Founded in 1875 by Colonel James Moir, the Glenglassaugh Distillery rests on the banks of the Glenglassaugh stream on the crescent of Sandend Bay. That gives the distillery an engaging environment with land, river, and ocean exposure.
“It’s impossible to separate Glenglassaugh the whisky from Glenglassaugh the place. The lush sweetness of this coastal single malt is a complete distillation of its natural surroundings. Its whole essence is created by both the visible and invisible influences of land, sea, air, and spring water.” – Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie
Dr. Rachel is also the Master Blender of two other distilleries: The Glendronach and BenRiach, all owned by Brown-Forman.
Like many distilleries, Glenglassaugh went through ups and downs. Only 18 years after being established, it was sold to Highland Distillers, and shortly after that, it was shuttered for 53 years. The distillery was revived in the 1930s and closed after a few years. Then, in 1960, it was brought back to life for almost three decades but mothballed in 1986. It laid dormant until 2008, when Stuart Nickerson, a former distillery manager for William Grant & Sons, funded in part by the Russian firm Scaent Group, had Glenglassaugh back up and running and turning a profit in only three years! Scaent sold the distillery to The BenRiach Distillery Company, which, in turn, was acquired by Brown-Forman.
Today I have one of those once-in-a-blue-moon experiences: I get to sip on a whisky almost as old as me. Glenglassaugh 46, a single malt Scotch, rested in a single Bourbon cask all those years! It is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and weighs in at 41.7% ABV (83.4°). It is exclusive to the United States market.
I would be remiss (and it would border on being criminal) to not thank Glenglassaugh for providing me with a sample of this Scotch in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: I poured this neat into my Glencairn glass, and the color was that of raw honey. A thick, wavy curtain fell from the medium-width rim.
Nose: As I allowed this whisky to breathe, its perfume filled the air. I smelled dried apricot, plum, starfruit, and milk chocolate. There was also a floral bouquet. The starfruit rolled across my tongue when I drew that air through my lips.
Palate: Glenglassaugh 46 possessed a heavy, creamy texture. A mild oak tannin was joined by cherry and plum on the front of my palate. Midway through, I encountered citrus, starfruit, and milk chocolate. The back had flavors of caramel, a mint kiss, and golden raisin.
Finish: Medium in duration, the finish tasted of cherry, plum, caramel, golden raisin, and starfruit. Surprisingly, there was no oak influence.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As you can well imagine, a whisky this old isn’t inexpensive – it’ll set you back about $4800.00. At the same time, I’ve seen other ancient Scotches priced well beyond that figure. But I won’t consider the value statement because I simply don’t purchase whiskies at this price point. My Bottle, Bar, or Bust rating is based solely on the nose, palate, and finish.
So, what’s the verdict?
After I had jotted down my notes, Mrs. Whiskeyfellow served a steak, and I poured myself another glass. If this was the last whisky I would ever taste, I’d die a happy man. That gives me no option other than a Bottle rating. While I’m clueless about what a dram of this might cost at your local watering hole, if you see it on the shelf or menu, it is well worth the experience. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.
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