“Glen Garioch is a very special distillery which is reflected in every drop of the whisky character is shapes. The focus on absolute quality is testament to the commitment and care taken at every stage but also what has driven the decision to bring back floor maltings and direct fire distillation which has been largely overtaken by modernisation across the industry. It is incredible to be able to offer these two casks which will showcase the past and the future and give Glen Garioch an opportunity to show what an outstanding distillery and single malt it is. I am excited to see what can be achieved with the team, the passion and the inherent ingenuity which defines this brand.” - Ron Welsh, Master Blender, Glen Garioch
The Valley of the Garioch has long been renowned as the finest barley growing area in the country and home to one of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland, Glen Garioch. Since 1797, the distillery has been making its single malt in the historic market town of Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen. Shielded from the world’s prying eyes, and only ever produced in small, precious batches, Glen Garioch is a rare find. Warmly appreciated by those who like a hearty Highland malt and non-chill filtered as nature intended, it promises wholesome maltiness, honeyed sweetness and delicious creamy texture to savour.
Glen Garioch’s story both defines and differentiates them. It’s in their origins and strict adherence to quality. It’s in the unique character of the spirit and the people who craft it. There are many influencing factor which combine to make Glen Garioch; the craftsmanship, the place and atmosphere of where it ́s made and matured, and how it’s married or blended to its own unique “recipes” for each batch made. As part of their commitment to quality and craftsmanship, they have begun a historic project with the single objective of restoring and enhancing the flavour and character of their whisky. In a bold move away from some of the most recognised industrial processes, they are embarking on a return to more traditional, and in part manual, techniques that truly define craftsmanship.
The restoration of the distillery’s floor malting is coupled with the reintroduction of direct firing during the distillation process. Some may say this is going back to the future, questioning why they are looking to make their work harder, less controllable, more expensive, but they believe that it is all worth it in order to achieve a flavour of distinction and superior quality whilst also reducing their carbon footprint and water usage. It is this milestone which they are celebrating through the creation of this unique auction lot. Not one but two casks from Glen Garioch make for an exceptionally rare opportunity to own both a piece of the past and the future.
The first, a 1990 1st fill American Oak, ex-Bourbon Hogshead, was filled on 18th June 1990 at a time when the distillery exclusively used direct fire. Bottled at 48.2% ABV, this deep gold single malt will be a true taste of the past with a sweet, nutty nose defined by vanilla, clover honey, almonds, and praline yet with a nod to aniseed and eucalyptus. The palate is thrilled with the rich sweetness of golden syrup, vanilla cream, fudge, salted toffee with a hint of roasted hazelnuts and malty cereal taking you through to a finish of oak spices, light floral notes, and a creamy mouthfeel. The second is of the same style as the 1990 but will be one of the first casks to be filled with new make spirit created following the restoration of direct fired stills and floor maltings, making this the first taste of the future of Glen Garioch but firmly rooted in a defining character of the past. Presented in a beautiful bespoke oak cradle inspired by Meldrum’s rail bridge, and handcrafted by local cabinetmaker Lethenty, and accompanied with a Copper Vallinch from Forsyths, this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the legacy of Glen Garioch.
• Cask Type: 1st fill American Oak, ex-Bourbon Hogshead
• Age: 18th June 1990 Distilled when Glen Garioch Distillery stills were direct fired.
• Size: Capacity 250 Litres, contents as of March 2021 – 184 Bulk at 48.2%
• Weight: Approx 250 kg
• Yield: estimated 256 0.7L Bottles (20 x 9L cs)
• Tasting Notes
• ABV: Current 48.2
• Master Blender: Ron Welsh
En primeur Cask:
• Cask Type: 1st fill American Oak, ex-Bourbon Hogshead
• Age: Filled Oct 2021 – Dependent on Floor Maltings being completed, distilled when Glen Garioch Distillery wash still is direct fired again.
