Like a famous Swedish poet I have a buddy called Pär. Buddy Pär is a middle-aged gentleman who revels in classical music, has won sommelier competitions, is happily married to a Hungarian genius, treats his computer like a typewriter (and gets very upset when it doesn’t behave like one) and tried suspicious substances in his happy-go-lucky youth. Everyone should have a buddy Pär. He is a faceted mister and is there any truth in the old proverb “like master, like dog” Pär should like complex whisky of respectable age – and he does. In addition he believes in the proverb “shared joy is a double joy” (as well as “shit should shit haveth”) so after terrorising him with one whisky sample after the other he chose to get back at me in the same way, and gave me this:
Old Particular Girvan Single Grain 26 yo
General: This is a twenty-six-year-old grain whisky from a single distillery – Scottish Girvan – which has been bourbon cask matured and bottles at 51,5 %. At the Swedish monopoly store Systembolaget it’s got the ordering number 40429 and cost about £86. The whisky has been produced by Douglas Laing as a part of their range called “Old Particular”. As far as I can tell it has not been artificially coloured or chill-filtered.
Nose: What a deliciously sweet and creamy nose! As if they’re poured down both panna cotta and butterscotch into the bottle, together with a big dash of vanilla. Here is also some blueberry jam and brown sugar, which then gives room for a somewhat more sour note that reminds me of both pickled ginger and lovely juicy satsumas. When added water the whisky blooms even more and becomes more ingratiating. The jam and the sour fruits are more noticeable than the pure sweetness, and a minty note has found its way to the front of the nose.
Taste: We’re definitely talking heavy, sweet and a bit harsh whisky with both some oakiness and clear strokes of honey. After the initial taste I discover some entertaining flavours that reminds me of sesame cookies and creamy coffee – almost like tiramisu. After another sip some pure candy-like notes appear with the Swedish candy “punchkottar”, some orange marmalade and milk chocolate. Yup, this is both rich and flavourful enough, alright. With water the taste turns into a real punch in the face instead of an overload of sweetness, and in addition the whisky also becomes more spicy with a lot of cardamom.
Finish: The finish of the whisky is lighter and milder than the actual body, är lättare och mildare än själva kroppen, the liqueur-feeling is accompanied by coffee and dark chocolate. Some burnt vanilla emerges right at the end. The aftertaste intensified and is prolonged by some water, and the drops of water makes the coffee even more present. Some sweet mint finishes the whole taste experience.
This is not a whisky, it’s a dessert table! Perhaps not the thing you’re always in the mood for but for a real sweet tooth this is probably never wrong. Hey – in this way you also get your coffee included in the avec! A few years ago I was completely unaware of the treasures that hide amongst the grain whisky bottles, but thanks to caring friends I’ve had the opportunity to discover this Eldorado. Grain is definitely not lesser than single malt, in my humble opinion, just different and if you haven’t tasted a lot grain whisky I strongly advise you to immediately get together with your mates, tell them to bring what grain whisky they’ve got or run down to the store and buy some, thus having a jolly fine tasting together. More grain whisky to the people!