Glengoyne’s higher end tours offer visitors the opportunity to enter the distillery’s No.1 bonded warehouse and draw a dram using a copper dog directly from either an ex-bourbon cask (somewhat unusual given Glengoyne’s focus on sherry) or a more typical sherry puncheon. Following a relaxed sampling in the distillery manager’s house, you can bottle either (or both from an additional £50) in a 20cl bottle to take home with you. A particularly fun memory to take away from your time at the attractive distillery.
The current No.1 Warehouse puncheon (as of last week!) is cask #560 which is a 17 year old that’s been maturing in oloroso since 2002. The ABV (which no doubt needs to be re-measured periodically) is 58.5%. £50 for a 20cl seems quite high (and likely you’re paying pretty much the same price, possibly even relatively more when you factor out the tour cost). It equates to £6.25 per 25ml dram.
Nose: Fullsome ripe and fresh sherry – apple crumble, plums and dates alongside dried berries and glace cherries. Bright toasted cereals push through the top note fruits and bring with them sheened leather and cedarwood – aromatic and with gentle ginger spicing. Running throughout, a rich bed of butterscotch sauce and a scattering of pan toasted almond flakes. Reduction introduces a sense of leafiness with fir cones, alongside additional sweetness from Battenberg cake.
Taste: A big and robust arrival that reinforces the high ABV. Red apples coated in fairground toffee sit with a combination of freshly picked red berries, dried berries and stewed berries – reduced down to a jammy consistency, but still packed full of vibrant juiciness. Burnt butter and walnut nuttiness is joined by marzipan whilst orange liqueurs are livened by a sponge cake which has sat in the over just a little bit too long. Spicing is much more piquant now with nutmeg and cinnamon mixed with a spoon full of cocoa powder. The addition of water transforms the texture from high viscosity down to silkiness – at 58.5% there’s some room to manoeuvre here. Baked brioche and cream buns are sweetened by soft fudge, whilst an array of raspberry, cranberry and blackberry preserves are served on the side.
Finish: Quite long and favouring chocolate – melted and ground – with an accompaniment of gentle white pepper and drying oakiness.
This warehouse dram offers an insight into the modern archetypal Glengoyne maturation – apple at its core (pun intended) topped with fresh, fruity and penetratingly robust sherry. The puncheon cask size suits this character, offering plenty of influence from the precursor liquid, but keeping the oak levels well in check. Opulent, full-bodied and exceedingly delicious – whether you like this straight out of the cask, or reduced down to a more manageable ABV, it’s cracking either way.
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