...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Glengoyne 21 year old

Yes, St. Patrick's Day came and went, yet there was no Irish whiskey review on Diving for Pearls. But here's what I've got for you: Glengoyne. With the substantial influence the Irish had on the Lowlands and Lowland whisky, and with Glengoyne sitting right on the border of the Highlands and Lowlands......

Well, there it is.

Glengoyne rarely goes astray (in my experience) and they remain proudly unpeated, so I've wanted to review more of their whiskies, but I have only three samples in my stash. After this weekend's tastings, there are now zero samples. How about I start with a Glengoyne that can actually be purchased?

The official Glengoyne 21 year old, to be more specific. I first tried this whisky at an Edinburgh pub during our 2017 trip. The whisky was perfectly fine, but also perfectly forgettable as it was much like most other reasonably made sherried single malts. Since I was sipping it in a pub, I thought perhaps something from the whisky was being lost in the environment. So this weekend I tried it a second time, but at home.

Distillery: Glengoyne
Owner: Ian MacLeod Distillers
Region: Highlands, but right on the border
Age: minimum 21 years
Maturation: "exclusively in hand-selected sherry casks"
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? ???
Caramel Colorant? No, according to their site
(Thanks to St. Brett for the sample!)

The nose takes a few minutes to wake up. First there are mild notes of dried berries, oak spice and anise. Caramel sauce and cinnamon. A bakery note (cream puffs, perhaps?). With time in the glass it gains a nutty sherry note, along with hints of orange juice and vanilla. The palate is always pleasant and gentle. Silky sherry and a light bitterness in the fore. Grape-ier notes in the midground. After 30 minutes, there's a rush of malt and almonds. It's never too sweet. It finishes slightly sweeter and with more tannins. Almonds, pinot noir, oranges and limes.

On one hand, one wishes that Macallan still made whisky like this. On the other hand, there's nothing that says "Glengoyne" about this whisky. It could be any sherry cask single malt. On the third hand, this whisky is so quiet it almost vanishes before one can sort out what one just drank. It feels lighter than 43%abv (or 40% for that matter), aside from a good texture in the mouth. So, it's one of those whiskies that's just fine, and probably won't disappoint, unless you're looking for distillery character (whatever that may be) or something more vibrant.

Availability - Many specialty liquor retailers in USA and Europe
Pricing - $130-$190 in the US. $90-$150 in Europe (ex-VAT).
Rating - 83

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