Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Going Vertical - Glengoyne

Glengoyne plus the boys Philip and Daniel 
Tuesday night 11th November gave us a unique look into the distillery that is Glengoyne. This vertical tasting was put on by Dan Murphy’s Double Bay and if you have not heard about Dan Murphy's acceleration in the world of whisky then you living under a very cold dark rock. This evenings tasting was one of the first full focus whisky tastings being trailed by one of Australia's largest discount liquor chains.More of these will be seen as part of the new My Dan Murphy's loyalty program. Held on the upper floor of the The Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel, Bourke St Woolloomooloo, our tables were set with a host of Glengoyne whiskies rarely seen in one sitting.

Our hosts for the evening, Daniel Millhouse and Philip Mack, proceeded to take us on a small tour of what is Glengoyne Distillery before digging straight in to the 6 whiskies on tasting: 10 Year Old; 12 Year Old; 15 Year Old; Cask Strength; 18 Year Old; 21 Year Old. In amongst our tasting a wide selection of finger foods were to hit the tables quelling our appetites and in some cases emphasising flavour profiles.

Out of all we had tasted I did have a particular interest in the Glengoyne Cask Strength. Served mid way through the tasting I had thought "no way this is going to kill my palate", as is what generally happens in such situations. Instead the Cask Strength actually only confirmed just how light and tuned Glengoyne whisky is. At 58.7% ABV the Cask Strength should have been saturating my taste buds and giving me a high spice burn that would lingering for an eternity (or at least that is what I expected). Instead is sat very comfortably with strong cereal notes and caramalised baked bananas. Think warm banana bread with a lick of melted butter. Then of course we had the 18yo delivering a powerful sherry influence. The sweetness was very well balanced against a spicy oak while also tapering into some salty shellfish aspects. I figured at that point something was up with my palate until later some oysters were laid out and a quick sniff of the fresh oysters confirmed my thoughts. Not to ignore a good oyster I nabbed a refill on the 18yo and promptly downed a good portion of the plate discovering that a fresh oyster created an intense creaminess in the 18yo that filled in the gap between the sweet sherries and oak spices. Delicious!

Those fine foods served amongst the evenings tastings
A feature of the nights discussion was about Glengoyne’s slow spirit run where they reduce the boil temperature of the still in order to output the new make spirit at 5 litres per minute. 3 litters was too little and 7 litters was found to be way too much while 5 was right in the goldilocks zone. At this rate the spirit maintains a high copper contact to delivery the finer higher fruit and cereal notes the whiskies are known for. The first time I heard about slow distillation was in fact on a recent trip to Tasmania. Casey Overeem of Old Hobart Distillery and producers Overeem Whisky had comment on how he would cut his spirit run with a good amount of water to slow the distillation process down in order to only take the finer spirits while maximising copper contact. Quite often a larger distillery needs to boil much faster and harder to maintain high volume output, so a good way to counter this is to have high necks on the stills such as what would be seen at Glenmorangie distillery. The finer the new make is the less it has to work with the wood so in turn much lighter subtle flavours are emphasised. It is a fascinating thing to examine how distilleries deal with extracting the most out of the barley.

For me0 I have always found Glengoyne as a fine spirit with very delicate nuances easily lost when tasting against other much more full bodied whiskies. In the past I have only every had a Glengoyne at times when other whiskies have been tasted, such as at The Whisky Show, or at locations like Dan Murphy’s when I may have been tasting wine prior. In either circumstance the outcome was not entirely pleasant or the delicate nature of the whisky was completely lost making it almost taste like water. Having been able to do a tasting like this really has emphasised to me this is a whisky to be truly appreciated on its own with good company and light foods.

You may also notice that I have spoken about Dan Murphy’s and Glengoyne together. Dan Murphy’s is at this time the primary purveyor of Glengoyne in Australia importing via the Pinnacle Liquor Group and distributing via Dan Murphy’s stores (all facets of the greater Woolworths Limited). You may be able to pick up Glengoyne at other resellers though to access the full range day in day out hit up your local Dan Murphy’s. Let us also not ignore pricing as Dan Murphy’s is delivering some exceptional markers for a whisky of this quality. Glengoyne 10yo starts at $69.99, Cask Strength at $98.99 (very good value), 18yo at $148.99, through to the 21yo at $221.90.

Thanks to Glengoyne, Dan Murphy’s Double Bay, and of course Daniel and Phillip for a great night.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.