Comparing some Glengoyne expressions
I had my first Glengoyne, back in the days when I was studying in Edinburgh, as part of the Erasmus Program. I had already sampled a few whiskies during previous vacations in Scotland, but it was during that time that I really had the opportunity to develop my taste for single malt whisky.
The only Glengoyne expressions I tried back then were the 10 and the 12yo, but I was quite impressed by this non-peated malt.
In my humble opinion, as lover of the peaty beasts of Islay, Glengoyne is an exciting whisky, it doesn’t hide behind a facade of light peat and a cheap sherry finish. No it is out there, with its own original style, providing us with an unfamiliar exquisite marriage of flavours thanks to its slow distillation process and air dried barley.
As far as non-peated malts go, my preference will often go out to Glengoyne.
The distillery was my first stop along the beaten track of the West Highland Way. The Distillery is situated right on the border between the Lowlands and the Highlands, in the shadow of the Dumgoyne. So when you climb the fence , the dunnages on your left will still be part of the Lowlands, while the distillery across the road is the first piece of the Highland’s you’ll set foot on.
The Distillery is quite small and compact, lodged into the gorge of the Glengoyne burn. One of the more picturesque distilleries in Scotland (hell, most of them are), but the modern warehouses on the other side of the road are a bit of a spoiler.
After the first few miles, a free dram or two were more than welcome and fortunately for me and my companions, the shop owners were willing to “donate” some of their golden liquor, to lessen our thirst.
This is where I first tried the 18yo and the Teapot Dram. Only bought a few miniatures, my backpack weighed about 15kg at the beginning of our hike ( at the end it was almost 18kg, as my companions started treating me as their mule).
We had lunch near the magnificent waterfall at the dam, but there was no time left for a guided visit to the distillery, as we had to press on to reach the Millarochy camping site before nightfall.
Luckily enough, the doors of the stillhouse were open and I still got a peek.
(The belt of my backpack gave me a bit of a pot belly)
Maybe next time, I’ll get to visit the distillery thoroughly.
Today I’ve decided to put some of the Glengoyne expressions side to side to compare them. On today’s menu: a Glengoyne 12yo, a 15 and 18yo miniature and the Teapot Dram.
Nose: a fresh nose, oak wood, with notes of vanilla with a whiff of citrus. But also very sweet: chocolate, , coconut, fudge and caramel.
Mouth: a nice body: thick and oily. A table full of delicacies: caramel, toffee, butterscotch, gingerbread and vanilla sticks.With some fruity notes, cider apples and lemon zest and malty undertones.
Finish: medium long, sweet and malty, caramel with some slight peppery notes.
|A fine, entry-level malt, a true classic with a quite interesting palate, You won’t regret buying this, should be part of every whisky lover’s liquor cabinet.|
Nose: Complex and refined, but still very fresh. Malty and sugary with notes of lemon, vanilla and chocolate. Scents reminiscent of dried fruits and roasted nuts on a background of spicy toasted oak. A very compelling nose, I could sniff at this dram for hours.
Mouth: rich, dry and spicy. A full body, with orange peels, stewed apples, delicate notes of leather, spicy with touches of cinnamon and nutmeg and again, notes of sticky toffee.
Finish: quite long and smooth, a full round taste with chocolate notes and a whiff of polished oak .
|Impressive, this is my favorite Glengoyne expression thus far. If I could have my pick, I would buy this one instead of the older 18yo expression.|
Nose: less impressive than the 15, one again, toffee and chocolate notes, but fruitier this time: apple peels, banana, dried apricots and oranges, heavier sherry influences, but with grassy undertones and a whiff of menthol. Nice and rich nose.
Mouth: much spicier on the palate, overtones of white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Oak wood and vanilla with hints of almonds. Close to the 15yo on the palate but less refined, with more influence from the sherry aromas.
Finish: very long, slightly bitter and dry, with a peppery aftertaste.
|Overall an excellent malt, the problem was that I tried it after the 15yo, which still is in my opinion the stronger of the two. But that doesn’t mean the 18 isn’t an great malt on its own. There are probably others who will find the 18yo more appealing, for the same reasons that I prefer the 15yo. (De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum)|
Glengoyne Teapot Dram (Batch 2)
A NAS vatting of five first-fill sherry butts (three at 9 years in American oak, one at 13 years in American oak, and one at 14 years in European oak) and bottled at cask strength
Nose: full and sherried nose, but not overly dominant (this is no sherry bomb). Fruity: dried plums, figs and sultanas. Spicy: rough grind black pepper and nutmeg. And sweet with burned caramel and orange pastries. After some time, a slight breeze of floral notes reveals itself.
Mouth: a full bodied biter, prickling your tongue with cinnamon apples, toffee, candied ginger and notes of tea, and than burning it with an explosion of mustard and spicy peppers. Underlying tones of oak wood and hazelnuts
Finish: a long finish, with warm and spicy notes of herbal-tea lingering in your mouth. And filling your body with pleasant warmness.
|This is definitely one for the dark and cold winter evenings (I’ll put this bottle right next to my Blair Athol 12yo). Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present the winner of this evening, what a class-act. If you come across this one in your local liquor store or on the web, don’t hesitate to pick it up.|