The second Tiny Review! Supplied by my friend Steve, brought back from his travels to the exotic British Isles (first time that’s been said, I’m sure) and handed over to me for tasting and reviewing and writing up: this is Glengoyne 10y Unpeated Scotch Whisky.
Glengoyne is officially/technically a Highlands scotch, but it has a few unique characteristics that break it away from that pack. Firstly, there is no peat. The malted barley is dried with air, not peat smoke. Why? Well, if you want to taste the grain you’re distilling, peat adds a lot of noise to the flavour that can drown out some of the subtler grain notes. It’s also a pretty good marketing point.
Also interesting is Glengoyne’s geographically disparate distilling & aging. While the whisky is made in the Highlands (granting it that appellation), it is aged in the Lowlands. I’m not sure I really believe the location or terroir of where you age the whisky is going to have that much impact on the taste; it seems at best a subtle difference given all the other much more proximate tastemakers in the whisky process – grain, barrels, columns, etc.
To my half-addled formerly science-based brain, it’s like Glengoyne is half of a very interesting set of minimal pair experiments that could be run to really inform us about what differences in process produce what differences in taste. For example, if this is air-dried malted barley, could we run the whole thing the same way with peated barley and see exactly what the one-to-one difference would be? Further, it would be interesting to age half a batch in the same type of barrels but on the Highlands side of the boundary to see if aging location does affect taste at all. At the very least, it would be pretty delicious science, and any science that could descend into loud singing, carousing and fisticuffs is my kind of critical analysis. But that’s big talk for a tiny bottle, here’s what I thought:
nose – vanilla, milk chocolate, smoke, golden oreo
colour – very very light
neat – very light citrus, smoke, slight rind
finish – rind
Glengoyne 10y Unpeated – 40% – ??? – Highlands
Try it? Yes! Buy it! If you can find it.