Glengoyne whiskies pride themselves on their unique whisky making process, boasting to be the slowest distillation process in Scotland. It seems fitting then that my first dalliance with a Glengoyne whisky is with something that has also been maturing and milling around for a long time too: at least 18 years anyway. The distillery markets this whisky as offering a “perfect balance” and noting that it contains a “generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks”, the remainder presumably being aged in American standard ex-bourbon barrels. The distillation, maturation and bottling is all performed on-site within the distillery grounds in Dumgoyne, making this a Highland single malt scotch whisky, and one that is presented at 43% ABV.
Woah. There are a lot of flavours fighting for attention here. There’s a marzipan type tang and sweetness up front with an apple and raisin fruitiness and an almond-like nuttiness. With a little bit of time there’s a thicker molasses-type sweetness underneath too with a nutmeg spice amongst that icing sugar-style sugary-ness on top. Is this a whisky tasting note or a cake recipe?
All those initial flavours on the nose just seem to intensify when this finally gets into your mouth and do their metaphorical dance on the tongue. The traditional wedding cake ingredients listed above are all supported by a strong sherry influence which soon dominates over the previous sensations and lingers for a while before actually leaving a strong orange marmalade flavour behind.
Well, the cake references have now all gone when it comes to the finish, but that sweet and fruity marmalade flavour lasts and even has a buttery finish to it (presumably having been spread on some toast in this food-heavy review). In fact, long after the whisky and alcohol vapours have gone, the lasting note and aftertaste is that of oranges. That’s some fine sherry work throughout, and I’m not sure how we got there, but it works.
For a single malt scotch whisky, this whisky review sure reads like a list of cake ingredients! But, I can confirm, that it is still very much a malt whisky at the heart of this endeavour, and one with a great sherry influence. That said, the whisky still remains a light and enjoyable dram, despite all these strong, darker, richer flavours being listed. I tasted this whisky via the Dram Team subscription, and these troops do source a great range of drams, and I think that I’m syncing up with their taste buds as I continue with the subscription, because only after enjoying and writing about the whisky have I since read their notes and they are virtually the same (even on the marmalade note). I’m always put on edge and sceptical about when a distillery describes their whiskies as the perfect anything, but Glengoyne are not wrong when they say that this whisky has a great balance to it. On that basis, this dram has left me keen to explore what else Glengoyne have to offer, and I would heartily recommend this 18yo as a great choice for anyone to enjoy whether as a newcomer or connoisseur – and one that tends to stay at the less expensive end of the price spectrum for 18 year old scotch whiskies available (though expensive nonetheless).
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