Glengoyne Week – Day 7: Glengoyne 37yo 1972/2010 (52%, The Nectar of the Daily Dram, The Nectar and Bresser & Timmer)

Oh no, we’re already at the end of the Glengoyne week, quelle misère! This is always the moment with a little bit of melancholy. That moment when you’ve been with a good friend for a week and you know he or she has to leave. Waving goodbye at the train station or the airport. Going home alone with a little tear in the corner of your eye.

We are going to see our friend from Scotland off with the only independent bottling of Glengoyne in this Glengoyne week, and the only distillate from the seventies, the rest being eighties and one fairly new Glengoyne on day one. Here we have also the only Glengoyne that was bottled by The Nectar from Belgium together with Bresser & Timmer from The Netherlands.

Glengoyne 37yo 1972/2010 (52%, The Nectar of the Daily Dram, The Nectar and Bresser & Timmer)Color: Sparkling gold.

Nose: Waxy and fruity, like an old Duncan Taylor Caperdonich from the same year. Honeysuckle, and lots of it. This is so good, it can be worn as a perfume, amongst Whisky drinkers that is. Floral. Given some time the Whisky noses more elegant. After the initial weight of the wax and yellow fruit (that dissipates), it becomes more fresh, like walking on the beach in fall. Clean, maybe. The wood kicks in too, I mean the wood is noticeable, also a slight toast to it. Spicy. This one has utter balance. Caperdonichs and Glengoynes from 1972, I you haven’t tried them already, do it! In a short while they’ll get extinct or priceless, and you’ll be the poorer for it, not having had the experience…

Taste: Sweet, fruity and full, I already don’t want to write more notes now, I want to enjoy my dram! Somebody has to do the job, so I’ll sacrifice myself yet again. Bugger! The syrupy sweetness goes smoothly into the spiciness of the wood. Lemon sherbet and more yellow fruits, some peaches, dried apricots? Cardboard and vanilla ice-cream. Just a slight imbalance in the finish, but who cares, putting this in your mouth again makes up for that, you’ll only finish the bottle a little sooner than you meant to do. The finish in fact is not that heavy too, a tiny flaw.

It is a great dram. I was only surprised that the waxiness together with the fruitiness are here in the beginning, just not here to stay in the nose. tastewise it does stay. Well picked by Mario Groteklaes.

So that’s it, we are done for the moment with Glengoyne, and we are done with the fourth ‘week’ on Master Quill. In the end this independently bottle of Glengoyne got the highest score, with an almost equally briljant and newer ‘summer’ edition in the runner-up position. Actually the odds were a bit uneven since this Glengoyne is from the seventies and therefore well older than the rest of the contenders, but who said it was a contest? Through the rest of the offerings reviewed in this Glengoyne week, it can be clearly seen that Glengoyne makes a high quality whisky with multiple facets to it. Keep up the good work!

Points: 92

Thanks go out to Nico for providing the sample!

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Glengoyne Week – Day 6: Glengoyne 19yo 1985/2004 ‘Summer’ (52.6%, OB, Cask #608, 606 bottles)

After the cold, cold winter we actually had (are still having), with lots of snow, I guess it’s time for a nice long hot summer! First day of spring went by some time ago, and it still was snowing on that day, so I guess we all need a bit of summer in our lives. Unlike yesterday’s 1984, 1985 is a year more common to find a Glengoyne from. In 2006 Glengoyne even bottled a sister cask of this ‘Summer’ edition, that was a Butt, so it’s probably safe to assume, that this is from a Butt as well.

Color: Dark orange brown.

Nose: Typical musty Sherry. Spicy and leafy. Butter, honey and raisins. Mocha coffee. Coal and tar. This is by far the best dark Sherry cask up untill now in this Glengoyne week. A slightly acidic freshness, like lemon pie inside a raisiny heavily sherried dram. Dusty old polished wood, with ageing lacquer on it. Dark fruits emerge afer a while, Blueberries! Perfect balance and lots of character.

