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The Glasgow Distillery was founded in 2014 by Liam Hughes, Mike Hayward and Ian McDougall. The three men named their business after the company that operated Dundashill, a malt whisky distillery that once resided in the north of the city. Dundashill closed in 1902, leaving Glasgow without a malt whisky distillery.
The Glasgow Distillery Co began production of whisky in 2015 and the first single malt was released in 2018. Named 1770, after the date Dundashill was founded, the brand has since produced original, peated and triple distilled versions. The distillery has also produced vodka, gin and rum and celebrated their hard work with the title of Distiller of the Year in the 2020 Scottish Whisky Awards.
With the single malt on the market for a few years now, the distillery has started to produce some limited edition batches. The first came in the form of last year’s Cooper’s Cask collaboration with the Kelvin Cooperage in Kentucky. That has now been followed by a trio of cask finishes…
Full disclosure: I was sent a sample pack of the whiskies featured in this article free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the drams and the value for money they represent.
Glasgow 1770 Original Ruby Port Finish
From the moment I heard about this release I knew I had to have a bottle. Glasgow’s original malt tends towards the oak-driven, spicier side of the flavour spectrum and I was keen to see how that would partner with the fruits of a Ruby Port.
Matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel before being transferred to a Ruby Port cask. Bottled at 56.2%.
*Colour isn’t something I usually discuss but this is quite something to behold. It looks like Ribena.
Smell: Ok it smells a bit like Ribena, too. Blackcurrant and apple. Cranberry, raspberry and blueberry. Pomegranate. Rhubarb. Orange zest. Virgin oak and lots of woody spice – cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg… Wee bit of toffee and butterscotch in there as well. After a while in the glass I started noticing a whiff of dunnage warehouses as well. Incredible nose!
Taste: Follows straight on from the nose. Loads of berry fruits… cranberry, raspberry… Still getting that bit of blackcurrant too. Still got the woody spice I’ve come to associate with Glasgow’s malt. Water settles the spice down a little. Some oak tannins towards the back of the palate. More warming spice on the finish.
Thoughts: I would have loved to grab all three but the run-up to Christmas isn’t the best time to splash out on a triple release! The Ruby Port appealed to me the most so that’s the one I went with and I’m very pleased with my purchase. The port stamps itself all over the flavour profile but crucially, I don’t think you lose the sensation of drinking whisky. It’s quite light in terms of body but the intensity of the flavour means you don’t even really notice it. Beautiful dram.
Value for money: I paid £59, which isn’t much different from the regular 1770 releases. Not bad given it’s bottled at a full cask strength of 56.2%. For now Glasgow are still bottling in those troublesome 50cl bottles but I’m led to believe that practice is soon to come to an end…
Glasgow 1770 Triple Distilled Tokaji Finish
Glasgow’s Triple Distilled malt fascinates me. When visiting the distillery a few years back it was my favourite of the three new make spirit samples I tried. Thus far, however, the bottlings I’ve tried have seemed a little youthful, even a wee bit raw, though not necessarily unpleasant with it. I suspect, however, it is a spirit that may perform better with a little age behind it.
This dram was initially matured in a first-fill bourbon cask before being transferred to a Tokaji wine cask (Tokaji is a sweet, dessert wine that originated in Hungary). The malt is bottled at 53%.
Smell: Lots of fruits like lemon and lime, melon and pineapple. There’s a tequila note too. Agave syrup. Olive oil. Sawn oak. Sawdust. Gentle warmth of baking spices and fresh bagels.
Taste: Lovely oily texture and intense flavour. Honey with chilli spice. Caramel and toffee. Pineapple juice. Apple and pear. Orange rind. Apricot. Pepper. Dry white wine finish with some tingly wood spice.
Thoughts: I’m struggling to think of another triple distilled dram that could match this one for body. It’s got wonderful weight on the palate. I’ve never drank Tokaji wine and only seen it used in one other whisky (Dublin Liberties Murder Lane) but it works an absolute treat here. A joy from arrival to finish.
Value for money: All three bottles were priced the same but I’ve enjoyed this dram so much I’m beginning to wonder if I made the right decision in buying the Ruby Port!
Glasgow 1770 Peated Sauternes Finish
I’m a peathead. I make no attempt to hide that fact. It will therefore come as no surprise to learn that my favourite of Glasgow’s expressions has probably been the peaty one. Sauternes, meanwhile, is a wine that didn’t really excite me when I saw it linked with whisky. That is, not until I tried the Octomore 12.2, late last year. That combination of heavily peated malt and sweet dessert wine was an absolute joy and it’s got me rather excited to try Glasgow’s attempt at something similar.
Distilled from barley peated to 50ppm and matured in a virgin oak cask before being transferred to a French Sauternes Barrique. Bottled at 53.7%.
Smell: Not what I was expecting. It’s deeper. Richer. Lots of youthful smoky fire. Charcoal. Tar. Pepper. Cigarette smoke. Also chocolate covered marzipan. Red apples. Cranberry? Blackcurrant. Pear and pineapple. Paprika. Frazzles (a smoky bacon flavoured corn snack).
Taste: Big salted caramel arrival followed by lots of virgin oak spice. Fiery ginger and nutmeg. Dry smoke – cigarettes. More of that blackcurrant thing from the nose. Grilled pineapple. Sea salt. The finish is smoky with a flash of sauternes and a wee touch of malt.
Thoughts: I was expecting something like the Octomore 12.2, which had also been finished in Sauternes, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The intense peat and virgin oak have created a robust dram that almost hides the wine finish, barring the odd wee glimpse here and there. It’s much more of a bruiser than I anticipated and it’s all the better for it.
Value for money: Once again, I’d be more than happy to take one home for £59. If pushed, however, I’d say the Tokaji was probably the pick of the bunch.
For more on Glasgow 1770 Single Malt visit here