Dramming in Scotland 2011 #2 – Glengoyne

by Oliver Klimek on May 10, 2011

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In the immediate surroundings of Glasgow there are two distilleries, Auchentoshan and Glengoyne. I already visited Auchentoshan last year, so it was more or less obvious that I would see Glengoyne now. Mark Connelly of Good Spirits Co. kindly offered me to to take me there in his car. It would not have been much of a problem to get there by bus. But two’s company, so I gladly accepted anyway.

The distillery is located at the foot of Dumgoyne Hill in the northwest of Glasgow, about twenty kilometres from the city centre. After leaving the last suburbs the road leads through the beautiful hilly landscape of the southern Highlands – or is it the northen Lowlands? Things become a little fuzzy when trying to assign Glengoyne to a whisky region. Here the A81 marks the border between the two regions which leads to the tricky situation that the distillery is located in the Highlands and the warehouses in the Lowlands as they are built just across the street.

Anyway, the setting of Glengoyne is truly beautiful. Behind the distillery is a romantic waterfall filling a pond used for collecting the cooling water for the condensers.

The nice location and the proximity to Glasgow of course also result in a high number of visitors to the distillery. To keep up with the increasing flow of tourists, some of the old dunnage warehouses were demolished in favour of a new car park, much to the grief of many fans of the distillery. New racked warehouses were erected instead as a steel construction. I have to agree with the critics that the sight of the new warehouses is not a very pretty one. I can imagine that the management didn’t take the decision to tear down the old warehouses lightly, but of course this move to a certain extent counteracts the emphasis on tradition that had always been a strong point for Glengoyne.

The distillery tour itself – after a welcome dram while watching the introductory video –  is rather straightforward, and there are not really any noteworthy points worth mentioning regarding the production process which is automated to quite some extent. It should be noted though that Glengoyne prides itself on having the slowest trickle of all Scottish spirit stills. They are also quite peculiar about the fact that they only use unpeated malt for their whisky, right up to an “untainted by peat smoke” advertising statement which I frankly find to be somewhat over the top.

With a capacity of slightly more than a million litres of alcohol per year, Glengoyne is one of the smaller distilleries in Scotland. It is currently owned by indenpendent bottler Ian McLeod. The basic range of distillery bottlings comprises 10, 12 (also in cask strength), a7 and 21 year old single malts with sherry cask contribution increasing with age. Single cask and a few limited edition bottlings round off the range.

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