Glengoyne vertical tasting – 4 official bottlings and 1 independent (Malts of Scotland)

While visiting one whisky fair, I have amassed several samples from Glengoyne – all single casks, just different age. All matured in casks that held sherry before. Some are American oak, while others – European oak. Anyway, I say I would expect malts of similar profile as we have same spirit and sherry influence might be predictable. Unique thing is that all bottlings are single cask, so uniqueness of a cask can play it‘s role here. It‘s interesting how Glengoyne is developing during maturation. We have a range from 11 to 21 years. Not huge, but significant lifespan. I will taste them from youngest to oldest, as all are sherried cask strength monsters. My list today: Glengoyne 11 Year Old 2000 Single cask, Glengoyne 12 Year Old 1996 Single cask, Glengoyne 14 year old 1999 (Malts of Scotland bottling), Glengoyne 14 Year Old 1998 Single cask and Glengoyne 21 Year Old 1988 Single cask.

I am starting from youngest and strongest one. Aroma and palate are so intense! Real sherry monster! Full of power and youth. And that nice character of chocolate and dried fruits can withstand any malt in this category. If others will have same power I am afraid I had to start from oldest one. Glengoyne is a gentle malt, completely unpeated, so there is a risk when cask won‘t be so active, we will have much more delicate malt.

Second one might be more gentle – color not so intensive, one year older. Yes, it is – clean one, more reflection to distillate, no overwhelmed by cask character. Just really good replacement when one is tired of peat or sherry monsters.

Third is darkest so far. I am waiting for „chocolate bomb“– such age and color hints me to this expectation. ‚Malts of Scotland‘ – is a really reputable bottled, acclaimed by amateurs and professionals. So that is true – I get chocolate monster and I need a pause. Leather, lots of chocolate and bit of citrus fruits – extreme mix, but is a wonder for genre lovers.

4th has the same age as previous malt. And colors are very similar. I make a pause with plenty of water in hand – third malt gave me almost unlimited finish! Well, we have similar malt, very similar. With notes of leather and chocolate. If a lover of old, very woody cognacs would be interested to go extreme with malt whisky, I would get him try this one.

Oldest and last one for today. With good pause again. So good… it is like wrap up for today – sherried malt notes with lots of elegance – sherry, chocolate notes create nice harmony here, they are mellowed a bit and mature fruitiness comes along very nicely.

It is obvious that active, powerful sherry cask overwhelms delicate whisky spirit and turns it to sherry monster. And times does a lot to mellow it again that whisky spirit can open up and come back. It‘s like with good wine – you need a time when it breaks it‘s tannins shell and gentle fruit can come up. So when you‘re up to looking for a extreme – you don‘t need something old. Just take first fill sherry cask matured malt and you have it. It will mellow with time, other notes will come up. And my experience shows that regular Glengoyne expressions and their single cask releases are so far one from another. I love latter ones – intense, full of flavor. But it‘s had to find them for decent price nowadays while regular expressions aren‘t impressive enough for my taste.