It is from Glasgow that my faithful steed BRADPEAT and I left for the North of Scotland towards the Highlands: destination the GlenGoyne distillery for a discovery.
I'm thinking about it, I haven't introduced you yet! BRADPEAT who will accompany us in our new adventures is none other than my little Volkswagen combi! Blue as the Scottish sky and always blowing up to announce my arrival.
Equipped with all the essential technologies: Glencairn doors to cope with all the impromptu tastings, a bench bed for those who have lasted too long, a supply of bubble wrap for the distillery releases, a cutting board for those who are hungry, a connected car radio for unlimited music (because music is life), pancho for those Scottish days that are too sunny... everything is there.
So it's all backwards and forwards that I went north. This time alone but with the photos of two absent Titi and Steph. Objective of the day: to prove to these two great escogriffes that there are not only Irish Whiskey in life and that there are very beautiful things in Scotland (I'm convinced of it but unfortunately I never had and never will have the opportunity to prove it to them again). In short!
While Eddy Vedder is throwing his Alive in our ears (wink to Brother), less than an hour after my departure, on the roads of the Highlands, I arrive at the village of Dumgoyne.
At the bend on the A81, I am in front of one of the most beautiful distilleries of Scotland. GLENGOYNE (valley of wild geese in Gaelic in the text).
Dominated by the mountain which drains the source of the Dumgoyne Hill, the distillery is right between two fundamental regions of Scotch whisky.
Listen a little bit, the malting air (which we will talk about later) and the storage air are located in the LOWLANDS while the stills are located in the HIGHLANDS (which makes the distillate a HIGHLANDS)! Unusual. In French it is said that the distillery has the most ... between two chairs (but that's not the subject).
So I arrive at the distillery. As soon as I enter I discover the tables of the law of the brand written immutably in the stone of the warehouse n°1: the 6 commandments of GlenGoyne and the team :
- "Peat your barley, you shall not dry! Indeed it is in the natural air (from the Lowlands) that the malt has always been dried here;
- the alcohol vapours will take their time : the stills used here are reputed to be the slowest in Scotland (the distillation is done in two stills which are 1/4 slower than all the others);
- in the Mancha the casks you will always go and fetch: the distillates are in fact only aged in Sherry casks of first filling;
- in the stone will be pampered the casks: it is in the original stone warehouse (where we will do the tasting) that the distillate will peacefully wait;
- only the color of the wood will color you: only natural browns in the glass;
- the age-old and unchanging recipe you will keep. The distillation recipe has been there since 1869.
Here it is written in stone, so there must be something real in this whisky. That's why it's the one I will have chosen to change my friends' habits.
Although the range is quite large (10, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25 and even 30 years old) what better choice than LEGACY Chapter 1. Indeed this new range pays tribute to Cochrane Cartwright, director of the distillery in 1868 (when it was still called Glenguin of Burnfoot) and above all instigator of the slow distillation and ageing in sherry casks!
For the tasting, we will go to the famous warehouse n°1 behind the gates, in the middle of its stone walls and its coloured casks.
So what about our LEGACY SERIES CHAPTER 1
On the colour side, no doubt about it, we are in front of a glass of Oloroso sherry aged whisky in new and old European oak! Its colour is a rather appetizing golden brown.
And what does it give to the nose? Well it is quite different from other GLENGOYNE whiskies and does not present itself directly as a sherry aged whisky. It is greedy like a caramel vanilla cake, sugar and not too much aggressiveness! All sweetness and warmth. Then, it reveals itself and lets its ageing appear with a contribution of ripe orchard fruits (pear, apricots...) and malt. At the third passage at the bottom of this horn of plenty we discover spices which come to tickle the nostrils.
I'm sure it would have made my two whiskey lovers turn their heads!
And in the mouth? First of all, it is quite powerful but not too aggressive. It is slightly bitter. It reveals quite proudly the tastes it has adorned itself with in the cask. It conceals a few bitter almonds hidden in the citrus fruits. And before going down the throat it leaves a cinnamon pod. The palate and the tongue nevertheless remember its passage and a surprising freshness in view of all that the mouth has just discovered.
Precisely when it comes down it leaves notes of spices and a background of liquorice.
So LOWLANDS or HIGHLANDS? I would say that its situation between two can be felt in its dry and light side recognized in a Lowland and its fruity and warm side recognized in a Highland! I would say that ageing in sherry barrels brings the two regions together.
But already it is time to set off again for new adventures! So I meet up with my friend BRADPEAT and I'm back on the road again on the Scottish roads!