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.
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:
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.