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From hints of paint thinner, axle grease and Cullen Skink, to notes of Germolene, to coincide with World Whisky weekend, Glen Moray has released  an anthology of its favourite whisky tasting notes and less flattering malt reviews.

The selection of floral purple feedback has been provided by leading whisky writers, including Master of the Quaich Dave Broom, Whisky Magazine’s Ian Wisniewski, Whisky Cask’s Mark Gillespie, whiskyphile Brian Townsend and Ecarpment magazine’s Philip Day. Many reviewers realize that they go an adjective too far.

Says Master of Malt’s Henry Jeffreys : “ My bete noire for tasting notes and I’m as guilty as anyone, is being unnecessarily specific. For example m saying Conference pear rather than  just pear, manuka honey instead of honey. I think they’re used to give false sense of exactness. 

“I love silly comparisons. My favourite-ever tasting note comes from wine. Sturdier than Robert Mitchum’s trouser press!”


The Whisky Boys’ Jim Coleman’s most memorable whisky line is ‘tastes like the left wing of a dead seagull on an Islay beach’. Malt aficionado Charlie MacLean’s opts for ‘dead guillemot’ as his all-time Number One.

Glen Moray’s own favourite flavour profile descriptions include :

Pork scratchings dusted with paprika


Damp cardboard

Spicy cigarette ash

A touch of the tack room

Roofing tar


The nose of some whiskies have reminded some connoisseurs of :


Wet Labrador

Toilet Duck

A wet worsted blanket

Freshly-shaven pencils

One whisky was once described as “grungy”.

Perhaps the most strained try-too-hard criticism

from a professional, supposedly educated palate is  ‘Like a young cricket bowler joining the senior squad too young: some of the delivery is wayward but the power, energy and enthusiasm is there in abundance.’

Although also up there is : “It’s a sit back with a cigar and show off your cufflinks kind of dram

Dave Broom comments : “Our sense of smell is an internalized sense and therefore the most personal. We all have different memories and triggers when we smell something. It depends on your background, where you live, what you eat, when you first encountered the aroma.

“No surprise then that you get some wild descriptors. The key is to know what they mean. If I smell clean rabbit hutch/ hamster cage I know I’m smelling a malty whisky. You might smell biscuits, dusty antics or a dead mouse. It hinders enjoyment if you don’t allow people to relax and allow their memories to come out.”

Dave Broom would like to see Gaelic words used more.  ‘Sgrìob’ describes the itchiness of the lip when a dram is required.  ‘Hoorish appliews to a cask strength dram.


Glen Moray single malt whisky  has been crafted since 1897 on the banks of the river Lossie in Elgin, the capital of the Speyside whisky region, Pure waters from the river, locally malted barley, distillation in traditional copper stills and maturation in American ex-bourbon casks combine to give the whisky its smooth, well-balanced, classic Speyside character.

Glen Moray’s £830 Moray Mastery  120th Anniversary has been described as “nutmeggy” while its  £36.95 12-Year-Old has been described on the distillery website  as “excellent value for money” and “ something I don’t have to think too much about. Something that is nice, easy drinking with a nice taste”.