Today, Pride. None of that unaffordable Glenmorangie malarky, though. No. We will dig deeper.
We'll reach for the sky
No valley too deep
No mountain too high
Won't give up the fight
We do what we want
And we do it with Pride
Pride of the Lowlands 12yo (40%, GMP, b. ca mid-1980s): part of a series of blended malts by Gordon & MacPhail. Nose: OME in full effect (Old Miniature Effect) -- dust and ground pepper. A few seconds in, it gives out lemon, limescale, even, sawdust (could that be St Magdalene?), then juicy, yellow-fleshed fruits (peaches). The dustiness subsides, but there is a lot behind it -- even custard and over-baked butterscotch. Mouth: citric at first, the peaches from the nose soon arrive, with ground fruit stones and old white pepper. This is surprisingly hot on the palate, yet fruity at the same time. Minty, fruity yogurt. Finish: more peach flesh, yellow flowers (daffodils) and a hefty dose of sawdust, which points more toward Strathmill than the Lowlands, but it is good, if unexpected. Sage and marjoram are there too, as well as βανίλια. A decent blended malt. Hard to admit it is from the Lowlands, due to the slightly austere character (limescale, sage, sawdust), which suggests to me that there could be some St Magdalene in this, not just Rosebank, Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie. In the mid-1980s, it is not inconceivable to think that some StM casks were still being vatted; after all, they were much more numerous than today (St Magdalene closed in 1983). I suppose we will never know, in any case. 7/10
Pride of Strathspey 25yo (40%, GMP, b. 1995, IE/BFE): a much more recent bottling, yet the age suggests it was distilled in the same era as the Lowlander. Nose: this nose and the colour point at sherry casks -- my money is on Macallan being a component. Walnut oil, avocado stone, then linseed oil, oil paint, black shoe polish. A minute later, it is dried figs and dates. Worcester sauce, plasticine, freshly-laser-printed paper; this is well complex! Mouth: velvety, with a very gentle, wine-like dryness. Sultanas, dried cranberries, figs, a hint of ginger powder and warm toffee pudding. With time, the sherry calms down and makes room for lukewarm custard. Finish: all that sherry goodness is joined by a distinct wood influence -- old furniture and wood glue. Later on, nuts and walnut shells take over, with the bitterness of the shells being quite strong. Much later on, still, it comes back with the freshness of peppermint. This is a heavily-sherried whisky. Not much of the distillate remains behind the sherry influence. It is brilliant at what it does, however. 8/10
Pride of Orkney 12yo (40%, GMP, b.1995, IE/BFD): strangely enough (or not), this was bottled right before the previous dram. Two consecutive bottling runs back-to-back in the same tasting -- ha! We already had the Old Orkney blended malt by GMP, but this is a first. Nose: surprisingly fruity, with cherries and fresh figs, then tobacco and macadamia nuts. A coffee mug, augmented with juicy fruit. What is this? Lychee? Yes. The fruit becomes more tropical, with papaya and lychee, although not exuberant by any stretch of the imagination. Much later on, it does become yet fruitier, with obvious mangoes and cut, underripe bananas. Mouth: sweet, it has moscovado sugar, caramelising, grilled pineapple, sweetened orange juice. A pinch of spices row in intensity, but the dominant is certainly sweet fruits. Slices of blood orange, pink grapefruit soaked in sangria, a few drops of mango nectar. Finish: barbecued apples, roasted pineapple, caramelised sugar and delicate smoke from the dying embers. This is amazing! Were it not for the insistently smoky note of cooled, burnt wood in the finish, I would probably rate it one more point. 8/10
That is a session. I do not think GMP have bottled other regions, but there have been several versions of each, through the years. Not too sure they still bottle them today. We will have other versions at some stage. Perhaps next year.