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Monday, July 25, 2022

Glengoyne 25 year old versus Glengoyne 25 year old The First Fill

Introduced in 2014, Glengoyne 25 year old has since found plenty of fans (including most well-known reviewers) among the sherry-cask-craving crowd. The enthusiasm (and its 48%abv) almost led me to buy a bottle blindly, five years ago, when the price tag was less than half of what it is now. Though I enjoyed Glengoyne's 21 year old (43%abv), I didn't love the 21 year old, so I passed up on the opportunity to buy the 25.

Also in 2014, Glengoyne dropped a 25 year old all-first-fill Spanish oak sherry cask release into Travel Retail stores. How the heck did they do that? They're not allowed to sling delicious-sounding age-stated whisky via Travel Retail. That was practice was banned by SWA Deep State agents more than a decade ago. Yet somehow Glengoyne, those crafty almost-Lowland Highlanders, got away with it. To note, that 25yo had a slightly lower, but still very nice, ABV of 46%.

Recently, I took part in a bottle split of both 25 year olds. It's time to taste them both.

Glengoyne 25 year old, all "hand-selected sherry casks", 48%abv

The nose develops steadily over an hour, adding new scents as it goes . First, it offers rope, dunnage, nocino and dried thyme. Then dark chocolate and old newspapers. Then walnut oil and iron. Finally, blueberry pie filling.

The palate elicits a "WOW" from the sort of drinker who has been reviewing five year old whiskies way too much recently. Raw walnuts and bitter chocolate up top; figs, kiwis, lemon and candied ginger underneath. A gorgeous tartness rises up, along with more walnuts, as time passes.

It finishes with raw walnuts, raw pecans, menthol and tar. Later sips include lemon candy and salted ume.


Glengoyne 25 year old The First Fill, "100% first fill sherry casks", 46%abv

Oh the nose. Old newspapers, fig jam, engine grease, dried oregano, almond cookies and cara cara orange peels. There's probably more, but I've been consumed.

This palate's chocolate tilts more towards the semi-sweet than the bitter stuff. There's more of a bite to this one, and more salt. Thai chiles in the background, gingery fizziness in the middle, date paste in the fore. Bits of raspberry jam and tangy limes around the edges.

It finishes gently bitter and tangy, slowly sweetening with time. Semi-sweet chocolate, mixed berries and mild unlit cigars linger longest.


I loved them both, and am awkwardly kicking myself in the ass for passing up the standard 25. The First Fill (TFF) may have the better nose, but both were very very very great. On the palates, TFF felt a little zippier, younger, with more wallop and slightly less grace, but I'm picking nits here. The standard 25 had a substantial finish, with the tar + menthol + salted ume combo greatly pleasing my senses.

I'm sorry if my writing is getting silly here. But it has been so long since I've had two classy, well-aged, old school-style, sherry cask whiskies like these in one sitting. I'm looking forward to many more weeks (or months) of fully aged single malts.

Glengoyne 25 year old, 48%abv — 91
Glengoyne 25 year old The First Fill, 46%abv — 90

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