Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead
Added colouring: No
Owner: Mossburn Distillers
Average price: € 60.00
Official website: mossburnwhisky.com
Mossburn Distillers is known to enthusiasts for founding the second legal distillery on the Isle of Skye, Torabhaig, but it was around the same time that it began bottling single casks (under the Vintage Casks label) and thematic blends (Island and Speyside so far), and has recently opened another distillery on the southern border of Scotland, Reivers, dedicated to single grains.
But although the company’s heart is firmly in the Scottish lands, its roots are Swedish, with the (millionaire) Paulsen family behind it, in particular Frederik Paulsen Jr. who, although finding his fortune in the biotechnology company founded by his father, has been involved in spirits for several years.
Mossburn is in fact one of the financiers of the Japanese distillery Kaikyo, known for its Hatozaki blend, and is also behind other brands such as Mamont vodka and Mozart liqueur as well as several wine labels, but the link with the Scottish moors is not purely economic: Paulsen is one of the financiers of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a cultural centre that works to preserve and spread the Gaelic language on Skye.
But let’s get to this bottle, a Glen Elgin distilled in 2008 and bottled on 10 December 2018, the nineteenth single cask in the series which, to date, has reached release number 27.
The nose is a mix of fruit and herbaceous tones, where pineapple, lime, peach and grapefruit intertwine with freshly mown grass, heather and some balsamic flair. Sugar paste, marzipan and newsprint complete the picture, with mineral veins and a vague hint of rubber. In all this, alcohol is conspicuously absent, lost in the bucolic landscape.
It is in the mouth that the alcohol content comes to the fore, a nice burst of warmth that greets the palate along with a discreet peppery quality, but this is just an initial roar that soon gives way to much more accommodating tones of fruit and vegetables, a salad of pineapple, grapefruit, celery and tea leaves that dominates over the sweeter accents of honey and vanilla, appearing tarnished and dull. The balsamic accents return and, in the long run, some fennel also emerges.
The finish is quite long and dry, rather mineral, and echoes the tasting traits, especially the herbaceous and vegetable components.
I first became acquainted with Glen Elgin with the sensational bottling from Whisky Facile, and here I find many of its characteristics again, albeit with less richness and depth. A classic yet different whisky, almost vegan in its colouring.