Time for a series of Glengoyne reviews, and what better place to start than the 12 year-old? Glengoyne is one of my favourite distilleries, both because the whisky is delicious and because it’s a great place to visit. Yes, it’s a bit touristy (especially given its proximity to Glasgow), but there’s always a warm welcome, the tours are great, and of course it’s a beautiful place. There’s a lot of readily available information about the maturation of the Glengoyne range: the 12 year-old was aged in 20% first-fill European oak sherry casks, 20% first-fill bourbon casks, and 60% refill casks.
Nose: Honey for sure, a little bit of vanilla and milk chocolate. Water brings out the bourbon cask notes more – the vanilla is stronger, and it also becomes fruitier (apples, tinned peaches) and more floral, with some honeysuckle. This is quite a complex nose that rivals many an older whisky.
Palate: Good arrival, the 43% strength works very well. Sweet apples and all sorts of light chocolate and caramel notes – millionaire’s shortbread and mars bar spring to mind. A malty, cereally side comes to the fore with the addition of water, but there’s always a balance with the fruity and sweet notes.
Finish: Perhaps a tad short, but with a great sweet/sour balance.
Comments: This is without a doubt one of the best entry-level expressions around. It manages to be to be both straightforwardly pleasant and complex, and there aren’t many affordable single malts in the market that do the same thing.