When visiting a distillery, one of the best souvenirs you can take home is a bottle that is exclusively available on site. While some production units offer these special releases as prefabricated bottlings that can be grabbed directly from the shelf, others not only sell you the whisky itself, but also the fun of filling it straight from the cask. At Glen Moray Distillery in Elgin, I was lucky to make such an experience. During the time of my visit, their so-called Handfilled was a 12-year-old Speyside powerhouse from a 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel. As I was told, all defining factors (age, wood and ABV) can vary a lot from cask to cask. But one factor always remains the same: When you bottle your own whisky at Glen Moray Distillery for the unrivaled price of 50 GBP, you can be sure to take home a very special pour that will raise fond memories whenever you sip it! As “your” Handfilled might differ a lot from “mine” in regard to its aromas and flavors, I have not written this review with the intention of introducing you to one expression in particular. Instead, I just want to give you an idea of what you can expect when you tap the barrel in the visitor centre of Glen Moray Distillery. And I want to recommend you to get the hand-bottled Distillery Selection after your tour!
Eye: Shining yellow leaning towards orange.
Nose: Full and invigorating with a whole lot of yellow fruits: quinces, peaches, apricots and the likes. There’s also a splash of lime on top of these fruits. Furthermore, I get yummy banana split, creamy pina colada and minty candy sticks. Inhaling these tasty scents really makes me want to take a first sip… and not a small one, that is!
Palate: Huh, that one’s strong. The muscular ABV of 60.4 per cent already shined through in the bouquet, but now we get to feel its full, untamed power on the tongue. Semi-sweet fruits, toasted cereals and caramelized macadamia nuts mingle with powdered cocoa beans, dried pineapple chips and unsugared popcorn. And these flavors don’t just take a shy peek into the audience from the side of the stage. They fully and copiously bathe in the limelight!
Finish: The finish is pretty long and well-defined with burnt caramel, milky chocolate and spicy gingerbread. Also wood and vanilla. The initial yellow fruits are almost completely gone now, having made way for crunchier and more robust flavors. But there is still something light and fresh in the mix as well. This whisky certainly underwent a stunning development from nosing to degustation to being swallowed down.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 12 Years Old
Alc. volume: 60.1 per cent
Cask type: ex-bourbon
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~60.00 Euro
More info: http://www.glenmoray.com/ (Distillery)
That really is fantastic value! When I went to the Glen Garioch distillery the cheapest handfilled they had was 135GBP. I think if people make the effort to get to a distillery (which costs time and money) the least the distillery should do is provide an affordable option. Clearly Glen Moray have got it right. The other thing I’ll definitely do when I get to Elgin is visit the Gordon & MacPhail shop. Did you manage to visit it? I want to take a video inside because there isn’t one on YouTube that I can locate. Although that might be because G&M don’t allow it. I’ll find out when I get there.
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Yes, of the distilleries I visited, this was by far the most affordable handfilled. I also think it’s a good thing not to charge people a three figure sum for such a souvenir. :) As for the Gordon & MacPhail shop, my girlfriend and I had planned to visit it on our last day in Elgin. Unfortunately, I realized the night before that I had thrown away our train tickets. After booking new ones for more than 100 GBP, we were not really in the mood for whisky shopping anymore. So we took an earlier train back to Edinburgh and skipped Gordon & MacPhail. We’ll definitely visit ’em next time we’re in Elgin though!
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Sorry to hear about the train tickets! If I get to the G&M shop before you do, and they allow me to do a video inside, I’ll send you the link when I post it on YouTube. And I’ll definitely be getting a handfilled from Glen Moray!