Six guiding principles keep us true to our past, true to our taste. To change just one element would be to alter the bold, complex flavours of Glengoyne.
WE ALWAYS DRY OUR BARLEY BY AIR
Our founders established this tradition through necessity: there is no peat in the soil around Dumgoyne. This means there is no smokiness in our whisky – and nowhere for coarse flavours or average casks to hide. That is why we take such care to craft our spirit, coaxing it through the slowest stills in Scotland – then maturing in fine sherry casks. We stay true to the taste of Glengoyne – creating bold fruits and rich sweetness.
THE SLOWEST STILLS IN SCOTLAND
Glengoyne’s bold flavours are the result of an equally bold pledge: to coax our spirit through the slowest whisky stills in Scotland. Our flavours build ounce-by-ounce – hour-by-hour - into the smooth, hugely complex spirit we’re famous for creating. Extravagant? Perhaps. But we’re not about to change our ways
OUR SHERRY CASKS ARE RARE AND EXPENSIVE
However, they weren’t always so hard to source. In the 1870s the sherry business was booming in London, and we took the ready supply of empty casks for our spirit. The sherry-soaked wood transformed the maturation – taking the flavour of Glengoyne to new heights, and the colour to rich new depths. Then the supply dwindled, and the price of each cask soared. We had a choice: switch to more plentiful alternatives, or stay true to the flavour of Glengoyne. We chose the flavour, and went to the source. We took direct charge of the entire six-year journey our sherry casks take from oak forest to Highland Distillery. We’re involved at every stage, from selection to drying and seasoning.
EACH GLENGOYNE CASK IS HANDLED WITH METICULOUS CARE
Each one is protected from extreme swings in temperature by the stone walls and earth floors of our traditional warehouses. Each, too, is given room to mature – stacked just three high by our warehousemen. This patient maturation allows the consistent evaporation we’re looking for – cask and spirit in perfect union.
There are two ways to give whisky a rich, appealing colour. One is absurdly time-consuming and expensive. The other is easy: add a few drops of caramel at bottling.
WE CHOOSE THE HARDER PATH
We start by selecting our own oak from the forests of northern Spain. We then insist it is dried naturally by sun and air for three years. When it’s ready, each hand-built cask is filled with sherry in Jerez, and left to absorb its rich colour and flavours for up to three years. Only then are the casks ready to be emptied and delivered to our Highland distillery – some six years after they started their journey. These casks are then filled and over the next 10, 15, 18 years, the clear spirit takes on the rich gold, amber and copper tones naturally from the wood.
OUR PROGRESS IS MEASURED NOT IN YEARS OR DECADES - BUT IN CENTURIES
We stay true to our founding principles – set out in 1833, and carefully passed from one generation of craftsmen to the next. Every skill – every intricate step – evolves through hard work and long practice. It’s why we still dry our barley by air. It’s why we distil more slowly than anyone else in Scotland. It is also why we moved predominantly to sherry cask maturation in the 1870s, latterly securing our own private supply of this venerable wood.