Taste: Big body, spicy with just the right amount of wood, and almonds. Did I say wood? It’s not just any kind of wood, this is tarry wood, steam locomotive wood. Blueberries infused in honey, with some added acidity. Again very balanced stuff this. It reminds me a bit of the great Longmorn’s of the early seventies. Those are legendary, and Glengoyne were able to make this in the mid eighties! Were are it’s sister casks?!?!

This cask was bottled in 2004, so it wasn’t around anymore when the mashmen of Glengoyne made their choices, so let’s call this, this consumers choice.

Points: 91

Thanks go out to Erik (Master Quill’s apprentice) for providing the sample.

Glengoyne Week – Day 5: Glengoyne 19yo 1984/2004 ‘Winter’ (58.2%, OB, Cask #1464, 576 bottles)

So, after three ‘Mashman’s choices’ from 2006, we now move into even (c)older bottlings. Next up is this Glengoyne “Winter” that was distilled in the winter of 1984, and bottled in 2004. This bottle is a limited edition of 576 bottles so most probably a Sherry Butt (or Puncheon). 1984 is also a year not a lot of official Glengoynes come from, I actually know of only one other, Sherry Cask #790, that was bottled already in 1998.

The label reads the following fabulous text: “Distilled in winter 1984, this limited edition has captured the essence of the season. A bouquet of snowdrops and pears. A frosty and clean palate that exudes honey and mellow spices reminiscent of a hot toddy”. A hot toddy is a hot drink made with rum, star anise or cloves, lemon and cinnamon. Well I can’t wait to try a Whisky that has all these ingredients in it!

Color: Light gold.

Nose: Very “Fino” Sherry. Clean. Little hint of smoke and hot butter. Salty bacon. The meaty component moves in and out of the picture. It’s also fresh, with a little bit of menthol. Give it some time and warm it up in your hand, some neat organics develop. A little bit of wood, but less than expected with a 19yo malt. Cold butter too, perfumy and elegant.

Taste: Sweet. Clay and a little bit hot (It’s almost 60% ABV.) Here some toasted wood and again that distinct saltiness. Bitter orange marmalade. There is a lot of sweetness to this, to counterpart the wood and it’s influences. Near the end quite a lot of spicy wood, with matching bitter and slightly soapy finish, with lots of malt. Still this Whisky has a lot of complexity to it and shows many faces. A quality work of art.

My first guess would have been Fino Sherry, but going further I would say Manzanilla Sherry. Manzanilla’s are also made in the Fino way, but have a salty touch, and due to the smoke and hints of saltiness in this Whisky, I would say Manzanilla. For me Fino or Manzanilla casks are pretty good casks for Whisky, but they never are easy. This one too, it’s not a you-like-it-immediately malt, but you have to work on it a bit, as opposed to, lets say, Oloroso cask. Work it, warm it, let it move a lot inside the glass and a wonderful complexity emerges. For me a sort of connoisseurs malt. I will score this the same as the last two choices I reviewed earlier, but no need to inform you again that this Sherry cask is way different from the two darker ones, but equally as good. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The fabulous list of ingredients: Rum? Nope. Star Anise? Nope. Lemon? Well, no. Cinnamon? Not really. Cloves? Again no. Snowdrops? I haven’t tried snowdrops yet, have you? Pears? Nope. Honey, nope it’s more sugary sweet. As I said, a wonderful piece of literature, by someone who obviously had a cold, or maybe I have a cold right now? I wish it was summer already.

Points: 87

Glengoyne Week – Day 4: Glengoyne 20yo 1986/2006 ‘Peter’s Choice’ (51%, OB, PX Butt #433, 603 bottles)

Well here you go, day four and here is the third and last of the Mashman’s choices from Glengoyne. Hardly a surprise after the last two days, isn’t it? This time a Pedro Ximénez Sherry Butt. Pedro Ximénez or PX for short, is a very sweet dessert Sherry. Oloroso Sherry were always considered to be the best for maturing Whisky, but it turns out that PX Casks are very good too. Let’s see how this PX-Glengoyne will do.

