Drink Magazine

Whisky Review – Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve

By Boozedancing @boozedancing

Glen Garioch Founder's Reserve

Glen Grant.
Glen Campbell.
Scott Glenn.
Glengarry Glen Ross (a double Glen!).

There are other Glens out there. So so many Glens. This of course begs the question: Will any Glen do? It might if you’re Jon Favreau in Swingers

But not if you’re part of the whisky loving Boozedancing crew! We’re fussy about OUR Glens and are always on the hunt for “The Ultimate Glen”.

The next stop on our “Ultimate Glen” journey has brought us to Glen Garioch (pronounced Glen Geary, not Glen Garry-ock). Glen Garioch is an Eastern Highland distillery that was founded in 1797 by John & Alexander Manson, and they’re currently owned by Beam Suntory. For our first review of this distillery’s offerings, we will be sharing our impressions of their 1797 Founder’s Reserve.

Here’s what Glen Garioch has to say about their “entry level” expression

The quintessential Glen Garioch, Founder’s Reserve celebrates the brothers who first established the distillery and the 200 plus years of craftsmanship that goes into every bottle that bears the Manson name.

Nose: Warm amber in appearance, sweet vanilla and subtle spice combine with fruitier green apple and grapefruits on the nose.

Palete: Butter cream and vanilla pave the way to fruity green apple skin and citrus cleanliness, leading to an elegant and subtle finish.

And here’s what we have to say about it…

  • ABV: 48%
  • Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry Cask
  • Appearance: Pale amber.
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: A good bit of alcohol vapors. Caramelized sugar, charred oak and leather with a bit of stone fruit.
    • G-LO: Oodles of fruit and spice going on. Cinnamon. Clove. A hint of dark brown sugar. Toasted coconut. Musty, fermenting grapes. A smattering of ripe banana.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Sweet on the tongue with very little of the expected alcohol burn. Mid-palate, there is a big blast of cinnamon followed by a mixture of black plums, cherries and apricots. The finish is a little drying with the oak and leather becoming a little more prominent and some lingering heat.
    • G-LO: Light bodied with a wee bit of oiliness. Quite spicy at the onset, which really surprised me given the nose. Lots of cracked black pepper type heat with a brown sugar and clove backbone at the start. Those fruity notes show up at mid-palate, but the spice doesn’t subside. Gets a bit sweeter at the finish with a tobacco or leather like flavor coming through. The finish is long lasting and a bit on the dry side with a lingering black pepper heat concentrated on the tip of my tongue.

The Verdict

  • Limpd: I don’t know if it was the higher octane (48% seemed just perfect for this one) or the beautiful balance but I really liked this whisky. Always a fan of sweetness over peat, the 1797 Founder’s Reserve hit all the right notes at just the right time. I liked it so much that I poured another so it wasn’t so much a tasting as a quick session.
  • G-LO: In case you haven’t noticed, I really enjoy a whisky that has a bit of intensity, and the Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve is most definitely that. It’s also a bit rough around the edges, but not in a bad way. I really enjoyed this whisky, and given its somewhat reasonable price of around $45, I would definitely consider buying a bottle. I would characterize it as a ballsy Balvenie DoubleWood, and bet that this would make an excellent Old Fashioned.


Many thanks to Savona Communication for sending us this sample!

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