Glengoyne Distillers Gold 15 years

"A good example for a nosing whisky, this should have been bottled at higher strength"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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The Distillers Gold was released in 2012 to honour Cochrane Cartwright, the first distiller at Glengoyne. It was originally released as a travel retail exclusive, which means that after a while it still ends up in most retail stores outside airports, and was mostly matured in sherry casks, although the colour suggests less active casks or more spirit matured in bourbon casks. Cochrane Cartwright became distillery manager in 1869 and served for 30 years before he drowned the distillery loch. He started the use of sherry casks for maturing Glengoyne’s spirit in a time when sherry was still hugely popular in the UK. Recently, Chapter One of a new series of releases came out, also focussing on Cochrane Cartwright’s style, which I reviewed here. Remarkably both that and the subject of today’s review represent a much lighter style of sherry influence, which makes me wonder if the original style was much less focussed on the sherry and more on the spirit.

Nose

Again the sulphur is slightly disturbing the first moments, but here the cake-y side manages to come through much better. Fresh raisins, red berry compote, raisin cake followed by lemon cake, peach and liquorice. This is much fruitier with orange juice, more orange cake, orange-flavoured sticky sweets, orange-flavoured sugar (does that exist?) and peach-flavoured water that nowadays is available in every supermarket. The rubbery side stays in the background, which makes it not completely comfortable, and more cake arrives. There is also a certain sharpnes on the nose, despite the 40% and 15 years of maturation.

Taste

Rather calm with dry cake and hints of Madeira wine. In fact, it is incredibly dry. More cake, butter, cream milk. It does indeed get much creamier, which is nice. Many oranges, a hint of grapefruit juice, with sugar, while the palate does tend to become a little bit watery. There is also some bubblegum in the background. The aftertaste is also pretty short with orange sweets, and fresh notes of lemon juice. Also drying, more cake, this time cinnamon cake, and a hint of coffee.

Overall

Overall it is a very pleasant dram, in particular for me because the sulphur notes are much less present compared to the cask strength version of Glengoyne. The nose is good and balance, but the palate is where it become slightly weak. Another case of “why bottle it at 40% when that is clearly not the best strength?”. We all know that it was not the master distiller who had the final say in this. Maybe they need to drink more good whisky at the marketing department?

What others say

Whiskybase: 81.78 (40 votes)
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
40%
Sweet <-> Spicy
45%
  • Cake
  • Oranges
  • Dry Madeira
Nose 84%
Taste 80%
Balance 82%
Depth 81%
Finish 82%
Score