Glenugie 1966 (40%. Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Old Map Label, 75cl, 4699)

Up next a blast from our collective Whisky past. This is only the second Glenugie on these pages, and rightfully so. It’s closed and it’s today, bottlings like this moved into the realm of collectors (who don’t drink it) and anoraks (who do). So what do we have here? A few years ago an anorak posted an article about what clues can be found on a G&M bottling to date it. We see that this bottle doesn’t have a neck label to date it, so it’s not from the 1991 batch, but earlier. We do know it is an 75cl bottle and on the bottom the glass code 4699 can be found. This particular glass container was used in between 1982 and 1991, which isn’t really helping, but narrows it down a bit. I’ve seen this bottle with different cardboard boxes though, so that isn’t helpful either. The box in the picture isn’t necessarily the box the bottle was sold in. Second we do not know if only one bach was released, looking like this. There may be different batches with different boxes who look exactly the same filled in exactly the same coded bottles. I’m guessing the one I’m about to taste is more form the second half of the eighties than the first half, but that’s only speculation. Let’s try it then shall we?

Glenugie 1966Color: Slightly orange gold.

Nose: Very dusty and old smelling. Funky dry Sherry. Deep grassy, slightly waxy and old soft oak(y). Time capsule. Some faint red berry fruit in the background. Add to that a more creamy, vanilla note and some burnt wood. It’s a mere hint that burnt note though. Adds to the character fo the Whisky. If you let it breathe for a while, more and more of this red fruit comes to the fore, cloaked in the wood and creamy notes. Diluted warm caramel and slightly dusty as well. This is an old gem, and needs to be treated as such. It’s fragile at 40% ABV. Don’t be hasty too. With even some more air, hints of licorice and a floral note emerges. Floral but not soapy. Elegant and distinguished florality. Vegetal (with some wood), floral and fruity, that sums it up.

Taste: The wax, diluted caramel and the wood are up front here. Diluted sweetness. It’s slightly sweet at first, but that is quickly gone. It’s so obvious that I do feel that some caramel colouring has been done. Yep, toffee, hard candy coffee bon-bon. More wood, slightly sappy and bitter. It has some creamy nuttiness to it. Does warm hazel-nut milk make any sense? Disappears rather quickly, hence it has a short finish. The finish is made up of toffee and it’s actually almost the only thing that is noticeable in the aftertaste (as well as a hint of paper…).

Wonderful old malt, that has been diluted too much and might have seen some caramel colouring. You know it’s there, but it lost its battle trying to show it to us, since it has been hindered by too much water. Bummer. I have to report this to the Whisky police and hopefully the culprits will be brought to the Whisky-tribunal. Smells great though, that’s where the potential is still noticeable, or should I say that’s where you can still get a glimpse of what could (should) have been…

Points: 83

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Glenugie 30yo 1977/2007 (46.3%, Signatory Vintage, Hogshead #5507, 243 bottles)

Yes, it’s a Glenugie. long time overlooked and very popular the last few years. It’s a closed distillery (1983) and quite popular with whisky aficionado’s. Just as is the case with Banff today, connoisseurs discovered a closed distillery that has a special quality to it. I have to admit that all of the Glenugies I tasted scored at least 85 points and most well higher than that. Only one is lower than that. I scored the sister cask #5506, also by Signatory Vintage, only 81 points. So let’s have a look if all those 55xx casks are the same and if this one’s any better.

Color: White wine.

Nose: Estery and fresh. Green apple skin. Grainy and a slight hint of vanilla. You could have fooled me with the age of this one. Seems much younger and cleaner, than I would have expected, knowing what this is. There is also a hint of cask toast and wood. Sweet and fruity, peaches on syrup. Creamy toffee with a hint of coconut. I like the nose, it’s like candy. Great balance.

Taste: Sweet like sugar, icing. Vanilla, no wood whatsoever, not at first anyway. It has some spice from the wood. Apples, without the bitterness from the skin. Finish isn’t too long, and just a tad sour. The wood does show its face, late in the finish. Good drinking strength with enough oomph. Again, it seems much younger. The balance in the taste is also somewhat weaker than the very nice fruity nose.

It’s nice and likeable. Nice piece of history. Just not a lot happened in all those years. For me it’s better than it’s sister cask, but still no high flier. You’ll really have to be a buff to recognize the markers of an old Glenugie. But isn’t beauty in the details?

Points: 84

Thanks go out to Nico again for handing me this sample.