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Glengoyne (pronounced: glen-GOYN) is a distillery that struggles at a young age but can shine astonishingly bright at older ages, this is down the lightness of the spirit and the fact that it is unpeated. This is controversial fact, purely for the way that Glengoyne love to point it out. Every bottle states 'untainted by peat smokeâ€™ somewhere on it, clearly a ridiculous and infuriating statement. It is a shame that they feel the need to emphasise this fact in such a childish way. As if the existence of the many (great and arguably better) peated malts in Scotland personally offends them. It is such a shame because Glengoyne is so often a great whisky, one that doesnâ€™t need to draw attention to its assets and greatness in such a clunky way. Whatâ€™s in the bottle often speaks more than clearly enough for itself.
Stills: 1 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Campsie Hills
Capacity: 1.1 Million Litres
Owners: Ian MacLeod Distiller
1967-1975: The Golden Era
Glengoyne was rebuilt in 1967 and had its worm tubs replaced with condensers, new steam heating installed in the stills and, most unusually, a third still was added, an odd setup for any distillery. The best examples of Glengoyne hail from these years. Casks distilled between the late sixties and early seventies are, almost without exception, all fantastic. The biggest hallmark of these bottlings is fruit, lush, intense fruit, exotic, garden, green and white fruits all appear along with some muscular spice, green tea notes, flowers, mushrooms and honey. They are similar in some respects to the best aged Speysiders from this time in terms of their blatant fruitiness but they have a bolder, flintier, more obvious highland edge to them that sets them apart as individuals. There are many wonderful official examples but also some great 1972s by Malts Of Scotland and The Perfect Dram. There are some dark sherry examples as well which, while not so exemplary of distillery character, are wonderfully chocolaty, mineraled, fruity and dense aged sherried drams.
1975-Present: Malt, Cereal And Honey
Glengoyne since the mid seventies has shown itself to be alight highland style malt. Biscuity, grainy, green and malty in youth while developing a muscular maltiness in mid age with oily cereal notes, mature grassiness, honey and spice. The gap between the official 10 and 17 year old bottlings is the best example of how Glengoyne can change quite dramatically between 10 and 20 years of age. Other fine expressions in recent years have been the series of official single casks chosen by distillery workers, they all show a different slant on the distillery character and range from the densest, sweetest PX sherry matured monster, to fulsome, malty and resinous modern highlander in style. There are also a few more independent expressions emerging these days, many of which are excellent.
Glengoyne is under good management these days, they evidently care a great deal about their whisky and it shows in the great cask selection and fine bottlings they have released. Lets hope they can continue with the same energy and consistency in the future. Now if they would only drop that stupid 'untainted by peat smokeâ€™ tagline.