This is wat Peter had to say about his choice: “sweet, rich, wonderful and moves beautifully when shoogled*, just the way I like my whisky and my women!” So Peter shoogles his women? I mush have a go and shoogle my granny then!

Color: Sparkling copper brown, almost with a red tinge.

Nose: Quite fresh and light, but also raisins and alcohol. Dusty powdery wood. Utterly balanced, but not very outspoken. Charlie’s choice was definitely more ‘heavy’, this is friendlier. Dry meaty and slightly woody. Very slick and elegant yet again. Not a sherry monster. Honey sweetness and leafy.

Taste: Again very elegant, and sweet, easily recognizable as a PX Sherry. There is wood, but not very much, also something hoppy, with a hint of soap. The body is firm enough to withstand the soap, so don’t see that as a problem. The whole is thinner than Charlie’s choice though. The finish here is again beer-like and a bit sour. If that had stayed more fatty and sweet, that this would have been a score into the 90’s.

A very nice pick by Mashman Peter, may the shoogle be with you! This is the last of the Choices from personnel of the Glengoyne distillery, tomorrow the choice is mine again! Nosing the three Mashman’s choices, I would say the best nose is on Charlie. Tastewise it is a tie between Charlie and Peter, where Charlie is more brutal, or sporty, and Peter is more dressed to the occasion, so to speak. Both score the same and which one is better is dependent on how you feel. So two ties here, one between Charlie and Peter and a second between Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.

Points: 88

* Shoogle is a Scottish word which means to gently shake or agitate.

Glengoyne Week – Day 3: Glengoyne 17yo 1989/2006 ‘Charlie’s Choice’ (56%, OB, First Fill Oloroso Hogshead #1231, 279 bottles)

Day three brings us another one of the three 2006 Mashman’s Choices. The first one being an American Oak Sherry Butt from 1991. That one was pretty special, since Sherry once only came from Spanish or French oak Butts and Puncheons. Today’s Glengoyne, comes form another atypical Sherry Cask, a Hogshead. No information this time where the wood came from. Charlie Murray, the Mashman, said the following about his choice:

“In my time at Glengoyne this is the best cask I have tasted. Heaps of complexity with no rough edges.”

Color: Dark copper brown (murky).

Nose: Very spicy, old mahogany furniture. Lively, floral and elegant, and maybe a tad soapy. But altogether excellent. It’s not you usual stuffy dark sherried Whisky, nope, this is something else. Some tar, licorice and smoke! A ditch in the countryside after a nice fresh downpour of rain. Powdery and complex, it shows itself in layers, for me a sign of excellent whisky. Pencil lead and meaty. Nice expression of the wood. Elegant and refined. Smells like it was made with coal. Stunning nose.

Taste: Full and petrochemical (that’s a good thing here!). Nice wood and leafy, rotting leaves that is. Pencil shavings and tobacco. Licorice. The toast of the cask presents itself as smoke, quite unusual. The taste is bolder (than the nose), but keeps its elegance. After the full body the finish breaks down a little bit too soon. Warming alcohol. Some time after swallowing, leaves you with a beer like taste in your mouth. Did I say unusual already?

A great pick by Charles Owen Murray, it’s a great Glengoyne, but surely it couldn’t have been the best? Maybe Charlie was drunk at the time he was asked about this release, or Charlie didn’t get the chance to try a lot of Whisky 😉 It may not be the best, but very good indeed. It certainly is special, and a tad unusual to boot.

