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Glenglassaugh (pronounced: Glen-glassa) is an unfortunate distillery in some respects in that it has lain silent for over half its lifetime. However, you might equally argue that, despite all the setbacks, it has ultimately escaped certain doom and, against all the odds, is thankfully in full production again. Bought over in 2008 after twenty two years of silence, it is now producing a variety of spirits and has managed to release aged expressions from stock bought back from Edrington.
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Water Source: Local Wells
Capacity: 1 Million Litres
Owners: Glenglassaugh Distillery Company Ltd
1960-1986: A Rocky Rebirth.
After decades of silence rebuilding work commenced on Glenglassaugh in 1957. By 1960 production was ready to start again. The capacity of the distillery had been doubled thanks to the installation of two new much larger stills, fitted out with modern tech such as steam coils and condensers. The spirit was produced through these stills in a fairly unchanging way until the distillery was mothballed in 1986, another victim of the 'whisky loch’ of the 1980s.
The character of Glenglassagh is often dictated by sherry, which it was most commonly filled into. It is a muscular and aromatic make with fulsome fruit elements, spice, chocolate and malt complexity. There are many fine bottings of it the majority of which are quite long aged which Glenglassaugh seems to be able to do very well. Casks by Signatory from the late sixties are stunning as are a variety of examples from the independents throughout the seventies. There are some great bourbon matured examples also, in particular the recently released official 1974 'Manager’s Legacy’ cask, a beautiful example of how resinous, herbaceous, fruity and fresh Glenglassaugh can be in the right wood.
2008-Present: Another Rebirth.
After purchasing the distillery for around £5 million work began immediately on restarting production. There was also a sizeable parcel of aged stock bought back from Edrington from which several great bottlings have been drawn since 2008. The most notable is a fantastic 40yo that shows an impressive freshness for such an aged dram with beautifully clean and harmonious sherry character. The owners have also seen fit to release several expressions of their new make spirit. While most of these don’t go much further than curiosity value the quality is distinctive and high so hopefully that will translate into good whisky in the years to come.
Given the level of work it required and the amount of equipment that needed replacing to restart the distillery it seems likely that the whisky they make will probably be quite different to the original Glenglassaugh. Just like when they started again back in 1960. It seems Glenglassaugh is a distillery with a very cyclical nature. I for one am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.