Playing it safe

Posted 19 September 2018 by Matt / In Glengoyne
The Dramble reviews Glengoyne 18 year old

Bottle Name: Glengoyne 18 year old

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Glengoyne
Region: Highlands

Glengoyne 18 year old was launched in 2012 alongside a new 15 year old. Their introductions consigned the previous 17 year old to the archives, but opened up the distillery’s age statement range further. There’s now an expansive selection of core range sherried whiskies running from 10 through to 30 years of age.

Like it’s predecessor, Glengoyne 18 year old is matured in 1st fill and refill sherry casks. It’s delivered at 43% ABV and costs around £75 in the UK.

Nose: Plenty of fresh vibrant sherry here - mandarin, nectarine, scattered dried berries and Battenberg cake (just the gentle suggestion of marzipan). Nutty biscuitiness runs throughout - gingernuts and chocolate digestives (must be afternoon tea time). Resting proves a worthwhile endeavour here - apricots, spearmint, glacier cherries and some chocolate nibs. A dash of water pronounces sugars - toffee and fudge and baked apples.

Taste: Part oily, part creamy - just slightly underpowered for my personal liking. Sweet caramel, chocolate sauce and walnuts (all sherry-forward flavours) are pared back by a fizz of lemon sherbet and a tingle of pepperiness that steadily builds into the mid-palate. Supporting - vanilla pods, coffee beans (perhaps Monsooned Malabar - air dried next to the sea for the gentlest touch of salinity). In the back palate, chocolate receives a pick me up in the form of chilli, and both wood polish and earthiness reveal themselves. Reduced, there’s less spiciness, but also less overall impact - particularly on the arrival.

Finish: A longish medium, quite drying, oaky and bitterly spiced.

Glengoyne 18 year old offers sherry lovers something of a restrained and relaxed dip into the sweeter side of things. This is a refreshing and lively dram rather than a cavernous sherrybomb. The nose is exceptionally inviting here, it’s therefore a shame that the back palate and finish don’t quite manage to maintain the same level of poise. Water helps with balancing, but as a result seriously diminishes the definition elsewhere. I rarely yearn for bottlings to receive an ABV bump, but this is one where I’d welcome an extra 3% to help some of the delicate top-notes stand up against the sherry cask spicing. Nevertheless, tasty, certainly well-made, and far from unreasonably priced.

Score: 84/100

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