glenburgie 1995 glen grant 1995 signatory vintage review

Glenburgie 1995 / Glen Grant 1995 (Signatory Vintage)

Not too long ago I delved into Signatory Vintage‘s newest series, but this post is all about the independent bottler’s Cask Strength Collection. It is probably Signatory’s most recognisable range, if only for the bulky, opulent (and environmentally unfriendly) decanter-style bottles. Today features two single malts from the same vintage, a review of a Glen Grant 1995 and a Glenburgie 1995.

Glen Grant has been a staple for many decades. The Italians love this Rothes distillery and have been drinking its whisky since well before single malt entered the public conscience. Gordon & MacPhail has strong ties to Glen Grant, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Italy was an important export market as early as the 1960s and 1970s.

Glenburgie is about a 28-minute drive away from Rothes. This distillery is the opposite of Glen Grant. Anonymous. A blend-filler. There’s not even a mention of the distillery name on its exterior. Instead, it just says ‘Ballant’. That’s right, the letters ine’s have fallen off and nobody has yet bothered to replace them.

glenburgie distillery

Nevertheless, Glenburgie is an important distillery for its owner, Chivas. Ballantine’s is a huge brand and whisky from Glenburgie sits at its core. But Glenburgie has no prestige outside of that. There are no official bottlings to speak of. I only took notice of them when Elixir Distillers started bottling a few excellent Glenburgie 1998.

That well seems to have dried up, but now Signatory Vintage keeps releasing new Glenburgie 1995. In my experience, these don’t yet rival the Elixir releases in terms of fruitiness but are truly good in their own right. Once again it’s the independent bottlers that put a spotlight on an otherwise unknown distillery.

glen grant 1995 26 years signatory vintage 8236+88237+88238

Glen Grant 1995 26 Years (49.4%, Signatory Vintage, C#88236/37/38)

Nose: The bourbon barrels certainly have done their job. A mixture of bananas, ripe green grapes, vanilla and butterscotch. A touch of chalk and gooseberries too. Not overly complex, just good bourbon-matured single malt.
Taste: Slightly creamy mouthfeel and a somewhat bitter arrival. Touches of ginger, white pepper and oak, but also chalk, limoncello, plums and some leafiness. I like its austerity, much like Pulteney often is, but sans the maritime elements.
Finish: Long with more of the same. Yellow fruits, chalk, pepper.

What this Glen Grant 1995 26 Years from Signatory Vintage lacks in complexity, it makes up for in deliciousness. A proper aged whisky that strikes a balance between cask and some excellent spirit.

glenburgie 1995 28 years 6538 signatory vintage

Glenburgie 1995 28 Years (54.3%, Signatory Vintage, C#6538)

Nose: Immediate notes of lemon balm, lime zest and just a touch of honeycomb. Somewhat waxy as well, but also slightly dry, if that makes sense. Just a touch of apple, some gorse and dried apricots. Very elegant and classy.
Taste: Waxy, slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Sweet, but not too sweet. And the signature Glenburgie fruitiness is here as well. A hint of grapefruit, blood oranges and quinces, but also slightly bitter hops, honey, chalk and muesli. Oh, and lemon rind, of course. As well as eucalyptus.
Finish: Medium to long. Hints of dried flowers, jammy apricots and pepper.

Glenburgie as it should be. Gentle waxiness, an elegant sweetness and very fruit-forward. There are some soft bitter notes, but they're balanced by the fruity complexity of the spirit. Wonderful whisky as always.

Photo’s: Whiskybase

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