Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Scotland’s Glenglassaugh distillery, which we had the chance to visit a few years back after it was acquired as part of a trio of Scottish distilleries by Brown-Forman, is one with a quiet, but very storied, history. Located just outside the Speyside region in northeast Scotland, Glenglassaugh is a coastal distillery set just adjacent to the shores of Sandend Bay. Founded in 1875 by local businessman James Moir, the distillery’s journey through history waxed and waned over the years, with long periods of closure (1907-1959, 1986-2008) in between.
Acquired in 2016 by Brown-Forman alongside sister distilleries BenRiach and GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh just this last year fully relaunched a core range of three single malt expressions under the guidance of Master Blender Rachel Barrie and Assistant Blender Kirsten Ainslie. The whisky that comes from here is aged in traditional dunnage warehouses that are influenced by the North Sea air to give what rests here a maritime influence in the tasting profile.
Of note with Glenglassaugh is the mineral rich spring water sourced from the nearby Glassaugh spring; a newer, angular glass panelled stillhouse and the sheer history of the place. All of these play their own influences into the “new” core expressions, of which I’m reviewing here today the non-age statement Portsoy. This expression is described as taking its name from a nearby harbor village, and consists of a peated single malt that’s been matured in a combination of sherry, bourbon and port casks.
Bottled at 49.1% ABV, Glenglassaugh Portsoy is priced at $75.
Tasting Notes: Glenglassaugh Portsoy
Vital Stats: Non-age statement; peated Scotch single malt matured in a combination of sherry, bourbon and port casks; 49.1% ABV; priced at $75.
Appearance: A stunning lightly golden-amber hue, much like a Sandend Bay sunset. Legs and viscosity on this are thinner in glass.
Nose: The peat and maritime sea salt pop immediately in a pleasant way on sniff, buoyed by lovely chocolate, vanilla, toffee and vegetative notes.
Palate: Oh my – this is smoky & saline in joyous union. A backdrop of blackberry, toffee, red fruit, chocolate, confectionary candy and salted caramel play along. The finish is sweet, smokey and salty all at once, fading into a gentle goodbye.