Glengoyne 25 Scotch Whisky

Glengoyne 25 Scotch Whisky (Photo by the brand)

Slowest Stills

Having the slowest stills in Scotland may not be the sexiest slogan for a Scotch whisky brand, but it exemplifies the care and intention that goes into a bottle of Glengoyne Scotch. After all, they’ve been around since 1833, so they clearly know a thing or two about making whisky. Or, in this case, three whiskies! I’m referring, of course, to Glengoyne’s trio of lusciously well-aged library expressions I recently had the pleasure of sampling. Glengoyne may not be a household name, but it should be. Sitting squarely in the heart of the highlands, Glengoyne makes what I’d consider textbook highland-styled Scotch – fruity, rich, and full-bodied, compliments of minimal (read “no) peat and classic sherry finishing. This trio of 15, 21, and 25-year-olds is no exception. These expressions are obviously related to Glengoyne’s flagship 12-year-old, exhibiting a unifying “Glengoyne” theme – a style and flavor profile that runs through the line. This connection is both satisfying and reassuring, knowing there’s consistency. It’s comforting I can count on the brand, especially when ordering at a bar or restaurant.

Glengoyne 15

The 15-year-old, the most recent addition to my growing Glengoyne lineup, starts maturation in ex-fill bourbon casks and finishes in both first-fill bourbon and sherry barrels. And, like many sherry-finished whiskies, this one exhibits the typical big fruit and spice profile you’d expect. Pouring golden amber into the glass, the quaff exudes a heady aroma of baked pies, cinnamon, melty caramel, nutmeg, almond toffee, and figgy hamantaschen. The nose is quite intense, extending to a fat and full mouthfeel. The impression is drier than expected but still sweet, like salted caramel, with notes of cooked peach cobbler, allspice, dried apple, and macadamias. There are also hints of lemonheads, cooked cereals, malt, and more spice. The finish is long and luxurious.

Glengoyne 21

The 21-year-old is like an old, comfy leather chair. The aroma is redolent of raisins and old polish, with intense spice backed by baked pears and apple cobbler. A bit hotter on the tongue, the sherry and spice character is more intense than the 15, exuding a strong sense of age and grace. The astringent mouthfeel leads to a fatness backed by burnt molasses, lemon, caramel sauce, and hints of black pepper. The sherry is more prevalent up front, with backing notes of prunes, sweet barley, Christmas spices, and more sherry. The finish is intensely warm and long. Cascades or dark chocolate, coffee, and rum cake, trailed by fig pudding, chilis, and a touch of cardamom.

Glengoyne 25

The third sample, and superstar of the bunch, is the 25-year-old. This dram takes the goodness of the 15 and 21 and ramps it up a hundred-fold. The nose exhibits waves of creamy and sweet sherry, with intense vanilla, chocolate, and rum raisin leading the charge. Treacle, vanilla chews, and spice roll across the tongue backed by a round and juicy sense like melting butter and dark caramel sauce. Alternating layers of orchard fruit, sweet pastry dough, and fig Danish lead to more subtle notes of black coffee, hazelnuts, and burnt sugar, and like the younger versions, there’s a hint of sweet lemon cookies lurking in the background. This expression has the longest finish of the three, like a luxurious nap in a favored chair where you’re just at the point of, but not quite falling asleep. As the flavors slowly fade, lingering hints of cracked black pepper, eucalyptus trees, and chocolate factory waft in the distance.

Consistent Themes

The Glengoyne “flavor” is evident across their expression, each successively older version intensifying the overall effect. If there’s one main takeaway from my experience with these whiskies, it’s that Glengoyne is consistent and reliable. You can be sure that if Glengoyne is an available option, it will be a worthwhile dram. Coupled with its relative affordability, especially when compared to similar but perhaps more recognizable names in similar age ranges, it’s quite stunning.

Glengoyne continuously impresses me, cementing its name on my list of personal favorites. I can’t recommend it enough. If you appreciate a terrific Highland Scotch, especially one with notable sherry influence, Glengoyne will make you one happy camper, fisherman, photographer, musician, or whatever you enjoy doing with a good glass of Scotch!