• Size: 230-250 Litres
• Weight: When full, approx 320 KG
• Yield: Will depend on age at bottling, a 10yo would normally yield 290 x 70cl bottles at a cask strength of 58.5%
• Tasting Notes: New Make Spirit
• ABV: Initial fill strength will be 63.5%, the strength loss per year if 0.4% to 0.6% per year, hence after 10 years the strength will be at around 58.5% depending on the conditions of the warehouse being used to store the cask
• Master Blender: Ron Welsh
Glen Garioch Distillery
Blessed as it is with the north east’s mild climate, plentiful sunshine and not too much rain, the Valley of the Garioch has long been renowned as the finest barley growing area in the country. Once home to no fewer than six distilleries, today the Valley cradles just one – the one that bears its name. One of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland, Glen Garioch (pronounced Geery in the ancient Doric dialect still spoken in these parts) has been making its mighty malt in the quaint and historic market town of Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen in Northeast Scotland, ever since 1797. Shielded from the world’s prying eyes, deep in the fertile ‘Granary of Aberdeenshire’, and only ever produced in small, precious batches, Glen Garioch is a rare find indeed, but warmly appreciated by those who like a hearty Highland malt, non chill-filtered as nature intended, with a wholesome maltiness, honeyed sweetness and delicious creamy texture to savour.
The Glen Garioch story both defines and differentiates them. It’s there in their origins and strict adherence to quality. It’s there in the unique character of the liquid and the people who craft it. And it’s there in the limited batches they release. Put all this together and you discover why Glen Garioch is a Rare Find. Focusing on the whisky itself, it’s not as simple to state one thing that makes Glen Garioch unique. It’s a combination of factors of how the whisky is produced, the craftsmanship of its employees, the place and the atmosphere of where it́’s made and matured. Rarely have all these characteristics been so masterfully bottled.
Today, as part of Glen Garioch commitment to quality and craftmanship, a series of refurbishments are taking place at the distillery. The renovation will see the distillery return to more traditional production processes, while also introducing new cutting-edge technology for direct-fired distillation. The planned changes will also reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint. The cornerstone of this transformation will be the reintroduction of floor maltings as well as the installation of direct-fired heating to the wash still – traditional methods still used by only a handful of whisky distilleries.
The return to these traditional processes is a sign of Glen Garioch’s deep respect for its rich heritage, as well as the complexity and quality of its small batch, hand-crafted Highland single malt. Although they’re looking to the past for inspiration – they’re opening the next chapter in Glen Garioch’s future. Finally, the town of Oldmeldrum has grown organically through and around the distillery, making the buildings and their whisky the heart of the community. Glen Garioch is proud as a local employer to innovate and provide opportunities for new generations of traditional skilled craftsmen to join them in their next chapter.
As part of Beam Suntory, Glen Garioch is committed to the company’s vision of Growing for Good and is playing an active role in its ambitious Proof Positive sustainability strategy. As a company that believes in Growing for Good, corporate citizenship and social responsibility are central to Beam Suntory’s business, and fundamental to their culture. They protect water and the environment, support the communities where their people live and work, and promote responsible consumption of their products. In pursuit of that vision, Beam Suntory has set an ambitious long-term sustainability strategy which sets out a plan to invest more than $1 billion over the next ten years to make a positive impact on the environment, their communities and their consumers, through 2030 and beyond.
Their quality products start with the blessings of nature, and they’re determined to give back to nature more than they use. Beam Suntory has committed to remove more carbon than is emitted across their entire value chain and replenish more water than is used in their operations by 2040. They also plan to plant more trees than they harvest to make whiskey barrels, with their commitment to plant more than 500,000 trees annually by 2030, among other goals. They’re fundamentally committed to reducing harmful drinking, and they’ll increase investment to support consumers in making responsible choices. They plan to invest $500 million to promote responsible decisions by significantly expanding responsibility-led brand communications, elevating their Drink Smart platform, and supporting evidence-based partner programs. They will expand consumer choice by introducing more low-or no-ABV products. And they’ll provide nutrition and alcohol content information on packaging or online for 100 percent of products by 2030.
They also want to use their platform to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and leave a lasting legacy for their teams, community and industry. Beam Suntory aims to reach 50% women in leadership globally, 45 percent racially and ethnically diverse employee representation in the US and achieve an industry-leading sense of belonging among employees by 2030. They have also committed to contribute 1 million cumulative volunteer hours to communities around the world by 2030 and will continue to invest in initiatives and organizations that support on-trade partners, build stronger communities, and promote social justice. The company’s sustainability strategy is underpinned by corporate values rooted in a strict Code of Conduct & Ethics and a rigorous Global Citizenship Policy. Beam Suntory will disclose progress against its targets each year. More information about Proof Positive can be found at: http://www.beamsuntory.com/sustainability. Glen Garioch is already playing an active role in supporting these commitments, including with its recent £6 million investment in restoring its distillery in Oldmeldrum. The renovation will see the distillery return to more traditional production processes, while also introducing new cutting-edge technology for a highly efficient and safe method for direct fired distillation, which Beam Suntory anticipates will reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 15%.