I was kindly given this sample by the lads at Just Whisky Auctions. Casting back I really haven’t had much to do with Glenglassaugh nor was aware of this release. Looking at the promotional literature the major selling point seems to be the use of the ‘finest hand-picked ex-Tennessee whisky barrels’, which honestly seems like we’re scraping the bottle of the barrel (sorry) here for a selling point.
Has the demand for casks from the Scottish whisky industry reached such a point where we’ll take any old whisky barrel? Given the news about shortages you’d expect this to be the case however I’m sure benchmarks are still maintained. Whilst I was at Kingbarns distillery this topic came up when we were looking at casks waiting to be filled. Wemyss have used contacts to secure casks that are hand-picked in America before they are shipped out intact to the UK. I queried the state of the casks as many prefer to flat-pack casks to save costs but this deconstruction is detrimental to the integrity of the cask and its purpose.
Distilled: a no age statement release
Cask: ex-Tennessee (George Dickel) first fill
Additional: natural colour, non chill filtered
Price: circa £56
Colour: old fashioned lemonade
Nose: a fruity nose with cooking apples, ripe pears and white grapes evident. A touch of sharpness from white pepper and lots of vanilla with a hint of melted caramel.
Taste: pretty disappointing in reality – I’m sure a few more years in the cask would have produced better results. Instead we have more vanilla (almost cream soda) and those persistent apples. A pastry note if I was sticking my head into an oven that had just cooked a batch of homemade shortbread.
Overall I’m underwhelmed, and for the asking price I’d be actually asking for a little more oomph and character from the Evolution. However the name suggests its a midway station on the journey towards a worthwhile destination; your whisky equivalent of the Empire Strikes Back if you like. Fingers crossed that it does pluck up the courage to have another go in a couple of years.