Whisky: Glen Garioch 12-year

Written by Joshua Chambers on 30 May 2012 in Culture

Power. I rather get the impression that it’s important in politics. You could spend your whole life trying to get it, just to lose it again when a stranger puts their cross in the wrong box. But despite the difficulty of winning power, it seems to exert a powerful pull; it is an intoxicating tonic.

As your humble whisky correspondent, I fear I’d – ahem – bottle it in any game of political calculation. But thankfully, I do have something that’s powerful, intoxicating, and much more easily available. This is Glen Garioch: a raucous, animalistic rave of a spirit.

The nose is an intense peat smoke, which mellows with a woody, charcoal twist. That’ll be the bourbon casks it’s been matured in, before it’s put into sherry casks to sweeten slightly.

The taste, meanwhile, is awesome – and I mean that in the literal sense. It stings with an acrid smokeyness, burning for an eternity with sulphur and brimstone. When that finally dissipates, you think you’re in for a break, but suddenly it rears back up again with an intense flame that eventually dies down into a mellow, exhausting conclusion. The second sip – if you’re up for it – seems to bring out a tangy edge, with a slightly sour, almost salty complexity. Only once it mellows does that sherry sweetness start to emerge.

At £38, Glen Garioch is a fairly reasonable malt, although it is something of an acquired taste. My editor expects a whisky-related pun for my finish – and given that he pays my wages, he’s got me over a barrel. So I’ll distil my thoughts into one clear conclusion: this stuff’s pretty potent, so brace yourself. With great power comes great responsibility. Use it wisely, my friend. Use it wisely.

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