Points: 88

Glengoyne Week – Day 2: Glengoyne 15yo 1991/2006 ‘Jim’s Choice’ (57%, OB, American Oak Sherry Butt #1083, 693 bottles)

We lifted off safely, and now we are on our way with Glengoyne. In 2005 Glengoyne started a series of ‘Choices’. In 2005 the Lucky choices were made by stillmen Ronnie, Ewan and Duncan. In 2006 the mashmen Peter, Jim and Charlie had a go, and finally in 2007 Billie, Deek and Robbie chose their casks to be bottled. Good choice, bad choiceRobbie is the distillery manager and Deek and Billie are warehousemen.

Today’s Butt was chosen by mashman James ‘Jim’ Leslie. This sort of this is always interesting to me. A Sherry Butt made of American oak, instead of Spanish or French oak.

Jim’s said the following about his choice; “I love Glengoyne at this age – the cask and the whisky are perfectly balanced. There is plenty of sweet fruit and rich oak.”

Color: Gold.

Nose: Wow, nice and spicy, apples, waxy with cold toasted wood. Rotting leaves. Not woody at all. Very lively and fresh. Fresh cut grass. Given some time the wood does start to play its part. Wood related vanilla (dry, as opposed to ‘sweet’ ice cream). Barley, mocha and clean, slightly sour oak. Also some varnish.

Taste: Spicy and elegant wood. Fino Sherry. Tobacco and cigar box. Slightly soapy, which also makes it a little bit unbalanced. The initial sweetness is gone quite quickly. Barley and dried grass. Pickle water (sweet/sour). Where the soap affects the balance of this Whisky, the finish does that too. It breaks down rather quick, and the whole palate is too much dominated by wood. No need to tell you that the finish is dry.

Well, for a Glengoyne this is a bit disappointing, and that’s saying a lot! Nosing it, I can imagine Jim to choose this, but on the palate there are so much more beautiful Glengoynes around. Especially the balance of the palate could have been better. Not bad.

Points: 86

Glengoyne week – Day 1: Glengoyne 12yo (43%, OB, Bourbon Casks, 2012)

Hurray, we have another ‘week’ at Master Quills! No April fools! As you all know this sort of event is very nice to do. This is already the fourth time we’re doing a ‘week’. We started out with the Bourbon week, that was not all about Bourbon. The second time around we had a go at the tipple of Japan, and I’m not yet talking about Saké. The last one, up ’till now, was Rum. Now we’ll do the first about a Single Malt Whisky, Glengoyne in particular. Glengoyne is famous for not using peat at all. They are so proud of it they even mention such a thing on their labels, or used to. Second, Glengoyne is also one of the distilleries that uses (or used) the Golden Promise Barley variety, one of the best tasting barley’s around. Glengoyne is owned by Ian MacLeod, we all know as the independent bottler of the Chieftains range and Dun Bhaegan.

Last year the core range, the 10yo, 12yo, 15yo, 18yo, 21yo and the cask strength version got a new look. This 12yo is a few points up in ABV from the 10yo and cost only a fraction more.

Color: Gold

Nose: Malty and quite stuffy at first. The stuffiness dissipates very quickly. After that, very clean, which doesn’t exclude the initial stuffiness. This is the way to find out how the Spirit of Glengoyne ages, without being obscured. Fresh seaside air. Sweetish and clean oak. Going by the smell alone I would say mostly refill casks were used. Toffee and a little bit of wood and vanilla. Slightly floral. Undemanding and unobtrusive.

Taste: Sweetish (corn?) and quite simple. Malty, slightly bitter, fruity (pineapple) and sweet. A little bit of toast. It’s quite nice and dangerously drinkable. Slightly warming. All in all quite simple. Short finish, that leaves a trace of sugar in the mouth. Slight imbalance towards the finish (sour beer).

A very easy, simple and inoffensive entry-level malt, without faults, but also nothing special. A good inexpensive choice for a novice, and if you don’t like this, stay away from single malts altogether! Still when compared to the cask strength version, well that is quite another story…

Points: 81