Category Archives: Glengoyne

Glengoyne 25 y.o. Review

Sherry fiends…here you go. This one should be right up your alley. This is what old sherried whisky should be: thick, rich, gooey, complex and multi-faceted. There was a time when this sort of flavor was what I expected from sherry-matured malts. Unfortunately, those days seem to be largely behind us.

Most of what’s hitting the tastebuds nowadays is an anemic facsimile of this beloved old style. The words ‘sherry-seasoned’ have begun to ring as a death-knell for a lot of malts in the eyes of most of my whisky mates. They simply look the other way for decent drams when they see these syllables strung together. There are, of course, great drams out there that fall under this appellation, but the real problem is that they’re being sold at the same sort of price point that old school proper sherry bombs used to sell at. Y’know…the ones matured in gorgeous, ancient bodega butts. The savvy among you will likely immediately see the issue here. The industry always told us that the higher prices levied against sherried whiskies (compared to their bourbon casked cousins) was justified by the price of sherry butts (ten times the price, they’d say!*). So why is that the case now then, when most of what we are seeing are just seasoned hogsheads? Hmmmm.


Glengoyne. The older the expression, the more proper sherry influence. The younger expressions are a mix of bourbon and sherry. Those beyond the 18 are exclusively sherry. The 21…s’ok. The 25, though? Wow. On a rainy day like today I can 100% say that I could happily sip this all evening while the storm rages on outside my window. Beautiful stuff.

And love, love, love the 48% bottling strength.

*A rubbish idea. The cask itself may work out to about ten times the purchase price, but it also holds two and a half times what a bourbon barrel does, so it’s far from a ten to one kinda comparison.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Bucketloads of sherry (for those from eastern Canada: that would a be a ‘shit ton’ in your dialect). Sultanas and figs. Cuban Lunch bars slammed headlong into Eat-More bars. Mincemeat tarts. Lots of nutmeg. Lots of mulling spices. Burnt berry compote. Eucalyptus. Licorice. Treacle toffee. Sticky toffee pudding. Morello cherry. Moist cigar leaf.

Palate: Good, rich, old school sherry. Dumpy and delicious. Great arrival, great structure. Old woods and a bit of furniture polish. Orange oil and rich marmalade. Jammy fruits. Dark chocolate. Spicy fruit cake. Toasted whole grain bread. Coffee liqueur. A decent nuttiness too, bringing a bit of dryness.

Finish: Long, deep and dark. Melted cocoa and some herbal notes. Late tannins. Black tea.

Thoughts: Just some good ol’ well-aged, Oloroso-soaked whisky. Brilliant expression from Glengoyne.


Glengoyne 21 y.o. Review

Glengoyne 21 y.o.Glengoyne_21

43% abv

Score:  83.5/100


The next step along the line in the old (and now obsolete) Glengoyne range.  This was the version from a couple years back (early 2010s, I think), before they snazzed it all up with new packaging and such.  I have tried the newer edition, but only in a festival setting.  Not an ideal venue to assess whisky, of course.  I can say, though, that I was not overly impressed with that one either.

Here we have an ‘interesting’ malt from the Highlands, and one that boasts a very different profile from the younger variants in the range.  Much more pronounced depth of sherry influence.  Emphasis heavily on the ‘much’.  You’ll still find the distillery’s inherent maltiness omnipresent (and almost a distraction), but the swirling depths of ‘dark’ and tangy/sweet notes are quite a game changer.

Having said that…this is still only an ‘ok’ whisky.  Some great individual characteristics, but it never really fires on all cylinders as a cohesive whole.

Nose:  Deep sherry influence.  A little drier and more complex than I expected.  Dusty, mincemeat notes.  Chocolate syrup.  Much cinnamon and a bit of cedar.  Dark breads and sweet molasses raisin cookies.  Neat nose.  Smells younger than 21, I think, but very nice nevertheless.  A mash-up of the spice cupboard and a good cigar.  A squeeze of orange.

Palate:  Maltier than I’d like to see it.  Apples and orange marmalade.  Loud woods now.  Dark chocolate with creamy filling.  Sticky toffee pudding.  Plum skins.  Very drying.  Should be fruitier than it is.

