Glengoyne 21, 1996 (Old Malt Cask for K&L)


So far this month I’ve reviewed three of K&L’s recent exclusive casks. They’ve all been 23 yo malts distilled in 1995 (Clynelish, Glen Moray, Allt-A-Bhainne). I liked them all a lot (87 points each) though I had differing estimations of the price to quality ratio each present. Today I have another recent K&L cask but this time it’s a 21 yo distilled in 1996. Will I finally go above or below 87 points?

This is a somewhat unusual whisky in that it’s a Glengoyne from a bourbon cask—most official Glengoyne is sherry cask driven. It’s also unusual because it’s an independent cask of Glengoyne. It’s not a name you see very often from the indies. On Whiskybase it’s the very rare distillery that doesn’t have any releases listed from prolific indies, Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory (and there are only 12 indie releases total listed for 2019). So it should be an interesting proposition all around. Let’s see what it’s like.

Glengoyne 21, 1996 (54.7%; Old Malt Cask for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: A little spirity and neutral at first and then there’s a mildly beany, malty note mixed in with salted nuts and some gingery oak. No real development with time. With water there’s a bit more of the malt and lemon.

Palate: That gingery oak makes the first impression on the palate along with some lemon zest and malt. Nice texture at full strength. Not much change for a bit but then it begins to open up (after about 30 minutes in the glass): nothing new but the lemon and malt expand and integrate nicely; the gingery oak recedes. Okay, let’s see what water does. Well, it brightens it up further: the lemon zest is front and center now and it pairs nicely with some oaky bite (white pepper).

Finish: Medium-long. Not much happening here: the gingery oak and lemon take a while to fade. With time there’s quite a bit of roasted malt at the very end. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This starts out closer to the blah end of things but time and then water are good to it. Though the nose stays relatively blank on the palate it blossoms into a bright, malty, quintessential ex-bourbon whisky, with no sign of chalk or grass or yeast. That oily texture must be from the Glengoyne stills. There’re no fireworks here but this is good whisky, very plausible at the price ($100) if you like this kind of profile. And if you have a bottle and didn’t care overmuch for your first dip, pour a couple of ounces and give it time. If you have a bottle and haven’t opened it yet, maybe wait for the summer: you might appreciate it more then.

Rating: 85 points.

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