Taste Review #64 – Glenglassaugh Revival
When we think of a brand name that includes the word revival, many of us may think straight away to the well known GlenDronach 15 Revival, which is a revived recipe due to the initial stock running out and necessitated a gap of three years in the production. Glenglassaugh isn’t a distillery that has the same exposure as GlenDronach, but for most of the past decade has been under the same ownership as Glendronach, firstly as part of a consortium that included Billy Walker and now under the widely known Brown Forman company who also bought the BenRiach distillery at the same time, but perhaps their most famous brand is Jack Daniels whom I think everybody reading this article should be aware of.
Glenglassaugh is a Highland distillery, close to the Morayshire town of Portsoy. Situated at the eastern end of Sandend Bay this gives the whisky a coastal profile. The distillery was constructed in 1875 by a local businessman Colonel James Moir. He owned the distillery until 1892 when it was taken over by Highland distillers. This was prior to one of the most turbulent time in Scotch whisky production when there was a rapid expansion of the industry followed by the Pattinson Crash. Glenglassaugh didn’t close directly because of this, however was mothballed by 1907. During the next 50 years the distillery went through periods of sporadic production until the distillery was rebuilt in 1960. One of the reasons for the sporadic production was that Glenglassaugh was apparently not the easiest malt for blenders to use. Seeing as blends were the majority of the market, when it came to the expanding whisky loch in the mid 1980’s it made for an easy decision to close it in 1986. The distillery sat idle until it was bought by the Scaent Group in 2008.
The distillery initially had a big hole in their inventory, having been silent for over 20 years, but initially released new make (under 3 years old) spirit under the mouthful of a name. Known as “The Spirit Drink That Dare Not Speak Its Name”, this was bottled in 50%, 50CL bottles. The Revival bottling was released in 2012, and by 2013 the distillery came into the hands of Billy Walker albeit only for a short period as by April 2016 Glenglassaugh, BenRiach and GlenDronach had been sold to Brown Forman.
Just slightly to the west, alongside the distillery bonded warehouses sits the remains of an 18th century windmill. This was reportedly built around 1760, but whether or not it played any part in the production of the grist for the distillery is not known, although is unlikely. Glenglassaugh has an enviable location being on the doorstep of a large barley producing area. There is a micro-climate that gives some temperate weather along the Moray Firth coast which allows barley to be grown very successfully.
Region – Highland Age – No Age Statement Strength – 46% Colour Copper
Hint of Charred Oak, but not smokey nor peaty. Buttery caramel, nutty – hint of almond,
Nicely subtle – Creamy, citrus, cherry, plum, milk chocolate.
Very pleasant finish. warming with a hint of oaky spiciness, raisins, honey and caramel linger until the end. Quite a smooth sherry style finish. Some time after when I would have called an end to the finish a brine taste appeared in my mouth.
This was one of the malts where I felt I was going to be let down. I had confused it a bit with the 15 year old GlenDronach and was expecting a similar spirit, so I entered this review with a sunken heart when I studied the label a bit more closely. But then we should know that an age statement isn’t a guide of taste, but only a guide to potential quality and seeing as how it is taste that matters then on this score I needn’t have worried.
What I can tell you is that I really enjoyed this whisky. Disregarding the lack of an age statement, it does all the other things right – 46%, no colouring and non-Chill filtered. It wasn’t one of those drams which attacked with spirit and spice straight away, but was a gentle arrival, pleasant palate and an equally pleasant finish.
This whisky has been the created by marrying red wine casks with bourbon casks, then finished in a sherry cask which definitely comes through in the delicious fruit flavours in the palate and finish. I was a bit let down that I couldn’t get that briny coastal profile in the palate but did appear right at the end of the finish, this being more than adequate to satisfy my senses. While I may not have had enough of a sample to build a relationship with this whisky, I can tell you that I did something unusual compared to what I normally do and had both nips in the bottle on the same night. If somebody was to buy this for me then they would be my new best friend.
While I do not score my whiskies that I review, I would say that this would be a recommended buy, and at around £37 a bottle in your local friendly whisky shop then it is definitely a no brainer. If you don’t like it then send it to me!
Yours in Spirits
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