Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
The Glasgow Distillery Co was established in 2012 and by 2015, the distillery itself was complete and in production. In the current whisky world, where new distilleries seem to pop up on a weekly basis, these guys almost seem like old hands now. It has, after all, been almost five years since the first release of the Glasgow 1770 single malt.
The distillery makes three varieties of single malt, Original, Triple Distilled and Peated. In recent months, however, the range has diversified with the introduction of Small Batch bottlings, featuring attractive cask finishes. The new series debuted in 2022 with excellent Tequila and Cognac finishes with two further releases introduced at the end of the year.
Read my thoughts on the two latest Glasgow 1770 Small Batch bottlings below.
*Please be aware that I was sent samples free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Glasgow 1770 Golden Beer Cask Finish
This single malt was matured in a first-fill ex-bourbon cask and finished in an ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry hogshead that was used to mature Innis & Gunn Beer for three months. The single cask has been bottled at a strength of 58.5%. 356 bottles are available.
Smell: It has an interesting nose from the off. A definite beery note – a sort of suggestion of yeast and hoppiness. Touch of oak with malt and honey. Some citrus. New oak. Sawdust. Ginger biscuits. Cinnamon. Porridge with golden syrup. A bit lighter and fresher with water added.
Taste: Toffee and caramel. Wee spicy tingle on the lips. Some raisins. Dark chocolate. Chilli powder and ginger. Nutmeg. Lots of honey. Orange marmalade. Oatcakes. Bready note on the finish.
Thoughts: The beer cask is really noticeable on the nose but less obvious on the palate. Nevertheless, it feels like a successful combination. Beer and whisky seem like natural bed-fellows in so many ways, you wonder why they don’t cross paths more often. The addition of Pedro Ximenez into the mix could have complicated things but it doesn’t. Its presence is barely noticeable, in fact. This is something of a recurring theme I’m finding with Glasgow – some of their concoctions strike me as a bit much on paper but through experience, I’m learning to trust them because the results have generally been very good. This is another win. A nicely balanced single malt with some interesting layers.
Value for money: £59. The whisky will no doubt be young but the price doesn’t seem silly for a single cask, cask-strength bottling and the quality stands up to it.
Glasgow 1770 Tokaji Wine Cask Finish
The Tokaji Cask Finish has been matured for two and a half years in a bourbon cask before being transferred to a Hungarian Tokaji cask for a further 18 months. The single cask was bottled at 58.1% ABV. Just 210 bottles were available.
Smell: The nose was a little closed at first. I got some new oak with some muted fruits but not a lot else. With time, however, it started to open up. Malty and grassy one minute, fruity the next. Biscuits. Woody spice. Lemon and orange. Pineapple. Grapes. Melon. Peach. Even a wee chocolate note – with honeycomb maybe – like Crunchie Bars. Water brought out some lighter, almost Speyside-like fruit notes.
Taste: Honey. Honeycomb. Chocolate digestives. Vanilla pods. Orange marmalade. Pineapple. Apple. Pear. Butterscotch. An undercurrent of newish oak runs through the whole experience. Vanilla ice cream with tinned fruit cocktail and fudge pieces.
Thoughts: This is the second time Glasgow has released something with a Tokaji finish. The earlier release featured their triple distilled spirit and was absolutely delicious. This one didn’t strike me in quite the same way but I still found it enjoyable. It’s got great body and the wine seems to work in harmony with the character of the spirit, rather than overpower it. Good stuff.
Value for money: £59. Once again, I’ve no real issues with the price. It may be young but at cask strength, it’s interesting and engaging in a way that plenty of older whiskies fail to be.
For more on Glasgow Distillery Co visit: https://www.glasgowdistillery.com/