I recently began a discussion concerning sherried whiskies. As always, my fellow connosr members were very helpful, and replied with no shortage of wonderful suggestions and ideas. Among the many distilleries recommended was Glengoyne. I hadn’t sampled anything from Glengoyne before, so my interest was piqued. Soon after, I came across a friend who happened to have a bottle of the 21 yo on hand, so I jumped at the chance to try it. The bottle was ¾ full, and had been open for no more than two months.
Nose: Big sherry, big chocolate, big treacle. Rich, layered spices, with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, demerera sugar and allspice. Berries, apples, faint floral/brandy notes. This is a fantastic, deep, rich nose with beautiful sherry spices.
Palate: Somewhat oily, with a generally medium mouthfeel. The arrival of the flavours is very gradual. There are indeed some strong dried fruit notes in here, but the sherry influence takes a back seat to the oaky spiciness. The spices are dominated by ginger, pepper, and nutmeg, with very drying and spicy that seems to dominate here. The sweetness on the palate is subdued by a strong wood/bitter note.
Finish: Continued oaky, spicy, bitterness. Quite salty. Chocolate, raisins, salted almonds, and a hint plum. And there’s that floral brandy note again. The flavours linger, but quickly lose intensity throughout the medium finish.
This whisky is unique, but I wasn’t charmed by it. On one hand, it’s got so many features that I like. Beautiful, layered spices, not overly sweet, some lovely sherried notes, and something of a floral character. It’s very rich and quite complex. On the other hand, I feel that there’s a definitive lack of balance. The nose is fabulous, and my favorite part of the whisky. The arrival is strangely gradual and the finish strangely abrupt, which I found off-putting. And I felt a bit disappointed that the oaky bitterness quickly overwhelmed the sherry fruitiness that the nose had promised. Is this whisky over-oaked? I think so.
This is good, but it’s not great. As this is my first Glengoyne, I’m not ready to dismiss the distillery as a whole. It’s clear to me that there’s quality here, but I think that I might prefer a younger expression.