Glenglassaugh. Highland distillery right on the beach.
Glenglassaugh. What a beautiful location. This is my first distillery besides Oban that is right on the ocean front. This place is located on the dirt path road that leads right to a private beach. You can still see the old military barracks on the beach. I must say, having a few drams and then walking down the beach with my feet in the ocean was not a bad way to end this day. Although, most of you have probably never heard of Glenglassaugh. They are part of that group with BenRiach and Glen Dronach that were recently bought as a group by Brown Forman in America. It is probably one of the most north-easterly distilleries in Scotland. When I walked into the gift shop, the tour guide working already knew me! He had been helping out at Glen Dronach the previous week. Looks like I am making quite a name for myself around here!
Glenglassaugh has a rocky history. They were closed for 22 years, which means their range of bottlings are either really young or really old. It is hard to come back from such a long stop on production. They are known for their sherry casks which I was told brings mostly German tourists. Apparently Germans tend to be partial to the sherry cask aged whisky. I will be honest, that although it is located right next to the ocean, it is not the prettiest distillery I have ever seen. It has a mix of 1880’s stone buildings, which are eclectic for the whisky industry and very nice, but they also expanded their facilities in the 1960’s. I didn’t realize this but the 60’s were not a classic style time. You will see in the pictures below the aesthetic's of the new buildings don’t look nice at all.
They have a mixed half copper/half steel mash ton with 6 washbacks just down the hall. Four of the washbacks are Oregon pine and the other two are stainless steel. As the Oregon pine’s need to be replaced they will all be going to stainless steel. Although, they are lucky to not have all stainless steel washbacks. Apparently when the place was mothballed, Edrington, the then current owners in the 2000’s, made the decision to periodically fill the washbacks with water. This helped prevent drying out and cracking. They run their fermentation's for about 54 hours and use blades/arms to keep the yeast bubbling to a minimum. They only have a pair of stills that are now heated by gas, but you could see where they used to shovel the coal into the brick fire pit.
They are also unique in that they send all of their pot ale and spent leeds out to sea. Apparently it has been deemed a low enough alcohol to be sent to the ocean. This is also why the local people say their lobsters are so plump and delicious! On site they have about 30,000 casks and they still fill all of their casks on site. Although, all of their bottling is done in Edinburgh with the rest of the group. Besides sherry they use quite a broad range of casks. You will see the word “puncheon” casks quite a bit on their bottlings. This is just another way of saying it was either American or sherry oak and can hold about 500 liters. Torfa is currently their best seller and has no age statement on it.
I tried the Revival bottle. This was the first release since the being re-opened from mothballing. It has been aged in a mix of ex-wine and bourbon casks and then finished in sherry casks. The label is quite beautiful. It shows the beautiful ocean view from their backyard. Here are my tasting notes:
Holly’s Tasting Notes..
Nose: Raisins, some coco, smells oily, lemon rhine, almonds
Palate: Dates/raisins, almonds, nutty finish, creamy finish on the end.
Next up is Glenfiddich..