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Glenglassaugh: A Distillery Reborn!

by Oliver Klimek on March 27, 2011

This was was the title of a masterclass held by distillery manager Graham Eunson at the Finest Spirits 2011 Festival in Munich.

Even though five drams were served in total and the lineup included some very interesting drams, the masterclass was not so much about the whisky of Glenglassaugh. The focus was very much on the history of the distillery and espcially the ressurrection of Glenglassaugh after a very long period of being mothballed. Well, in fact “mothballed” isn’t quite the proper word for the state the distillery was in when The Scaent Group bought it in 2008.

Graham Eunson showed a very impressive presentation of the Herculean work that was necessary to bring the distillery back to life. Interspersed were a few words about the whiskies that could be tasted by the audience. I have to say that I was very impressed with the presentation as well as with the drams. But to some of the German audience members Graham’s pronounced Scottish accent seemed to pose some difficulties to properly understand what he said.

Dram #1: Glenglassaugh Clearac

50%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Clear
Nose: Pear, plum eau de vie, slight notes of porridge.
Palate: A strong attack of apples and pears is followed by more gentle custard and caramel.
Finish: Long and fruity.
Overall: It is “only” newmake, but it’s a very good one. Very fruity without any “off” notes.

Rating: 73/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money $$$$$

Buy Glenglassaugh Clearac at The Whisky Exchange

Dram #2: Glenglassaugh 26 yo

46%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Bright amber
Nose: Toffee, dates, dried apricots, pineapple, hints of coconut.
Palate: Prunes, mixed fruit cocktail, honey, very mild spices.
Finish: Long and fruity.
Overall: A very pleasant malt with strong fruity flavours and almost no detectable wood influence.

Rating: 86/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money $$$$$

Buy Glenglassaugh 26 at The Whisky Exchange

Dram #3: Glenglassaugh Manager’s Legacy No. 2

Dod Cameron 1986 – Refill sherry butt – 45.3%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Dark amber
Nose: Plums, banana, burnt sugar, cloves, hints of nutmeg.
Palate: Plums, orange marmalade, cloves, hints of pepper.
Finish: Long and fruity and spicy.
Overall: This single cask bottling displays a great balance between fruit and spice. A complex and thoroughly enjoyable dram.

Rating: 87/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money $$$$$

Dram #4: Glenglassaugh Manager’s Legacy No. 4

Walter Grant 1967 – Refill sherry hogshead – 40.4%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Chestnut
Nose: Any fruit you can imagine, vanilla, hints of liquorice.
Palate: Rich fruit salad, tea, hints of fresh herbs and liquorice.
Finish: Very long and fruity.
Overall: This exceptional malt can only be described as a fruit bomb with an incredible density of flavours. Your wallet might be less happy about this dram, though.

Rating: 90/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money $$$$$

Dram #5: Glenglassaugh Peated Spirit

“Mystery Dram” – Aged for 14 months in a new wood octave cask – Not bottled – 62.3%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Dark straw
Nose: Pears with bacon, vanilla, hints of liquorice and ginger.
Palate: Peat, pears and pepper, vanilla, ginger and a hint of lemon.
Finish: Long, dry, smoky and fruity.
Overall: The small octave cask has turned the newmake almost into whisky in only 14 months. Especially the nose is still rather immature, but this has the potential to become a cracking dram.

Rating: 80/100 – No price information because this is a cask sample not on sale.

Let me close with the only bit of criticism I have about this masterclass. Serving the peated spirit as “mystery dram” at the end of the tasting was not a very good idea. The stunning “Walter Grant” was the definite star of the show. As interesting a dram as it was, the “Peaty Octave” was too much of an anticlimax. Luckily I was carrying sample bottles with me, so I decided to pour it into one of them for later tasting. This saved the truly remarkable whisky from 1967 from being deprived of the attention it deserved.

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