Glengoyne Distiller’s Gold 15 year 40%

One fine evening our original Mumbai tasting group settled down to sample a trio… completely blind followed by the reveal.

We began with a Highland single malt picked up by our host’s father-in-law in Russia.

Glengoyne Distiller’s Gold 15 year 40%

  • Nose – Clear stamp of an ex-Bourbon cask, banana, vanilla, boiled sweets, honey, a bit floral, quite sharp, scented erasers, candied orange, lavender, marigold, like wandering through a garden, bit oily, grapes and wine tannins. After the first sip, the perfume settled down and the spice stepped back too to make way for a more vegetal, honey, caramel, biscuits, something heavier underneath, pumpkin seeds, yeasty
  • Palate – Starts off quite mild, quite thin to the point it almost evaporated, none of the oiliness promised on the nose…. after consideration it had a light to medium body, quite “neutral” in character. Keep sipping and found a light hint of brine, a hint of tobacco or leather, nescafe coffee powder
  • Finish – Began a bit bitter yet a nice bitter, white pepper corn, black raw licorice, mineral, while not long shifted between different elements
  • Water – While it seemed a contradiction given how light we found it, the whisky is quite enjoyable with a bit of water. It rounds it out, particularly if you let it sit for some time. It also then reveals fruits like  green apple.
  • Return – And be rewarded with butterscotch!

What did we think?

There was a familiar quality with a classic approach. We found it quite nice and all shared how it grows on you. Easy to sip and while there were no distinctive qualities that shouted out one particular distillery over another, it was quite pleasant.

For most, the nose was its best quality – enjoying how it would change and evolve. We also found it best to give more time, let it sit – worth the wait.

As we speculated about it, our general conclusion was that it was Scottish, low 40%s, primarily bourbon cask. One suggested it came from “pedigree”.

And the reveal?

What complete surprise! Previous Glengoyne’s had a much heavier sherry influence – it was quite different than what we recalled. We wanted to learn more about the casks used and were surprised to learn it spent six years in a sherry cask? Really? Could it be a 3rd fill…..? The wording on the bottle was a imprecise.

It was originally released only for travel retail, only natural colour.

Official tasting notes for the standard 15 year:

  • Nose: Fresh hay, malt flour, citrus and dried fruit.
  • Mouth Feel: Smooth and clean
  • Initial taste: Clean with a gentle sweetness.
  • Finish: Long with gentle spice and lingering oak.

What else did we sample that evening?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Douglas Laing’s Highland Blend Timorous Beastie 46.8%

With their inventive packaging, having a sense of whimsy, play and days of yore, the “Remarkable Regional Malts” series explores the five different regions of Scotland.

We began with Douglas Laing’s Highland blend …

Timorous Beastie 46.8%

  • Nose – Fruity, yoghurt, an agave-like quality, raw, barley mash, spice, light cream, caramel, baby puke, yeasty, honey sweet
  • Palate – Spice burn, a few remarked “tastes better than it smells”, quite peppery with more alcohol ‘beastie’ than timidity
  • Finish – Sharp, short, bitter

There was a mixed reaction to this one. The agave like aroma was akin to the “morning after an overindulgence of tequila”… Another found this was “something to be used for cleaning like solvent.” Yet another quipped “The rat is there on the label for a reason!”

While not horrifically bad, it was a bit like having peppery tequila.

Here’s what they have to say:

Douglas Laing’s Timorous Beastie, immortalised in Robert Burns’ famous Scots poem “To a Mouse”, was a timid, little field mouse. Echoing our national bard’s wit, ours is most certainly not for the fainthearted! This non coloured, non-chill-filtered Small Batch bottling is a marriage of appropriately aged and selected Highland Malts – including, amongst others, those distilled at Glen Garioch, Dalmore and Glengoyne distilleries.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose – Overridingly sweet on the nose, then warming to floral, light barley & spicy honeyed tones.
  • Palate – The palate opens in a spicy style – fructiferous, mellow, with sugary vanilla.
  • Finish – The finish is at first subtle, but runs to a sweet character that carries an oaky quality plus a late meringue style.

Photo: Nikoulina Berg

What were the other whisky blends explored?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Sherry but… Glengoyne 18 year 43%

Glengoyne is one of those well regarded distilleries with a distinctive sherry berry quality.

Our original Mumbai whisky tasting group has sampled both a 12 and 21 year during sessions I either missed (or missed taking notes). I did encounter a Glengoyne 21 year at an ‘adult whisky evening‘ however it was curiously off, so likely not representative.

For our October session, our host was careful to ensure that while we may have sampled Glengoyne whiskies previously, what we opened that evening would be a different age statement than we had tasted together before.

As usual, we sampled blind before the reveal…

glengoyne-18-year

Glengoyne 18 year 43%

  • Nose – Subdued sherry, strong yet light (yes it sounds like a contradiction but true!), berries, hint of orange cake or apple crisp
  • Palate – Pungent, bitter orange marmalade, decent mouthfeel, good body, smooth, some sweet spice, quite delicious
  • Finish – Nice and pleasant

Overall we found this whisky very accessible, good aromas and gave the impression of being not fully sherry but perhaps a mix of 1st fill sherry with other casks, nicely rounding out the elements so the sherry dimension was not overpowering or too intense. In short, it was sherry but… not. Which worked!

For those of us who drained to the last drop (seemed to be all!), we were impressed by the excellent aromas remaining in the empty Glencairn glass.

For most, this was the whisky of the night!

Here is what the folks at Glengoyne have to say:

Spicy vanilla fruit, ripe apples and a rich, luxurious mouthfeel. This is the result of eighteen long years and a generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks.

  • Nose – Awash with red apple and ripe melon. Heavenly and well rounded, it drifts into hot porridge topped with brown sugar.
  • Taste – Full bodied, round and rich. At first macerated fruits, marzipan and walnuts; then warm spices, dry cocoa and lingering Seville marmalade.
  • Finish – Long, warm and dry.

What was particularly interesting is Glengoyne sharing their cask recipe which is: 

  • 35% 1st Fill European Oak Sherry
  • 15% 1st Fill American Oak Sherry
  • 50% Hand-selected quality Oak Refill casks

What else did we try in our October session?

Related tasting sessions:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Mixing things up – Connemara, Glengoyne, Glenlivet

After more than five years, our original Mumbai whisky tasting group has become known for pushing the boundaries with a focus on discovering new and different whiskies.

We’ve had home-made experiments with aging, phenomenal food pairings, independent bottlers, country specific themes, unique blends and more!

Which meant it was high time to revisit slightly different avatars of well known whiskies, completely blind to avoid the influence of advertising and pre-conceived notions.

glenlivet-connemara-glengoyne

What did we try?

No strangers to these brands, we’ve even previously had a session focused on Glenlivet, a couple of Glengoynes over the years and most have separately sampled Connemara.

What made it interesting is the order…

Traditionally, we would start with the lightest (Glenlivet) then sherry (Glengoyne) and close with a peated whisky (Connemara).

Here we did the exact opposite – peat, sherry, light! With some interesting results.

Related tasting sessions:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: