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A Glentauchers Duo from Fib Whisky

Exploring the Art of Finishing

Fib Whisky is an independent bottler based in Fife, Scotland. The company was founded by the late Aedan Andrejus Burt in 2017 and is run by Iain Mundy with his brother, Andrew. As an independent bottler, Fib sources whisky from distilleries all over Scotland as well as being responsible for the Pictish Beastie blend.

Fib takes an unusual approach to bottling the casks it acquires. Rather than bottle one at a time, only half the cask’s contents is bottled, with the other half transferred to a finishing cask for a secondary maturation. The first portion is bottled in the Copper & Oak series, while the second is released in the Permutations range.

Among the bottler’s recent output was a pair of single malts from Glentauchers Distillery. The first, released under the Copper & Oak series, was aged for 13 years in a bourbon barrel and bottled at 58%. The second was transferred to a Fino sherry cask and bottled, at 14 years of age, and 55.1% ABV.

Glentauchers Distillery

Glentauchers is a Speyside Distillery, owned by Pernod Ricard. It was established in 1898 by James Buchanan & Co but the owner merged with the Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1925 and the distillery was one of several plants to be closed during the whisky loch of the 1980s. The distillery was out of operation between 1985 and 1989 when Allied Distillers bought it. In 2005, Allied was, in turn, purchased by the Pernod Ricard-owned, Chivas Brothers.

The Glentauchers spirit isn’t widely available as a single malt from its owners, save as an occasional feature in the Distillery Reserve Collection. Before that, it was only to be found in Gordon & MacPhail’s Distillery Label range but nowadays, it’s a common sight in the outturn of independent bottlers.

*Full disclosure: the samples featured in this review were sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.

Fib Whisky Glentauchers 13-year-old (Copper & Oak)

A Speyside single malt, matured for 13 years in a bourbon barrel. 58% ABV.

Smell: A honeyed and biscuity introduction. Toffee. Then some fruits… Apples, pears, orange rind. Oak. Nutmeg and Clove. Wood varnish. Baked apples and cinnamon.

Taste: Caramel, toffee and citrusy oak. The baked fruits are there again like Apple and Pear crumble with lots of baking spices and vanilla ice cream. There’s a grapey note there too. Almost winey. Fresh green apples.

Thoughts: This is a pleasant, straight-forward, Speyside malt. The nose is a bit more complex than the palate but that’s not too much of an issue. Especially after the addition of water, it opened up to present a medium-bodied dram with lots of caramel and toffee, baked fruits and subtle, woody spice. Simple but effective.

Price: £69. A fairly standard price for this kind of release.

Fib Whisky Glentauchers 14-year-old (Permutations)

The same base spirit as above, only given an additional maturation in a cask that once held Fino Sherry. Now 14-years-old and 55.1%.

Smell: I’m still getting caramel but it’s darker now. It’s nutty too with some chocolate. A bit like Snickers bars, now that I think about it. There are some pastries, croissants and pan-au-chocolat. Top notes of red fruits. Some dried fruits, also, but not as powerful as an oloroso, for example – more acidic.

Taste: There’s a nice gentle dryness. It’s nutty with caramel and toffee and warming spices. There’s some more of that Snickers Bar vibe from the nose. A wee hint of raisins in the background. Some buttery vanilla. Lovely, almost grainy, texture developing over time.

Thoughts: This felt like a very different beast from its younger sibling. Despite the lower ABV, I found out more intense and spicy. It’s almost unrecognisable as the same base spirit but water parted the finish and some of the softness of the original came through. It felt the more interesting and appealing version overall with the finish adding plenty of flavour without becoming over-dominant. An interesting and unusual take on a Speyside malt we see far too little of.

Price: £75. A good price for a decent age statement and sherry finish.


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