overcooked pie crust (getting a bit Jilly Goolden here, for which apologies). Some nice sweet notes. Very promising.

Carries on the good work of the nose. Medium-to-full weight, plenty of ripe fruit notes, pressed flowers, honey and cake spices, lovely oily mouth-coating texture. Great weight and balance - the oak is a positive presence, but not an intrusive one. This balance allows all the nuances of flavour an equal opportunity to come forward. Somehow the alcohol is not over-powering tasted neat. Long finish that drifts away very slowly with a lovely dance of spices and polished wood.


Basically this is a great malt whisky. Pricey, yes: but, given the rarity of releases from this distillery, the quality of the malt and the prevailing collector's enthusiasm for the brand (I don't like that word, but we all have to live with 'em), you'd have to say fair enough.

* Royal Lochnagar and Royal Brackla.

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Malt Mission #229

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