It’s unlikely that you’re going to be effusive about every single whisky that’s put before you. Indeed, as taste is all a matter of opinion, we’re naturally going to be predisposed to enjoy somethings more than others. Samples are therefore a great way of trying a whisky before committing to buying a whole bottle. You can do this via outlets like Drinks By The Dram, or, even better, find some fellow enthusiasts and get swapping!
Today’s tasting notes come courtesy of such a swap – with the ever affable Vin PF from No Nonsense Whisky. Vin was eager to try the Fujikai 10 year old (it’s truly risible as you can see from our notes here – but it’s still something everyone should try once in their whisky exploration lifetime, and Vin clearly is up for a challenge) for his popular Vblog, so a sample proved to be ideal for this and saved him the expense of £45 for a bottle of utter swill. His review is likewise well worth looking at – poor sod. By return, Vin kindly posted me out Glengoyne Cask Strength Batch #4, a sherried 58.8% beast from the Highland distillery of the same name.
Nose: Fruits in a bakery. Less immediately sherried than I was expecting (having tried other batches). This #4 brings immediate rich toffee along with fruit filled patisserie – apricot flans and orange tarts. Already on the nose there’s some discernible cask spicing in the form of cinnamon and particularly pepper. There’s chocolate here, but lighter milk style rather than dark and back to the bakery again with ginger snaps. The addition of water brings out some interesting orange barley water and sherbet-like qualities.
Taste: Sticking with the fruits. Sweet stewed apples, plums and orange peels. Sherry influence is again less than expected, but does infer chocolate covered raisins. Cask spicing is no dialled up a notch and alongside the pepper is a degree of oak bitterness, which juxtapositions with the sweet flavours nicely. Some light earthiness and pleasant florals at play here now, it’s very drinkable at the high ABV of 58.8% but does come with some bite in the mouth. Water tones down the sweeter fruitier notes and allows the deeper darker sugars to take over it bit, it also adds some sourness in the form of cherries. Overall though, water takes some of the definition away from the top notes.
Finish: Medium to long and spicy – particularly pepper.
Glengoyne Cask Strength Batch #4 is really expressive at 58.8%. It’s particularly fruity with the sherry influence held back just a touch, but whilst animated, it also arrives somewhat hot. I was unable to find the perfect balance of water with this one – it takes away the bite, but at the same time reduces the vigour and fruitiness – which are the defining characteristics of this whisky. Nevertheless, I rather enjoyed this fruity little number and the price vs. quality and ABV are well judged and easy for me to recommend as worth trying.