Review : The Singleton of Glen Ord 12 Years Old

The roar of motor race engines, the layers of tyres stacked one over the other, the hustle of the pit crew gripping jacks and bald tyres, the buzz of wheel guns and the garbled chatter from walkie-talkie machines – a composition, each like notes of a symphony. The long fuel pipes, the nuts, bolts, oil cans, shiny chrome and sharp detailing; the feel of the wheel, and the sound of the leather grip cringe as I twisted it from one side to another – goosebumps galore!

Pretty much high on adrenaline as the vehicle vibrated from all that power, came a pat from one of the guys at the pit stop pointing towards my feet. “Right for the accelerator, slam the left for the brakes. Be careful, these go karts can go real fast!!” Plop!! – And there spelt the end to my otherwise childish imagination. The pit crew was all but a bunch of four lads in their mid-twenties, the so called roaring engines were part of two of five karts – the rest lying around the sides unused waiting for a customer to breathe life. The fuel pipe was reduced to a funnel to channel the gasoline into a 5 litre tank placed right by my side. There weren’t wheel guns,  weren’t pretty cheer leaders except for one – my wife (*she reads this too!!*), a few spanners, hammers and a tiny jack to service any flat tyres, broken machinery or loose metal parts.

The Thursday was a day off work to spend time with the family. This sure beats the weekends – long lanes of cars, bikes that fill the tiniest of spaces in between, horn honking numb-nuts, crowded malls, streets and markets. Choosing the weekday meant we could commute faster, have fun and get back early enough to make it for the next day. Much of the day was spent window shopping and then there was the the occasional ice cream, chocolate filled donuts, thick coffee shakes and cream laden waffles. The day came to an end and dinner was calling. My wife and in laws stuck to their regulars, while I went about scanning through the menu. I was looking for something I hadn’t sipped yet and possibly one that could turn out to be my next review. And behold!!! The Singleton of Glen Ord 12 YO, my review for the week!

The ‘Glen’ Ord distillery isn’t situated in the valleys as you might think but rather tucked away neatly in the fertile flat lands between the mountains and the sea, at the ‘Muir of Ord’ (moor by the hill). The distillery was established in the year 1838 by Thomas Mackenzie but soon after its construction, disputes and later bankruptcy caused the distillery to change hands one too many times which also included a joint partnership between Johnnie Walker and John Dewar and Sons. In 1966, the distillery was renovated and its capacity increased to six stills from the earlier two and by 1985, the Glen Ord was acquired by United Distilleries, and then Diageo a decade after.

The Singleton of Glen Ord was not always called so; it was limited to just the ‘Glen Ord’ malt which itself came in several expressions and with it a huge fan following. To cater to the increased demand for Single Malts within Asia and the Pacific’s (Australia included), Diageo introduced the Glen Ord Singleton in travel retail stores in the hopes of capturing market share. Additionally, other than being a malt in its own right, it also found itself as a constituent in blends such as those of the Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s.

The bottle is mildly bluish housing contents that have been matured for a minimum of 12 years in a combination of mainly ex-bourbon and some sherry casks. The curve at the rear makes the flask look a lot like those used by bootleggers during Prohibition Times while the antiquated font adds richness and a sense of character to its somewhat dated (*in a good way*) looks. The leaping salmon helps emphasise Scotland’s crisp, natural sources of water while also depicting ‘wisdom and knowledge’ as is in Celtic mythology.



ABV : 40%

Eye: Copper gold

Nose: Malty and rich with subtle hints of caramel, burnt sugar and honey. Definite peat, although in moderation, with wood and traces of milk chocolate. Light fruity aromatics like those of grapes, bananas, red apples, and cherries interleaved with the scent of ocean air.

Taste: Well-rounded, light and mildly sweet – a fusion of caramel, bananas, and grapes. Traces of brine, earth and white pepper introduce a slight bitterness that concludes with a dry feel.

Finish : Earthy, and mildly sweet to medium dry

To sum it up, the Glen Ord is a very enjoyable and ‘nose-worthy’ drink. It guarantees a bouquet of ‘scent-sual’ treats and though not as vibrant on the palate, it is a fine malt that leaves a pleasant experience. I for one felt its flavors were very much subdued and almost hidden – something a bit of time or a drop or two of water easily exposed.

In terms of preference, the people at  Singleton’s recommend the malt to be sipped neat or with a rock or two! I would relay the same, and add that you might want to have the dram rested for a while – it would certainly make the effort all the more worthwhile!



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