Glengoyne is something of an oddity, being located directly on the line that separates the Lowlands from the Highlands, all of a few miles north of the definitively Lowland Auchentoshan. The distillery is owned by the independent bottler Ian Macleod, who also own Tamdhu. I meant to visit it during my trip to Scotland since it wasn't particularly far from where I was staying in Glasgow, but weather and burnout on distillery tours kept me away.
It's a little difficult to figure out exactly what's going on in this whisky. It's bottled at the minimum of 40%, presumably with chill filtration but without coloring. While the distillery's website references sherry cask maturation, the profile suggests that most of them must be refill casks or there is a small minority of first-fill sherry casks in combination with a larger number of refill bourbon casks.
Glengoyne 10 Year
Nose: dominated by clean, fresh malt - hints of melon, green apple/pear, citrus, roasted grain, maple syrup, vanilla, sherry. After adding a few drops of water it gets muskier and some honey and berry notes emerge.
Taste: sweet malt up front, continuing through with some sherried roundness, hints of citrus, and bitter grain notes underneath building towards the back - very minimal oak. After dilution the sherry comes in stronger, but the bitterness at the back is also more pronounced.
Finish: fresh malt, a little vanilla, bitter grain
Even for an entry-level single malt, this is somewhat disappointing. While there are no overt flaws, it's just kind of boring. There are some decent things about the nose, but even those take a fair amount of time and effort to tease out. The palate and finish are just flat, with no real development. It is somewhat improved by the addition of water, which may be intentional, but seems odd for a single malt that is meant to introduce people to the brand.
With all that said, I think it's a fine entry point for blend drinkers dipping their toe into the single malt world - there's nothing particularly challenging and it has something of a blend-y profile, but without the grainy character of blends. It also has an attractive price point for people moving up from blends, but a little bit more money will get you the more well regarded 12 or 15 Year expressions from the same distillery. This is enough to make me want to try more from the brand, but I'll give the 10 Year a miss in future.
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