Certain words evoke certain expectations. So, if you decide to create a Legacy Series for your whisky brand, honouring important people in the history of your distillery, you damn well need to make sure the liquid is a fitting tribute. And honestly? Chapter One in the Glengoyne Legacy Series didn’t entirely live up to its lofty name. But I believe in second chances, which is why we’re going to take a look at Chapter Two.
The first chapter payed homage to Cochrane Cartwright, the distillery manager who arrived in 1869 and took Glengoyne’s unhurried approach to new heights by slowing the distillation process. According to the press release the Glengoyne pot stills are “the slowest in Scotland.” Weird phrasing, because I don’t believe any pot still can move very fast, but I’ll just assume the marketing department is referring to the flow rate of the distillation.
For the encore of The Legacy Series we don’t have to go back in the company’s history very far. Actually, we don’t even have to leave the 21st century. Chapter Two honours Peter Russel, chairman and founder of Ian Macleod Distillers. He and his family bought Glengoyne in 2003 and Russel has “shielded [Glengoyne] from the changing winds of fashion, and helped us stick resolutely to ‘The Glengoyne Way’.”
That seems like fair praise, because Glengoyne has stayed admirably traditional in an era where distilleries experiment (sometimes for the better, but often not) and value efficiency above all. They don’t barrage consumers with endless limited editions and have an impressive core range with an array of age statements matched by very few other Scottish distilleries. There’s much to like about Glengoyne and credit for it should definitely go to the owner as well.
But now for the big question: Is the Glengoyne The Legacy Series Chapter Two befitting of a man with the stature of Peter Russel? At the very least it’ll be different from the first chapter, which was 40% first-fill European oak sherry. Chapter Two is nearly 50% first-fill bourbon.
Glengoyne The Legacy Series Chapter Two (48%, OB, 2020)
Nose: A sweet vanilla liqueur note to kick things off. Just a touch of sultanas, overripe bananas and custard. There’s some cinnamon in the background as well, with a little citrus and some juicy pineapple to liven things up. Taste: Somewhat creamy, but also a peppery, oaky and lightly drying first sip. Notes of honey and red apple too, but also pineapple. Touches of crème brûlée and a whiff of menthol. Finish: Lingering spices and oak. Medium in length.
A bit of a step up from the 2019 edition, but still somewhat disappointing considering the gravitas the name evokes.