Glengoyne Legacy Chapter Three Scotch Whisky

Third in a three-bottle series (Courtesy of the brand)

Since 1883, Glengoyne distillery has proudly claimed the unusual title of the “slowest still in Scotland.” In true Speyside fashion, they produce primarily unpeated whiskies that favor the fruitier and nuttier side of the flavor pendulum. Sherry cask aging plays a significant role, imparting a rich, round, and sweet backbone evident across the brand.

I’ve had the pleasure of sampling several expressions over the past few years, and I’m consistently pleased by their craftsmanship. Glengoyne has a history of not only a well-represented vertical library (10, 12, 15,18, and 25 years) but a long line of limited and special releases. Although considered a mid-priced brand with bottles starting at around $60 USD, their library and specialty expressions are generally considered good values, although you may need to search a bit to find them. That said, some of their uniquely exclusive bottlings are in high demand, commanding collector-level prices.

Their moderately-priced Legacy collection continues their commitment to producing interesting bottlings across the price spectrum, this time paying homage to key figures in Glengoyne’s history. Chapter One celebrates Cochrane Cartwright, an early distillery manager who in 1869 introduced sherry casks to their maturation process. Chapter Two honors Peter Russell, chairman, and founder of Ian McLeod Distillers, which acquired Glengoyne in 2003.

On Monday, March 2, 1908, at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London, the Royal Commission on Whiskey and Other Potable Spirits considered the very definition of “Scotch” whisky. Purists argued that the designation should apply to whiskies made solely of malted barley, while others desired the inclusion of both grain- and malt-based blends. Sir Arthur John Tedder, Glengoyne’s assigned excise tax collector, served as First Witness to the commission. Eventually, the law was settled in favor of the blenders, and the legal concept of blended whiskey was born.

Legacy Series Chapter Three was released in May of 2022 to celebrate Sir Arthur’s role in the Commission and his time stationed at Glengoyne distillery. I was fortunate to receive a sample shortly before Christmas and wanted to share the experience.

Like their 10-year-old standard expression, Chapter Three pours pale gold amid wafting aromas of vanilla, egg custard, pie crust, and warm pecans. Swirling the glass releases notes of honey melon, baked pears, and distant hints of cinnamon, raisins, and, finally, sherry. Flavors start rather mildly- not exactly balanced, but not overwhelmed by any one component. Initially, I noted vanilla custard, prune-danish, apple pie, caramel, and sherry’s tell-tale “band-aid” hints. The mid-swallow releases some winter spices, toffee, milk chocolate, and a touch of white pepper. The finish is short and somewhat non-descript, with the custard, toffee, and sherry most prevalent. There’s a bit of dryness in the aftertaste, followed by echoes of the sherry and a slight citric sourness I didn’t detect earlier. The mouthfeel is lighter- not thin, but lacking weight. Despite being 48% ABV, it’s not excessively hot, but a few drops of water tame completely. The water also softens the overall flavor, resulting in a somewhat indistinct grouping of sherry-derived sweetness and spice, still followed by the citric aftertaste. I’m not sure that I would call this an “off” flavor, but its sits in contrast to the warmer/winter flavors created by the sherry-cask aging.

Glengoyne has a great story, though I’m not sure that Legacy Chapter Three tells it fully. While a decent whisky, I wouldn’t rank it among my favorites, especially given my appreciation for their standard 10- and 12-year-old bottlings. It does offer some positive characteristics, but the jury’s out on the whole package. As always, my best recommendation is to try it yourself; as they say, your mileage may vary.