This venerable version of Glengoyne’s 10 year old hails from the early 1980’s and is described as a Pure Malt. I estimate its bottling date as between 1982 and 1985 – roughly around the time when the distillery (under Edrington’s management) were commemorating their whisky being first bottled at 10 years of age. Prior to this, the only other age-statement bottling I can find from the distillery is the Glengoyne Malt Black Label 8 year old from 1973 – produced when Lang Bros and Robert & Baxter Group had yet to merge and morph into the modern day Edrington.
The 10 year old Pure Malt, like its modern day incarnation is bottled at 40% ABV. No information is available as to the cask composition of the expression – though there’s no reason not to expect sherry influence here – the style has been heavily utilised by Edrington for decades, and latterly, owners Ian Macleod have maintained this tradition across all modern bottlings of Glengoyne.
Nose: Rather tight and restricted out of the bottle – resting is simply essential here (and frankly to be expected given the provenance). 10 minutes later and it’s a different ballpark. Highly polished honey – sweet, but sharp and cuttingly metallic. Soft sherry influence with cola cubes, steeped raisins, sponge cake, bread and butter pudding and hot cross buns. Set against these pleasant aromas is a prevalent and strident spirit that’s quite acrid under the surface and has an odd boozy chalkiness.
Taste: There’s certainly some OBE here with artificial pineapple flavoured dunnage floors – but, similarly to the nose, resting allows this (not unpleasant to my taste) flavour to dissipate. The spirit has good body and texture for 40% - almost remarkably so with oils and viscosity a plenty. However the flavour combinations are quite peculiar – Malty cereals and stale honey with copper pipes, steel polish and wire wool – fruitiness explodes in the mid-palate – apples, dried apricots and mangos, but turns immediately sour and mouth-dryingly tannic. In the background, an almost vinegary woodiness is joined by white pepper, wet dunnage floors and peeling wallpaper.
Finish: Very short, but with a better sweet vs. sour balance and gentle herbalness of chopped mint, cut grass and anise.
This 80’s bottling of Glengoyne 10 year old is an odd duck. It’s certainly seen better days as there’s been a modicum of oxygen ingress causing some residue OBE – however, given the fill-level (and the OBE’s relatively quick dissipation), I don’t believe it’s tainted the bottle overly. Regardless, I can only present and describe what’s in front of me!
The overall profile for this Pure Malt is one of confusion – strange combinations of sweet sugars, soured fruits and machine-grade metals. In all honesty, it’s quite exciting to explore, but sadly not actually all that pleasant to enjoy. There’s little balance here, and whilst some of the polished aged-notes tick boxes (and give the impression of more maturity than 10 years of age), they’re never integrated into the whole experience. Lots of interesting things, all fighting for attention and but never greater than the sum of its disparate parts. Of historical interest only.