In a Scotch whisky world dominated by the seemingly polar opposites of intense sherry and intense peat, it’s lovely to find one that can just be Scotch! Whisky distilleries seem to have become lost in a forest of cask experimentation, hoping to cash in on the younger consumers and the latest trends. Fortunately, Glengoyne proves that moderation, in all things, is crucial to happiness!
Glengoyne 12-year-old is their flagship expression, its maturation regimen playing counterpoint to the brand’s propensity for releasing unique bottlings and stylings. Of course, being a product of Ian Macleod Distillers explains that philosophy. As one of the world’s largest private-labeling and bulk blenders, they’re responsible for a nearly unending variation of brands and bottlings.
Glengoyne 12 is a 20-20-60 mix of wood maturation- triple-wood if you will. At 20% ex-fill sherry cask, 20% ex-fill bourbon cask, and 60% refill cask, it’s a pleasant return to a more refined style of Scotch, though it’s anything but simple. In many ways, it’s the ultimate expression of Highland elegance.
It pours a beautiful pale amber and could easily be the poster child for what Scotch should look like! The nose starts with a nicely balanced array of toffee, fresh green apples, hazelnuts, peach cobbler, and a distant hint of sherry barrel spice. Swirling releases more vanilla and caramel notes with almond nougat candy. The sip begins softly with a supple, syrupy mouthfeel becoming lightly oily.
Initial flavors open with notes of toffee, green apples, coconut water, and lemon zest leading to hints of caramel chews, marzipan, and angel’s food cake. The swallow opens with soft sherry notes in the forefront, consisting of a delicate nuttiness and hints of barrel spice, vanilla, and toffee. The finish is warm, moderate in length, and balanced. Sherry notes continue, along with a jammy fruitiness, hints of milk chocolate and coffee, and some Italian leather.
Glengoyne appears to have gone to great lengths to produce a Highland whisky that appeals to the center of the flavor spectrum but with impeccable balance, refinement, and delicacy. If that was their intent, it was successful. If not, it was a happy accident that should bring success and a new wave of discerning Scotch aficionados.