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Unveiling The Inner Workings of Maturation

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 by Glengoyne Distillery

Following investment in new facilities, we’re extending all Glengoyne tours to include a brand new maturation display. For the first time in our 180 year history, you’ll now be able to see for yourself where our award-winning whisky develops its distinctive character and flavour.
This innovative approach, offers a unique insight into the colour, flavour and evaporation changes that occur in European and American Oak Sherry casks, Bourbon barrels and refill casks. Stuart Hendry, Glengoyne Brand Heritage and Commercial Manager, is rightly proud of this latest addition to the distillery. “Something like 60-70% of our flavour comes from our wood. Our different Glengoyne expressions are crafted by combining different casks from Spain and the US, each of which brings its own characteristics. Even casks which seem identical in every way somehow bring their own unique style. Why does this happen? Why do two identical first-fill Sherry casks, filled here on the same day then left for a decade or two beside each other in our warehouse deliver such markedly different aromas and flavours? The answer can now be found at Glengoyne.”

Two unique, groundbreaking experiences

We’re suitably proud of our reputation for enabling visitors to connect with the whisky industry in innovative and entertaining ways. Over the years, we’ve been the first to develop in-depth tasting tours, blendings and master classes. There’s nothing to be gained from standing still, so now we’re at it again with the launch of two new, very hands-on experiences in January 2015, which you won’t find anywhere else.

No. 1 Warehouse

Created under our traditional Pagoda, No. 1 Warehouse is packed with some of our finest maturing casks, including two that have been specially selected as the epitome of first-fill European Oak Sherry and first-fill Bourbon casks. As different as chalk and cheese, one brings spice, dried fruits and cinnamon; the other citrus, vanilla and tropical fruits.

From January, your visit to Glengoyne can now include the opportunity to ‘dip’ these maturing marvels, using the time-honoured ‘dug’. Pull out the bung, deploy your dug and fill your glasses, then retire to a safe distance to mull over the benefits of each, before selecting which one you’d like to fill into a 200ml bottle and take home with you. An almost salivating, unnamed distillery insider comments: “This is the first time we’ve allowed ANYONE to dip casks for tasting purposes and quite frankly I’ll be at the front of the queue”.

Master of Malt Tour

Our Master of Malt Tour reveals what goes on behind closed doors to ensure consistency and quality across our full range of Glengoyne Highland Single Malts. Each of our expressions is an exact recipe of different cask styles, painstakingly put together by John Glass, Glengoyne’s Malt Master. It’s a three dimensional jigsaw that has to result in the flavour, colour and aroma of each and every bottling being the same as the last. Life would be simpler if we merely took the bungs out of the casks and filled up the bottles, but where’s the fun in that?

Now, for the very first time in our industry, YOU will have the chance to create your very own version of Glengoyne. As part of the Master of Malt Tour, you’ll visit our sample room where there’ll be the opportunity to taste no fewer than five different Glengoyne 1997 casks and experience for yourself how the oak, cask manufacture and previous fill all effect the final spirit. You’ll then be in the perfect position to construct your very own cask strength Glengoyne 17YO.

As well as helping you to understand the crucial role that our own Malt Master plays, everyone on the tour gets to take home a 200ml bottling of their one-off creation.