It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a distillery’s core bottling. In some ways, I’d like to get some more on here, because I think the pendulum in terms of value for money is swinging back from indie bottlers to the distilleries themselves – when quality is taken into question, I should add.
Good casks are hard to find on the secondary market – the stuff that’s been churned out for the most part has come from very weak and ineffective casks, which have done no favours to the maturing spirit. (Incidentally, if you’re interested in one mother of an article on wood, take a look at this.)
So I made an impulse purchase, seeking a very affordable everyday dram – and this time I decided to head for a proprietary bottling rather than another independent, which is my usual go-to choice for something interesting. After all, it’s the distilleries who have the decent stock these days, given the second, third, fourth filled nonsense we’re seeing a lot of from indies at the budget end of the spectrum.
So I thought about Glengoyne, which I visited last year. I enjoyed many of the drams I tried then, particularly the process of assembling my own single malt, and thought: let’s give them a go. After being pleased by the Glengoyne 12 Year Old, I took a step up the chain to the Glengoyne 15 Years Old, which costs just under £50. The whisky has been matured in a mixture of bourbon, first-fill sherry, and refill casks. It’s bottled at 43% ABV.
Glengoyne 15 Years Old Review
Colour: deep copper.
On the nose: gorgeous. Definitely some of the lighter dried fruits: sultanas and dried apricots, with orchard fruits, perry, cinnamon. Then there’s a very pleasant toffee fudge and golden syrup note, with Tiramisu, that lovely light coffee edge. Custard powder and digestive biscuits, but then fresher fruit returns: apples, mango even.
In the mouth: lovely rounded, honey-led mouthfeel. A slightly more malty quality than the nose suggested: malted milk biscuits, toffee, baked apples in syrup, with a touch of vanilla (i.e. it’s not overwhelming as is often the case). Sultanas, a touch of blackcurrant curiously. Faint coffee grounds and burnt wholemeal toast. Silky, oily, a warming stem ginger finish.
A sublime bit of blending, and excellent value at £50. This is what whisky should be about. Accessible to all – in flavour and price – and tasty enough to satisfy jaded old things like me. Glengoyne is putting out some really good whisky of late.