One thing that’s very clear from the latest releases by BenRiach is that Whisky Maker Rachel Barrie is taking the idea of creating core expressions for her distilleries very seriously, and with Glenglassaugh it seems that the search is on. In an interview for Scotchwhisky.com, she said that:
what’s amazed me about Glenglassaugh is that it is playing a beautiful tone off the still – so mellow, like a woodwind section. It’s got top notes like the flute and oily bass notes that carry it through. Glenglassaugh has the best design of warehouse because the air doesn’t change very often. It is quite a temperate environment and best for a mellow maturation. With the taller warehouses, you can find the casks at the top can get a bit spicy because they get more extremes in temperature. There are no extreme forces at Glenglassaugh; just slow and steady, mellow maturation. This is how you want to spend your life. A nice even pace.
So as time goes on, we’ll be seeing some permanent additions to the paltry core range offered now by the distillery, which have so far failed to capture the imagination of the whisky drinking crowd. However, now the distillery released four wood finishes (two of them peated, and two unpeated) and it seems that the search is on for the permanent style of the distillery.
The four new wood finished expressions are Port Wood Finish, a Peated Port Wood Finish, a Pedro Ximinez Sherry Wood Finish and a Peated Virgin Oak Wood Finish.
Glenglassaugh Peated Port Wood Finish (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: New copper, slow legs.
Nose: Mineraly malt, light citrus notes with a clear presence of brine. The peat is definitely there, with berries.
Palate: Malty, floral, sweet and dry with a light hint of a very concentrated sweetness, not quite like honey, but maybe more like condensed milk (without the lactose) and sugar barley. While you definitely get the peat, it’s not overbearing.
Linger: Oranges and peat, dry and almost chalky, with a lingering sweetness on the inside of the cheeks.
Strangely, or maybe not so strangely given Rachel Barrie’s thoughts on Glenglassaugh, this expression edges out the GlenDronach Peated Port (see here), despite being clearly finished in the same Ruby Port casks. The two expressions are close, extremely close, but the Glenglassaugh edges out the GlenDronach thanks to the slightly more complex nature it has. In fact, I’d just do away with the GlenDronach and put this one in front, which is sure to give the marketing department a stroke 😉