The Whisky Distillery are exclusive distributors of the newly-released Glenglassaugh Rare Cask Release 10YO, which is part of the Coastal Cask series.
Given that the distillery last closed in 1986 and only reopened in 2008, aged Glenglassaugh is hard to come by. So much so that Brown Forman ambassador Stewart Buchannan, who was in town to help launch the new Rare Cask Release, is always glad to see a bottle in the wild containing whisky that has completed a full decade in oak barrels.
Glenglassaughs don’t find their way to the market often as they’re no longer traded, potential existence of old contracts and agreements notwithstanding. Meaning the only way to get your hands on new, mature examples, is down entirely to Master Blender Rachel Barrie’s discretion.
The bottle in question here is a 10 Year Old Rare Cask Release, which is available in Singapore exclusively via The Whisky Distillery. The bottling is part of the Coastal Cask Series, which consists of ten casks to celebrate the monumental moment the distillery restarted production. For the Chinese who love their auspicious numbers, this unique Spanish Wine Hogshead hits the spot: Cask #888.
We were invited to try this along with the Pedro Ximenez finish ($179) and Peated Virgin Oak finish ($189). Both are limited editions but fortunately, they are still available for purchase at The Whisky Distillery. These whiskies are also good examples of Glenglassaugh with a trick up their sleeve, and it’s great to see that the base whisky works well with cask finishes.
The Pedro Ximenez finish adds raisins and brown sugar and milk chocolate feel, while the Virgin Oak tempers the peated spirit to the point that the whisky is more smoky than peaty – but in a good way. The Virgin Oak Cask feels the least imposing of the three, and the signature minerality and salinity of the core spirit come through the most here.
To begin with, these are pretty young whiskies, so we need to manage some expectations here. Understandably, you can’t expect the mellow sophistication that comes with age, but these are veritable crowd-pleasers nonetheless. It certainly bodes well for the years ahead when the distillery has enough stock for in-stock, aged statement releases.
But back to the star of the show. I’m beating a dead horse and perpetuating the boomer stereotype with this one, but my opinion (yawn) is that wine casks can be rather hit and miss when whisky is involved. Wine can easily overpower the malt, resulting in a spirit that’s way too vinous. It often leaves the spirit profile rather unbalanced in an unflattering way.
To be clear, not all wine cask expressions are bad (and they’re starting to get better across the board). And thankfully, Cask 888 hits all the right notes. Chocolate, sultanas and raisins dominate here, supported by a backbone of cream and stewed fruit. And at the end, you’re greeted by a savoury hint of salinity that’s characteristic of the Glenglassaugh style. It might be cask strength at 56.7% ABV, but this is a fairly delicate and refined whisky on the tongue.
If you’re interested, the Glenglassaugh Rare Cask #888 is priced at $298 and is available at The Whisky Distillery.
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