Thoughts:  Nice enough as it is, but this could have been much more impressive at cask strength.  Kinda falls a little flat unfortunately.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Drink Inform

Glengoyne 17 y.o. Review

Glengoyne 17 y.o. glengoyne_17_year_1

43% abv

Score:  79.5/100


Think this one is now long gone, excepting those few bottles still dust-gathering on the shelves out there.  Highly possible, though, that they’re gathering dust for a reason.  Not a great malt from a distillery that I’m having a tough time really getting behind.  Nothing bad from Glengoyne (that I’ve encountered anyway), just nothing good either.  Simply another middling malt from the Highlands.

Pour a glass and the first nosing will have you thinking this just might be one of those affordable grail malts we all hunt for.  First sips, however, will tell you otherwise.  Sigh.  Big disappointment.  Love the nose though!

Nose:  Wow.  I really like this nose.  Very gentle, pleasant and approachable.  Creamy with light butterscotch notes.  Sweet pastries.  A touch of orange and pineapple.  Cookies and a little bit of milk chocolate.  Brilliantly subtle spices.  Restrained wood notes.

Palate:  Man…huge disconnect between nose and palate.  Still malty and nutty like the 10 year.  Slightly salty playdough note.  Some orange now.  Vanilla.  Deeper threads of sherry influence here than the nose belies.  Thin, and tannic.  So disappointing after the intricacies promised by the nose.  In what seems like a theme in the Glengoyne OBs…not a great finish.

Thoughts:  Would benefit enormously from being scored on nose alone, but you know we can’t do that.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:

Glengoyne 10 y.o. Review

Glengoyne 10 y.o.5307

43% abv

Score:  78/100


Glengoyne.  The Highland Lowland malt.  An oddity in the Scotch whisky world wherein the spirit is produced in the Highlands, but matures in the Lowlands.  This has to do with the fact that Glengoyne straddles the regional boundary, with the distillery on one side and the warehouses on the other.  Fun little claim to fame, I suppose, but at the end of the day it is as incidental to the end product as any other regional appellation leveed on a malt.

Even up till now, many folks put far too much weight on a distillery’s regional nomination.  The simplest way I can point out the flaw in this theory is to ask you to blindly tackle a handful of Speysiders and Highlands together and tell me which are which.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Glengoyne is otherwise a fairly unremarkable whisky.  For a while there, in the mid-2000s, there was a bit of a buzz behind the name as the distillery experienced a bit of a renaissance under Ian MacLeod, but fanfare and rumblings do not a great spirit make, and unfortunately…I find myself still underwhelmed by the brand.  Yes…even in it’s older incarnations.  There are certainly some admirable characteristics in the Glengoyne expressions I’ve tried, but the sum never seems to equate to the parts, and balance is key to a great whisky.

I’m a little behind the times in getting to this review, as I believe it has now been replaced with a 12 year old expression, but such is.  I believe you can still find this one out there.

Oh yeah…One other little tidbit that Glengoyne likes to parlay to its advantage: it is “untainted by peat smoke” (their words, not mine).  Hmmm…so what?  Aren’t a whole whack of others as well?  Not sure why this would be a claim to fame.  And…’untainted’?  Like peat is a flaw?  Ummmm….ok.

Nose:  Caramel and malt heavy.  Creamy and raisiny butter tarts.  Gentle orange and shortcakeptype dessert notes.  Brown sugar.  Smells like a bit of a late bloomer.  Not quite grown up enough to be let loose.  Some mildly peppery, and leathery notes if you search deeper and longer.

Palate:  More sherry influence showing here than on the nose.  Cinnamon and dried fruits.  Slightly bitter nuttiness. Still fairly malty.  Apple.  The grains and oak are still miles apart here.  Both infintitely detectable as individuals and no cohesion yet.  Not a great finish.

Thoughts:  Simple and I suppose pleasant enough for anyone wanting a very entry level dram, but this doesn’t havbe much to keep me coming back.  Rather heavy for a 10 y.o. 43%er, I find, but not in a bad way.  Kinda makes me want to see the size and shape of the stills at Glengoyne.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt