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This was not a whisky I had planned on buying. But when I was browsing a local retailer’s website, I came across a combo deal that I couldn’t pass up. 2 bottles; Glengoyne Cask Strength Batch 001 (700 ml) and Glenfarclas 105 (1L) for CAD $96? Well… um…. Yes. I’ll take it. I already knew and loved the ‘Farclas, but I was more than happy to have a newly released CS ‘Goyne to try out. My experience with them has been a bit hit or miss over the years, but I’m always up for another CS sherry bomb in the cabinet. Aside from the 58.7% abv, I also appreciate the clear and concise “unchill-filtered, no colouring added” printed in big font right at the front of the label.
I’ve been revisiting this bottle for a couple months now… and I LOVE this stuff. Although there’s a lot of people who are unhappy this trend of younger whiskies with higher abv’s being used to replace older releases, I can’t say I’m one of them. For me, this whisky and this particular distillery personify why that shift can be a very, very good thing.
Nose: A powerful nose. Quite tart and zesty, with lemon, ginger, peach, apple pie, sultanas, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, milk chocolate, and tea biscuits. This shows good complexity, and the semi-sour tartness that counterbalances the sherried sweetness works well.
Palate: Good spicy kick right from the start. Peppers and heavy sherried fruits dominate the arrival. The sherry is deeper and richer than the nose suggested. It’s very dry, very red, and very rich. Sultanas, dried apple, marzipan, lemon zest, and charred oak.
Finish: More deep, rich sherry fruits. With the sherry comes an absolutely gorgeous berry sweetness. Red currant, rasperry, blueberry, apricots, sultanas and marmalade. The charred oak continues to dry the mouth, and brings with it waves of vanilla. What a lovely sting this has. The final notes dissipate on lingering butterscotch, cream, milk chocolate, and coffee. The finish is long, complex, and dynamic.
This is a sherry monster; ‘Goyne-style. In my limited experience with Glengoyne, their sherried whiskies carry a certain level of distinctiveness. This whisky has the usual sherry suspects, but it’s tweaked a little bit away from the standard bombs à la ‘Farclas 105 or A’bunadh. Why? First, there’s a strong tartness or zestiness that sets it apart. Second, there’s more of a burnt quality to the oak. The oak in this has a strong, spicy, savory quality that I could compare to a good, high abv bourbon. Third, there’s a jam-like berry sweetness here that really shines.
Overall this is a stunning whisky. I haven’t tried the 17 yet, but I consider this to be vastly superior to the 10 yo and the 21 yo. If the industry continues to move towards NAS CS releases, then this is a prime example of how that should be done. Gorgeous stuff. By far the best Glengoyne I’ve ever had.