Our Fellow, Dr. Heinz Weinberger from Whisky-Connaisseur, has written this guest blog for us, giving us a brief insight into one of his favourite Scottish distilleries...
Due to its perhaps most romantic location, Glengoyne is considered one of the most beautiful Distilleries in Scotland, attracting around 60,000 visitors from all over the world every year. Situated at the foot of Dumgoyne Hill, it is surrounded by a picturesque landscape characterised by dense forests and green hills. In this narrow forest, at the end of which is a 30-foot waterfall and in front of it a reservoir - which is fed by the Dumgoyne Hills and thus the water source of Glengoyne - one immediately feels taken back to a long-gone, romantic time of the Scottish Highlands.
The name of the Distillery, since 2003 belonging to Ian Macleod, derives from "Glen Guin" meaning valley of the wild geese. Glengoyne has been distilling unpeated Whisky without interruption since 1833. This tradition resulted from the fact that there is no peat in the soil around Dumgoyne. A special feature which distinguishes Glengoyne from all other Scottish Distilleries: It is the only distillery that distils Whisky in the Highlands but let it mature in the Lowlands. This is because the Highland line, a geological border separating the Lowlands from the Highlands, runs just outside the Distillery, following the road. Since the Distillery is located on one side of the road, but its warehouses are on the other, they belong to different regions. The new make runs through underground copper pipes into the warehouses on the other side of the road for cask filling and maturation. Today, they consider themselves as a Highland Distillery.
There is another factor that makes Glengoyne unique. They distil more slowly than any other Scottish Distilleries. The spirit is literally dripping through the stills and spirit safe. This ensures longer contact with hot copper leading to a sweet and fruity spirit. Thanks to the booming Sherry business in the UK, there was a steady supply of imported sherry casks at the end of the 19th century, which were consistently used to store and mature the distillate resulting in a particularly soft, rich, fruity and complex taste for which Glengoyne is famous since then.
With bottlings from its Old Particular series, Douglas Laing & Co has impressively demonstrated that an outstanding Glengoyne Whisky does not necessarily have to be matured in a sherry cask. The 17 years old Glengoyne from a single refill hogshead (cask No. DL10697) is a very interesting example for this. Distilled in September 1997 and bottled in February 2015, without chill-filtration and colouring. Behind it there's a delicious, sweet and creamy Single Malt with a fruity core of apples and pears accompanied by a warming spiciness, resulting in a long and lingering finish.
Another tasty expression, again from a Refill Hogshead (cask No. DL12154) is the 20 Years Old Glengoyne, bottled exclusively for the German market. This single malt was distilled in December 1996 and bottled in November 2017, again without any colouring or chill-filtration, resulting in a nicely complex, delicate and well-balanced dram. It impresses with its enchanting fruitiness, paired with creamy Bourbon vanilla and pleasantly restrained oak spices. A pleasant companion at the end of a beautiful day.
It's great that independent bottlers such as Douglas Laing & Co are taking care that the taste potential of a distillery in all its facets comes to fruition.
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