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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 13 – Singlemalting # 210– Malt Whisky Company Auchinderom (Peated Glenglassaugh) Sauterne Cask

Very excited about todays whisky. Mythical unicorns don’t appear very often and this is indeed a very rare treat. Certainly knowing the gentleman behind this dram was the key to having this offered up to make your adventure extra special. Stuart Nickerson who I am very thankful to say was the amazingly generous chap that nominated me for induction into the Keepers of the Quaich. Whisky has flowed in his family for a long time and just this past week his daughter Jennifer received the Icons of Whisky Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the year award. A big congratulations to Jennifer and to Stuart for such an amazing whisky legacy.

Glenglaussaugh Distillery

So onto the dram itself. Glenglassaugh has had a very long and challenging history founded in 1875 by James Moir and his two nephews. Located right near Glenglassaugh Springs the distillery had an exceptional water source that had previously allowed illicit distilling to be conducted to great acclaim. After James death in 1892 the distillery was sold to Highland Distillers a subsidiary of the Edrington group. It was rebuilt in 1960 but unfortunately closed in 1986 with a downturn in the Scotch industry.

In 2008 Glenglassaugh was sold to the Sceant group by Edrington and Stuart Nickerson who was their whisky consultant elect was instrumental in not only finding Glenglassaugh as an option but also brokering the deal. With a considerable amount of money needed to refurbish the distillery and one of the warehouses Stuart was able to utilize a small parcel of older Glenglassaugh that had been distilled before the closure. I was lucky enough to be the representative for Glenglassaugh in Canada and can vouch for the incredible 20, 30 and 40+ year old whiskies that were part of the rebuilding of the brand. Stuart did so well that the distillery was sold in 2013 well ahead of schedule to the Walker family, owners of Benriach and Glendronach. Within a few years Benriach, Glendronach and Glenglassaugh were subsequently sold to industry powerhouse Brown Foreman.

Once production started Stuart was canny enough to lay down some casks for himself and so we have today in front of us a whisky that was distilled, casked, aged and bottled by the same man.

Glenglassaugh barrels

I tried some of the early peated new make that Stuart had distilled many years ago. While chatting in his lounge earlier this year he mentioned this cask and jumped at the chance (actually may have jumped off my seat). Several editions ago we had the Portsoy Sauterne Cask. One of the most delicious Sauterne casked whiskies that I have tried to date and only around 7 years of age.

Auchinderom Peated (Glenglassaugh) Sauterne Cask 7 Year Old – Cask Number 007 – Highland – Alcohol 58.6%

Colour:                     Lovely deep gold. No doubt the Sauterne Cask is at work here. Smaller barrel size than a Bourbon Cask so more wood to whisky ratio imparting a lot more.

Nose:                        No mistaking that this whisky lives with peat. Large and in charge is a big hit of glorious seaside. Like stepping out onto the beach and taking a big deep breath of sweet fresh salty air. Glenglassaugh is right on the coast so this is not unexpected. I find myself taking a long time over this nose to try and get some of the Sauterne cask influence. That sweet freshness could be it and does hold the promise of luscious things to come on the palate.

Palate:                     Wow ok the dense vegetal peat character is right at the door asking me to shake the sand off my shoes and come in. That medicinal note that a lot of people relate to coastal Islay is lining the walls of this old school drawing room. As I sink down into my deep backed leather chair I can almost picture the old tobacco swirling in the air, an old leather bound book in my hand and a century old persian rug beneath my feet. Through it all though there is a lovely little sweetness that is completely unopposing but may be the most beautiful part of the whole experience.

Finish:                   I just had to try this with a dash of water. The sweetness on the nose headed towards dark marmalade balsamic reduction. The dainty little petit four that I loved at cask strength has blossomed into a full blown over cooked ginger cookie. In the best way possible. The finish just carries on and the lingering effect is the Briny Highland Peat holding steady as it sails to the horizon. With all of this going on it feels like a much, much older whisky than 7 years. Sauterne casks seem to equal much more rapid aging characteristics in Scotland.

On this day in the 4th edition we had another fine dram put together by Stuart Nickerson. The Shetland Reel Batch No. 3 Blended Malt was a cracker.

Please remember to head over to the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies. I am literally chafing at the bit to see what they thought of todays dram. I would think today’s dram will be a big winner but as I say all the time everyone has their own palate and there are no right and wrong preferences.

We are now just over half way through the calendar and it is worth mentioning what we have had so far. 5 Speyside Distilleries, 4 Highland Distilleries one of which was heavily peated, 1 Islay and 3 blended malts. Barrels have included Refill Sherry, 1st fill Sherry and both Refill and 1st fill Bourbon and a Sauterne cask. We have had 9 different distillery single casks 2 of which were teaspooned. We have done a distillery comparison and both casks while having some similarities were very different animals. As we head into the back end of the calendar we will go to even more new places and see some much older drams. Stay tuned whisky fans and always try to keep a childlike eagerness and delight in learning more about this amazing drink.

