So the first thing to know here is how to say Garioch – just so that when you talk to someone who knows you don’t come across as a first class plank. (we’ve all been there at some stage so if I can stop someone making the same mistake that I did all the better). It’s pronounced ‘Geery’ which is I suppose a little like Gary but leerier….
The bottle proudly pronounces that is ‘1797 Founder’s Reserve’ meaning that this is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and the most Easterly. That it is still going after all this time shows not only the success of the distillery but also no shortage of hard work and persistence. In 1968 it was closed due to a ‘shortage of water’ from the original spring. The distillery was then sold to Stanley P Morrison (who have now become Morrison Bowmore, who in turn are owned by Suntory) who set about finding a new water source with the appointment of a new manager in 1972. It was then mothballed in 1995 before being renovated and reopened two years later.
Today the core range consists of this Founder’s Reserve and 12 year old and these are supplemented by a number of special releases and single vintage whiskys.
This Founder’s Reserve is a blending of Bourbon and Sherry matured spirit with no age statement, however I guess the average age in here is 7 or 8 years old and is bottled at 48%.
On the nose it’s all about honey, cinnamon, dried grapefruit peel and toffee pecan Danish pastry. The palate is smooth, with citrus marmalade and caramel notes. It’s fresh and creamy with just a bit of spirit bite on the finish from the high alcohol.