The Glasgow Distillery Company have recently unveiled the latest batch of their 1770 single malt whisky. The Triple Distilled Release No. 1 follows the 2018 launch of their standard unpeated malt and the peated variation of the following year. Founded in 2014 by Liam Hughes, Mike Hayward and Ian McDougall, the business adopted the name of the firm that ran Dundashill distillery and christened their single malt after the year it was established. Ceasing to exist in the early 20th century, Dundashill was the last location to produce single malt whisky in the city until Hughes, Hayward and McDougall secured premises in Hillington 112 years later.
I must confess it has always struck me as a bit weird that an ultra modern, urban distillery situated in an industrial retail park would choose to borrow the history of an unrelated establishment from the past, and even though I understand the desire to highlight the significance of bringing single malt to Glasgow after so long, I can’t help but feel it would have been more appropriate to create an entirely new identity. The history of scotch whisky is admittedly fascinating, but the industry seems obsessed with it and the future should be just as intriguing. It would be refreshing to see new distilleries promote that in their branding and celebrate the role they intend to play in that future, rather than hark back to the well trodden paths of yesteryear. It’s OK to be new and it’s OK to be you.
It all seems somewhat out of character for a forward thinking company that has displayed an impressive desire to try their hand at just about anything, attacking the market with their Makar Gin, Banditti Club Rum, G52 Vodka and Prometheus Speyside Single Malt, not to mention the recently announced Malt Riot whisky, named after the Scottish tax protests that culminated in Glasgow back in June of 1725. However their most exciting venture, at least in my view, has always been their single malt, and regardless of the name or label attached to the bottle, it is the quality of the product inside that really matters and that has been of an impressively high standard thus far.
Their latest edition looks to the lowland distilleries of old, who like their Irish cousins turned to triple distillation, likely as a means to extract greater yields from cheaper grains. Spirit produced using such a method tends to display greater concentration of certain flavour compounds, creating a lighter, fruitier liquid, though potentially sacrificing some complexities and flavour variations in the process. Release No. 1 of the 1770 triple distilled edition comes bottled at 46% having been matured in virgin oak casks. At least on paper this is a confusing choice as one would think it almost pointless to invest extra time in creating a lighter whisky only to swamp it with wood but at the end of the day it’s all about smell and taste, so how does the whisky hold up..?
*Full disclosure: I was sent a bottle of 1770 Triple Distilled Single Malt Whisky so that I might share my thoughts with my readers. As always I will strive to give an honest and impartial opinion of the inherent quality of the liquid and the value for money it represents.
Smell: There’s a definite blast of immature spirit at first. Notes of lemon, lime, jalapenos and even gherkins remind me of the grapefruit and jalapeno moonshine I picked up at Kings County Distillery last September. Those American vibes continue with bourbon-like vanilla and caramel. Some gentle woody spice too.
Taste: Caramel and vanilla. Tinned pineapple, apple and lime. More jalapenos and chilli pepper heat. Chocolate and a dry, slightly woody finish.
Value for Money: The 1770 malts have been reasonably priced so far, though they do come in those annoying 50cl bottles. This particular expression retails for £50 but still feels in the development stage to me but I can’t think of anything else like it on the market just now and that alone could make it a worthwhile purchase for those who view spirits as an adventure. Also could be very interesting in a few cocktails.
Too young to shine to its full potential but I’m finding it intriguing anyway and with a dram or two out of the bottle it seems to be settling down a little. It’s normal for your palate to need time to adjust to new things and this dram displays all the arrogance of youth at first, presenting like it doesn’t really care what you think. With patience however, it begins to feel like the whisky is challenging you to come round to its way of thinking, rather than pushing you away. The virgin oak casks concerned me beforehand, but in truth they have been rather sensitively deployed and the spirit is holding its own. I doubt I’ll ever completely see eye to eye with this batch, but the dram shows enough to suggest that Glasgow’s Triple Distilled single malt could be one to watch in the future.
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