The higher up we go in Glengoyne’s age statements, the more sherry casks are used in the vatting. The proportion of first fill sherry in the 18 year-old is 50%, with 35% coming from European oak and 15% from American. The remaining 50% is from refill casks, without information about their previous contents.
Nose: Oranges and spice, some chocolate (darker than the chocolate notes found in the 12 year-old but not quite ‘dark’ chocolate), cinnamon. Vanilla makes an appearance in the background with the addition of water.
Palate: There’s certainly a more pronounced sherry influence than in younger Glengoynes, but it never overpowers the spirit. Chocolate, stewed fruit, red apples and cinnamon again. Water brings out a grassy side reminiscent of herbal tea.
Finish: Medium, on slightly bitter wood spices.
Comments: Once again, balance is the order of the day for this Glengoyne. It’s a kind of ‘greatest hits’ combination of European and American oak, with the stewed fruit of the former and the vanilla of the latter. It’s useful to remember here that a lot of what we think are the ‘traditional’ sherry notes can be as much a product of the European oak itself as of the previous sherry contents, with American oak being lighter and more vanilla-ed even when it’s held sherry. Giving a score is not very easy – a lot of distilleries go for a light to medium sherried profile for their 18 year-olds, and as such this doesn’t stand out as much as it could, but it is very well-made.