Whisky Review #55: Glengoyne 25 Years Old

Glengoyne may not be a big distillery (their annual production capacity is approximately 1.1 million litres) and it may not be as well known as some of its peers, but what it lacks in terms of mainstream awareness it more than makes up in terms of the sheer quality of their product.

The distillery was founded in 1833 as Burnfoot distillery by the Edmonstone family and remained under their ownership until 1876, when it was purchased by Alexander and Gavin Lang of Lang Brothers, who were blenders of some repute.

The brothers changed the name of the distillery from Burnfoot to Glenguin the same year before changing it once more in 1905 to Glengoyne and it remained under their control until 1965, when Robertson & Baxter (who are better known these days as The Edrington Group) purchased Lang Brothers and the distilleries under their control.

The brand has historically been used for the production of blended whiskies and is known to be one of the components within Johnnie Walker Red Label (although one would do well to not hold that against them) as well as other blends.

It was only in 2003 when Ian MacLeod Distillers took over the distillery and the Langs brand that Glengoyne began receiving the attention that it definitely deserved and the new owners proceeded to release a plethora of bottlings in order to showcase the quality of the casks within the warehouses.

This brought along an established core range of whiskies which includes a Cask Strength expression with no age statement as well as 10, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 25 Years Old expressions which have all been matured in a mix of first and second-fill sherry butts. The distillery has also released a very limited quantity of 35 Years Old Glengoyne and only 500 decanters are available.

The focus of today’s review is the Glengoyne 25 Years Old, which was released by the distillery in 2014 and is made from first-fill sherry butts and bottled at 48% abv.

I tried this dram during the Glengoyne Masterclass held by The Single Cask in early May and it was one of five whiskies which we were treated to by Ian MacLeod’s Asia Area Director, Mr Jonathan Scott.

So, let’s get on with the review!

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Glengoyne 25 Years Old

Glengoyne 25 Years Old (48% abv)

Colour: Rosewood

Nose: Initial entry presents an intense sherried note and the nose is resplendent with berry compote, stewed red apples and oranges. Honey, cinnamon, lavender and cigar smoke make an appearance after some time and add a higher level of complexity to this dram.

There is a grassy note coupled with a slight alcohol burn, but the sherried and fruit notes are the dominant aspects within this dram. (23/25)

Palate: Sweet, fruity and rich, with sherry and a veritable fruit basket of orange, red apples, apricots and berries apparent along with a variety of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Icing sugar, chewy malt, oak and leather also emerge towards the end, giving this dram a very sophisticated and enjoyable feel. Just a whisp of cigar smoke at the very end. (23/25)

Finish: Long, lingering and rich finish, with the stewed apples, sherry and wood spices dominant to the very end. Tobacco pouch, cigar smoke and surprisingly, nougat, make an appearance along the way. A very impressive final flourish! (23/25)

Balance: An exceptionally well balanced and very more-ish dram that is beautifully poised and possesses an impressive range of flavours. The mouthfeel is oily for the most part but does get slightly drying towards the end. Utterly delicious. (24/25)

Rating: 93/100

For those who have tried and enjoyed the Glengoyne 21 Years Old, this one would represent another level entirely in comparison to that dram and considering how good the 21 is, that is saying something.

The Glengoyne 25 Years Old can be purchased by the dram at The Single Cask for a rather pricey $110 (with an additional 10% service charge levied), but considering that it is a 40ml pour, it is definitely worth going for.

Until the next review, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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