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Visits to Glengoyne and Deanston

 
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Alexppp
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:56 pm    Post subject: Visits to Glengoyne and Deanston Reply with quote

I've already posted this on the single malts section, but it may be more relevant on its own thread here.

I'm now back from my short trip to Scotland and managed to squeeze in visits to both Deanston and Glengoyne (which was no mean feat given I was the only whisky drinker out of myself, my wife, our friends and our hosts!). Now, even though I'd been to Scotland before (Aberdeenshire mostly) that was before I was into whisky, so these were my first distillery visits. Out of the two, I preferred Glengoyne for three main reasons:

1) It is by far the more picturesque and beautiful distillery of the two, so it was ideal for a first visit.

2) The tour itself was better - there was nothing wrong with the Deanston tour guide, who knew his stuff, but his Glengoyne counterpart was clearly very enthusiastic about all things whisky and extremely informative.

3) I prefer Glengoyne whisky to Deanston anyway.

I'm sure a lot of people here have been to both, and Glengoyne is certainly the more touristy of the two distilleries, but luckily that didn't mean the welcome and tour were impersonal - quite the opposite in fact. Maybe I got lucky because the group was very small, but the impression I got from everyone I spoke to was that they all care about Glengoyne beyond the usual marketing stuff. Deanston gave the impression that it was more of a tour run by someone who works for Burn Stewart without having any particularly close ties to the distillery itself (though no disrespect to Declan, who conducted the tour well).

I was also lucky that the two tours complemented each other to an extent, with Glengoyne focusing more on the process and Deanston spending more time in the warehouse, which I appreciated.

The whiskies I tried were the Glengoyne 12, 15, 18, 21 and NAS Cask Strength, as well as the cask they had in the shop, a 12 year-old refill bourbon. At Deanston I had the Virgin Oak, 12, 18 and 20 year-old Cask Strength, which unusually for Deanston (at least in my experience) was fully matured in sherry casks. It was also the highlight from the Deanston visit - a very robust sherried dram completely different to the distillery's usual grassy, cereal-y profile.

The tasting at Glengoyne was better organised, with the 12 year-old offered in the beginning as a welcome dram, followed by the tour, followed by a chat in the tasting room with the other drams. By contrast, the Deanston tasting was done in more of a hurry towards the end.

From the Glengoyne offerings, I have to say that I didn't find the 18 to be sulphur-tainted as others have said, so it might depend on the batch. They were clearly pushing their sherried range with their emphasis on their cask selection in their tour, as well as their record in competitions. I have to say that, as subtle and polished the 21 year-old was, I seem to prefer my Glengoyne from bourbon casks. I'll have to try the 21 again though - it came at the end of the tasting, by which time my palate might not have been as receptive as before.

Finally, I have to single out Emma at the Glengoyne shop, who really went the extra mile (and beyond) to accommodate my wishes. I came home with a hand-filled bottle which, from the sample I was given, was very impressive. Unfortunately my budget was a bit limited or I would have filled my own bottle at Deanston too (in their case an 11 year-old refill bourbon).
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jcarrick
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great review Alexppp, Glengoyne is my most visited distillery by far due to its location, I haven't done a tour for some time but usually stop by the distillery shop for a browse when heading north.
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