We knew that the geographical situation of the GLENGLASSAUGH distillery allowed it to have a certain typicity, but we discover at the turn of a cask that the audacity of Rachel BARRIE allows the distillery to produce atypical distillates.
Indeed, the distillery is located on the border between Speyside and the Highlands, wedged between the Knock Hill and the fine sandy beaches of the north of Scotland, which I will stop my faithful BRAD PEAT today. Here they produce authentic single malts with light and very slightly marine aromas, in the old-fashioned way without the slightest bit of computer technology.
The GLENGLASSAUGH distillery, which has known a hectic life since the first drops coming out of the stills at the end of the 19th century, successive closures and reopenings, hides a few nuggets in the shade of its ruined mill. Barrels left in the cooler by the successive owners who give birth to 30, 40 and even 51 year old barrels (and even other old branches at the independent bottlers) ... perhaps one day in tasting on this site?
The distillery of the BROWN FORMAN group also proposes a Rare Cask Release range which will interest us today with the one of the cask n°529.
When you are called PEATDREAM and you deal with Rachel Barrie, and her experience at BOWMORE, you can imagine that you will turn to some peaty versions.
Also, it is to the few barrels containing a distillate produced from peated barley that we will be making a tour today. We have already had the opportunity to taste the TORFA at a previous tasting. But the version we are going to taste is quite atypical. A distillate produced in May 2012 from barley close to 20 ppm (estimation because the measurement of phenol particles is not in the distillery's habits) and left 7 years in a hogshead cask (250 liters) having contained Californian red wine (Americans make wine ?? a bit of chauvinism editor's note ! ). Atypical and quite common, isn't it?
So how's it look?
Even before tasting it looks exceptional because it has been produced in 246 bottles (and is only sold by the Comptoir Irlandais shops) and is presented naked in its original form in its original cask at 57.3% of the volume.
So as far as its colour is concerned (since it has been aged in wine casks), it is rather dark gold with a very slight amber hue. Its colour being announced as natural one can thus find there the influence of the barrel of red wine (over a short period of time).
As is often the case, the three passages of the nose will in turn reveal the aromas:
The first passage reveals itself purely GLENGLASSAUGH with floral and fruity notes all in lightness. Here we approach a white peach. In the glass you can almost feel the marine freshness of Sanded Bay.
The second passage will reveal the peat which, as announced, is intended to be light. Moreover, a drop in the palm of the hand will reveal it in a much more marked way accompanied by beautiful barley aromas.
The third and last passage will be much more atypical because it will be more pastry and mellow bringing with it a real warmth of ripe fruit.
Watch out for the brass band coming.
The nose is a bit like on a bunker in Sanded Bay, the calm before the storm.
It's raging in the mouth. No sooner has the distillate made its entrance than it explodes, the roars of the 57% show up. That's the explosion. The spices invade every part of the mouth. After a second, a hint of the primer, certainly linked to the wine cask, dries the tongue. But the spices return to attack the tip of the tongue. What a beautiful power. Then by keeping it in the mouth, it will round out and be appreciated like the juice of a ripe melon. But beware, always stronger than the others, the spices come back to the palate with the spiciness of the pepper to transform this sugar into sweet peat smoke.
When you decide to swallow it, the memory that will remain in your throat for a long time will be that of a stick of liquorice and an aniseed star. The memory won't be only in the throat, however, as a lightly prepared sugar in the mouth accompanied by a gentle roasting effect.
I think this experience is quite successful, and it leaves a nice impression of rarity because with only less than 250 bottles and a price that is still quite correct, it allows you to touch something atypical and original without leaving all its purse. Hurry to the Comptoirs Irlandais, there won't be enough for everyone.