After more than 25 years, Glenglassaugh Distillery will officially rise from the ashes with its first bottling due to take place Friday.
The distillery – which was reopened in November 2008 after 22 years of neglect – is located in north-east of Scotland near the border of Speyside in the small town of Portsoy. It was first established in 1875 and operated for more than 100 years until it was mothballed in 1986.
It was left like that – with roof and walls crumbling – for 21 years until a group of investors decided to see if its stock had the quality worth taking a monetary leap on. After deeming it rather tasty, indeed, the distillery was purchased and reopened, with the first cask being filled on the 16 December, 2008.
I first learned about Glenglassaugh when I attended this year’s TWE Whisky Show. There I met Ronnie Routledge – the distillery’s customer account manager and general whisky expert – who gave me a wee sampling of the fantastic Chosen Few bottling (a 35-year-old oakey, appley whisky) and also a try of the Fledgling XB. Despite being only a year old, it was full of flavour: caramel, soft fruit, and an aftertaste of apricot and camembert. A sign of good things to come, I thought.
Since re-opening, Glenglassaugh’s older stock has won many awards, including “Best Single Cask Scotch Whisky” and “Best 40 Year Old at the Wine and Spirit Competition along with being voted best 40 year old Scotch in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2010.
The distillery prides itself on trying to keep to tradition by basing current production on the old production manuals found upon purchasing the property. They still use a traditional dunnage warehouse from 1875 and do their bottlings by hand.
So, it is, no doubt, with pride that the first bottles will be filled and distributed to those lucky enough to have had the forethought to purchase one of the 650 available. The whisky was left in a refill butt until December 2010, and was then matured, half in a first-fill ex-Palo Cortado sherry hogshead barrel and the other half in a first-fill ex-Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry hogshead, before being transferred back into the original butt to merge the flavours over three months (from September to December this year). Each bottle will come with its own certificate of authentication showing this was part of the distillery’s first foray into fresh stock.
Next year will see a new product – Revival – released and, already doing well off the back of the original stock, Glenglassaugh will now be able to show it has fully risen from the ashes to fly high, as it was always meant to do. There’s something rather lovely about it all, Miss Whisky thinks!
For those wishing to purchase a bottle, head to the online shop at www.glenglassaugh.com. The 700ml bottle retails at £90 plus shipping and will also be available directly at the distillery after the 19th December.