Glenugie 1980: Complex and Interesting
Glenugie is one of the many, many distilleries that fell victim to the whisky depression in the mid-eighties. But contrary to others that closed in that era (think Brora, Port Ellen or even Saint Magdalene) it’s never become one of those classic, widely appreciated and much sought after single malts.
Coincidentally probably the biggest Glenugie-fan lives less than 10 kilometers away from me. I only know him through Facebook, but I guess I’ll run into him at a local tasting sooner than later. You should take a look at his website, it’s excellent. It was the reason for me to try and obtain a sample of Glenugie. Below are my finding of this particular bottling by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
Glenugie 1980/2005 99.10 (47%, SMSW, 263 bts)
Nose: This is very grainy to start. Not really like anything I’ve had before. It’s musty, doughy, dark bread and it also smells like damp wood. Definitely interesting. There’s some tobacco somewhere, next to some herbs, although it is difficult to pinpoint which ones exactly. Finally I get overripe apple, sauerkraut and grapefruit.
Taste: Cardboard? Weird and interesting. Wood spices,, thyme, dusty and leathery. After a while it gets a bit drier and there’s a bitterness that I like. The pepper that surfaces next nicely complements the meaty barbecue flavours. Do I taste some peat? Maybe, I’m not sure.
Finish: Warm, long and bitter. Almost coastal.
Complex and interesting is probably the best description for this Glenugie. Very nice to have tried some whisky from this closed distillery, although if this sample is representative for Glenugie, than I don’t see this growing into a favorite of mine.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.