...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Glencoe 8 year old Blended Malt

And so......I begin with Glencoe?


  • is produced by Ben Nevis Distillery
  • is sold at the distillery
  • was sold on the distillery's official site
  • now bears the same bottle and label design as Ben Nevis's single malt range
  • was created by the MacDonalds who also founded the distillery

It's Ben Nevis, but not 100% Ben Nevis. Glencoe IS a pure vatted blended malt made up of Ben Nevis and (allegedly) only one other distillery. It's bottled at a burly 58%abv, has loads of sherry cask influence and an actual age statement. And can be found for £40. It's also not swill.

Two years ago, I bought my bottle with the old style label for less than $60 (in total), then opened it for Killing Whisky History, Episode 30, this past March. It's not a casual summer sipper, so the fill level is just below the halfway point as I begin this tasting.

Ownership: Ben Nevis Distillery Ltd.
Brand: MacDonald's Glencoe
Type: Blended (or Vatted) Malt
Distilleries: Ben Nevis plus one other distillery (probably)
Age: 8 years
Maturation: sherry casks and bourbon casks
Alcohol by Volume: 58%
Chillfiltered? Probably not
Color added? No
(from my bottle)

Big raisiny sherry notes lead off the nose with hints of gunpowder and seaweedy peat in the background. It picks up Werther's Originals and grape jam with time. The palate proves more complex than the nose. It starts with raisiny sherry, then adds on tart oranges and lemons, minerals, tart apples and a hint of rosewater. It finishes with dried cranberries, stones, cayenne pepper and tart citrus.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Somehow the nose becomes hotter and tighter, but the sherry element recedes as citrus and apples advance. The pleasant but simple palate holds raisins, peppercorns, mint and honey. It sweetens with time, as does the finish with its honey, oranges and nuts.

Though it's more approachable when diluted, Glencoe shows more depth at full strength. And while it'll never be as pretty as the more familiar, more expensive, sherried cask strength NAS single malts, it has a dirtier edge which makes it more fun for folks with a palate similar to mine. And I think it's safe to attribute the earthy, mineral, peat-ish side to its Ben Nevis content. A good value if you can buy it in Europe.

Availability - Many European whisky specialists
Pricing - £40-£50
Rating - 84