When it was introduced in 2017, the Glenglassaugh Port Wood Finish was (one of) the first releases under new ownership. Not long before, the distillery changed hands from Billy Walker’s consortium to Beam Suntory. I remember not being terribly impressed by the news of the Wood Finish Range at the time—I for one would’ve tried to make a little more of a splash.
Nevertheless, Glenglassaugh is an intriguing distillery with a fairly singular whisky. It was reopened in 2008 after a long silent period, so all whisky is relatively young still, but hopefully we’ll see some sort of entry-level age statement whisky soon. Some of their single casks offering have been pretty good, but their core range isn’t entirely convincing yet.
Onto the Glenglassaugh Port Wood Finish, which has no overall age statement, but has been finished for about two years in port casks after an initial maturation in first-fill American oak.
Glenglassaugh Port Wood Finish (46%, OB, 2017)
Nose: Marshmallows, sour wine and vanilla to start, accompanied by touches of oak and a medium spiciness. It’s the candy-esque notes that remain most prominent, like marzipan and caramelized banana. Slightly buttery. Taste: Fairly creamy with a tinge of vanilla custard and red berries, but then the spice and oak overtakes. Pepper, cinnamon, coconut and wood shavings. Finish: A hint of raspberry with lingering chili heat.
When I tasted this, I had just been talking to Billy Walker about wood finishing and capturing the sweet point between spirit and oak. I feel they didn’t completely succeed here. In some likelihood, this would’ve benefited from many more years in the cask.