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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Glengoyne 16 year old 1997 Sovereign for K&L, cask HL9968

Monday's Glengoyne was from many sherry casks, today's comes from a single bourbon cask. And it's from an independent bottler. Several years ago, one rarely saw indie Glengoynes. But now there are casks from Cadenhead, Malts of Scotland, SMWS, Berry Brothers and both Laings. At least 95% of these casks are not released in the United States, which is why this K&L Wine Merchants exclusive cask from one of the Laing brands was probably of interest to some whisky enthusiasts in this country. Time to see if it's good.

Distillery: Glengoyne
Owner: Ian MacLeod Distillers
Region: Highlands, but right on the Southern border
Independent Bottler: Hunter Hamilton
Range: The Sovereign
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Age: 16 years old (1997 - ????)
Maturation: probably a refill bourbon barrel
Cask numberHH9968
Alcohol by Volume: 51.1%
(thanks to Brett P for the sample!)

Riesling and roasted barley on the nose. Then corn bread, lemon zest, citronella oil and American oak. More of the last as time goes on. The raw, sharp palate reads hotter than the ABV. Salt and minerals, barley, lime and a hint of vanilla. But mostly burn. It finishes with minerals, limes and fire.

Needs water. Hopefully.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Barley, sand, lemon, caramel and a hint of mushrooms on the nose. The palate is still plenty hot. There's a tiny bit more fruit, maybe blueberries and nectarines? Some vanilla cookies. There are hints of fruits and flowers in the finish but it's still stark and hot.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or 1⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Lemon, ginger, mint and coffee cake on the nose. Lemon, pepper and bitterness in the palate, along with berries and stones. Stones, berries, pepper and caramel in the finish.

The exact opposite of the official 21, this single cask Glengoyne is loud and difficult. (I'm glad I did not try them side by side because this one may have fared even worse than it did here.) The nose always works, but the palate does not. Water and oxygen don't help. It reminds me of the many 6-7 year old single cask single malts that are still popping up like weeds at European retailers. Those whiskies have the excuse of being 6-7 years old, and perhaps would have been salvageable at twice their ages. This whisky is already 16 years old. At least it was pulled before it became raw and oaky. This feels like the sort of whisky that some companies would choose re-rack or finish before unleashing it to the thirsty thousands. A port cask, anyone?

Availability - sold out
Pricing - $79.99
Rating - 77