Tomorrow we have another distillery making a first appearance in our calendars. Coming from that amazing independent bottler A.D. Rattray.

Looking forward to seeing you all then.

Cheers

Jonathan

Day 2 Malt Whisky Company, Craigmills a Portsoy Distillery (Glenglassaugh) Sauterne | Blog # 91

That’s the longest title for one of my blogs ever. Welcome to day two. I hope everyone had a great time at the Launch party last night. For those of you that missed out please RSVP as fast as possible next year as there is limited space. Toasting in the Advent season with the Tomintoul 1999 was great fun.

So here we are on day two trying something extremely unique. Coming from the fledgling independent bottler Malt Whisky Company owned by the legendary Stuart Nickerson. Stuart for those unaware brought the Glenglassaugh distilley back to life from over 20 years in the wilderness. He did such a great job in fact that Benriach purchased the distillery ahead of schedule so he pretty much put himself out of a job. While working at Glenglassaugh Stuart was canny enough to start squirreling away casks for the launch of the Malt Whisky Company.

While the focus of the Malt Whisky Company is to bottle whiskies over 20 years old Stuart agreed to do a few special bottlings just for the 2nd edition calendar. There were a few left over bottles that did find their way to Germany.

The other very cool piece of info on this whisky is that Stuart personally distilled it himself and then threw it straight into the French Oak Sauterne Cask with his name on it. What most of us whisky geeks wouldn’t do to be able to distill our own amazing whisky including picking out the cask.

Glenglassaugh founded in 1875 is right on the coast and was closed for over 2 decades after being mothballed in 1986 and not reopened until 2008 when with Stuart Nickerson at the helm the Scaent group revived it. in 2013 the Distillery was sold to its current owners Benriach.

Glenglassaugh Distillery Glenglassaugh Distillery

One of the unique problems that independent bottlers have sometimes is the inability to actually put the name of the distillery on the label. Cask Islay from A.D. Rattray was one such whisky in the 1st edition (Laphroaig). This particular offering from Stuart was even a bit more tricky. Glenglassaugh was built on the site of the Craigmills farm and so it seemed a great name to let people know where it came from without actually having the distillery name front and center. A wee bit of revision had to be applied and so the local town of Portsoy was used so as not to be too specific. On our calendar labels we have Craigmills however if you are looking for it on the shelf to grab a 700ml you need to keep a weather eye out for Portsoy.

Now that everyone is properly confused lets get into the whisky.

Malt Whisky Company Craigmills Sauterne – 59.3% ABV – Sauterne Wine Cask – Highland

Colour:     Tailing from pale gold at the edges of the glass to tarnished gold.

Nose:     Went in slowly to the Samaroli glass because even with the ample opening the almost 60% is certainly there. Sweet flora and a distinct winey note, bees wax, honey nut cheerios & soap on a rope. Caramel Apple (my wife Cindy threw that one in).

Palate:    Belies its alcohol but feels like it could use a splash, we’ll get there.  Some youthful spice at play with a backbone of sweetness. Sauterne is a French botrytis affected wine. The botrytis fungus attacks the grapes causing them to internalize sugars in defence. This lovely concentration of sugar is what makes Sauterne so luscious. There is no doubt that the effect of the cask on this whisky is why it is so soft and sweet at a relatively young age. Perfume notes hit mid palate with chewy sweet beeswax coming in. The mouth feel is really full.

Finish:     Warming and long, candied white grape cluster. This whisky is crying out to me for a little water.

Water:     Nose after a couple of drops adds violin bow resin and on the palate much brighter sparks of creamed honey.

This Glenglassaugh shows how good a younger whisky can be in a high quality cask and a good master distiller. I’m not 100% sure on the age but would guess given when Glenglassaugh was cranked back up and because Stuart distilled it himself at around 7 years.

So first two days we have had Single Malts that have spent their entire lives in wine casks. This was also the first whisky ever in our calendar to come from a cask that previously held wine other than Sherry. Tomorrow we are going to get away from that and into something from the third independent bottler represented in this years calendar.

**My friend and fellow blogger Joshua Hatton is blogging side by side with me this year as our special guest. Be sure to check out his take on the Craigmills (Glenglassaugh) Portsoy Sauterne.

The First Edition Calendar Whisky on this day last year was the A.D. Rattray Autmore Sherry Cask 2007 – 7yo Blog #34

For those that loved this sticky infused Highland only 60 bottles are available from the following retailers in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

Calgary

Co-Op Wine and Spirits

Zyn the Wine Market

Edmonton

Chateau Louis Liquor Store

Wine and Beyond

Everything Wine and More

Lethbridge

Andrew Hilton Wines and Spirits

Saskatoon

Co-op Wine and Spirits

Time to clean up that Samaroli glass and get it ready for tomorrow.

For those of you in Edmonton I look forward to seeing you tonight at the special extra launch party we organized this year. We will be doing whisky number one because after all it is still the launch of the 2nd edition and we all had so much fun drinking it last night that I just have to do it again.

 

Cheers!