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15 October 2015

Launch: Glenglassaugh Highland Single Malt Whisky

Glenglassaugh is relatively unheard of in Malaysia. In fact, it didn't even properly show up in the whisky geeks' community radar up until the BenRiach distillery (also owns Glendronach) bought it over in 2013.

Drink ALL the Glenglassaugh!

However, you might be surprised to know that the distillery is actually 140 years old. Dating back to 1875, it claims to be one of Scotland's oldest distilleries.

The life of this little distillery that could hasn't exactly been a smooth sailing one - having opened and closed multiple of times, changing several hands and it even mothballed for a little over 20 years before it reopened in 2008.

For most of its early life, its spirit was used in blends like Famous Grouse & Cutty Sark. Then in 2009, realising that it had to bankroll itself under the new management, the distillery produced 2 "Malt" bottlings (that most people never heard of)  to give the community a peek of its produce to come:
It's only when their neutral makes were finally 3 years old in 2012, were the ‘Revival’ and ‘Evolution’ expressions introduced. These would be their first single malt NAS Scotch whiskies produced in over 20 years. Torfa, being the youngest and the odd one out (tell you later) of the NAS family, would be introduced 2 years after.

Here lies the distillery.

Like most whiskies with the prefix Glen, the name takes after its water source - Glassaugh springs (now known as Fordyce Burn). It also uses spring water from Durn Hill, about 3kms away.

It's interesting to note that even though it's categorised as a Highland whisky, its location is just about 30km away from the Speyside river. So it's no surprise to catch some fruity Speyside characters in the whisky - especially evident in the Evolution expression.

Glenglassaugh pride themselves for only using Scottish barley (some big boys import them to cope with demand) and for using traditional distillery methods since 1963, ie, many of its processes are still manually done.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery (Image: Glenglassaugh)

On top of that, the distillery only produces a very limited amount of less than 1 million litres a year. Even if Glenglassaugh wanted to make more, they couldn't as the nearby spring can only provide that much water AND they only have 2 stills. To put things into perspective, some of the bigger distilleries can produce 80-90 million litres each year!

So, we were introduced to 3 of its NAS bottlings and 2 aged ones at a recent media preview. This also means that we got to sample the Evolution, Revival & Torfa. However, the 2 aged bottlings, 30 & 40 years old which were available for sale (albeit at a very limited quantity), were not a available for sampling due to obvious reasons. :)

All the Glenglassaugh expressions available in Malaysia. (Image: Glenglassaugh)

Being a Speyside head myself, the Evolution (combination of ex-Tennessee first-fill whiskey barrels) was an easy favourite for me. A fruity easy-drinking whisky at a surprising 50%, I didn't even need to dilute this to enjoy it. Frankly, I could drink this all day and empty the whole bottle if I'm not careful. :p

I found that the sherry-heads generally enjoyed the Revival. It's matured in a mix of ex-red wine & bourbon casks, then finished for 6 months in ex-oloroso sherry butts - which lends a darker hue to this expression. I didn't personally like this because I found the sherry flavour distracting - but it's got some rich depth and complex flavours going on.

Lastly their unique little baby expression - Torfa. Taken from the Old Norse word for turf or peat, this would be their first peated whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels and at 20 PPM. This one's definitely for the peatheads, as there is no denying the peat in this.

The Glenglassaugh range is available at Single and Available at the following prices:
  • Glenglassaugh Revival, 46% (no age statement) retailing at RM270 per bottle
  • Glenglassaugh Evolution, 50% (no age statement) retailing at RM309 per bottle
  • Glenglassaugh Torfa, 50% (no age statement) retailing at RM299 per bottle
  • Glenglassaugh 30YO, 44.8% retailing at RM2280 per bottle
  • Glenglassaugh 40YO, 42.5% retailing at RM8500 per bottle
For more & official tasting notes:
An interview with the Brand Ambassador by my good friend, Michael: Star 2


Thanks to the folks from Single & Available, I've got 3 beautiful coffee table books on the history of Glenglassaugh written by Ian Buxton of the (in)famous "101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die" worth RM100 each to give away.

In addition, the 3 book winners will also be able to purchase any Glenglassaugh bottle at a 10% discount.  

Be the lucky 3 fellas simply by following these simple steps:
1. LIKE my FB page
2. Leave a COMMENT on THIS post -  u can say hi. U could tell me how you came about this blog or what you enjoy about it. You could tell me what I can do to improve on it. Any comment will do! :)
3. Leave your EMAIL address with your comment.

Note: This "contest" will end at the end of the month - 31 October 2015.  I'll be contacting the 3 winners via email - so you MUST leave your email address with your comment ok? Terms &  conditions apply, etc etc...  GOOD LUCK HAVE FUN!