Glenglassaugh Sandend Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
No.1 in Whisky Advocate's top 20 whiskies for 2023.
Readers will recall it wasn't that long ago that Glenglassaugh's lengthy closure came to an end. Purchased in 2008 by legendary blender, Billy Walker, alongside its sister distilleries, Benriach and the famed Glendronach, in 2016 all three distilleries were subsequently acquired by US corporate giant, Brown-Forman. A brand overhaul was imminent and now includes new packaging and new high-strength NAS whiskies said to be influenced by the vibrant coastal region. All were matured in Glenglassaugh's local bond stores. The Sandend is a mix of x-Bourbon, sherry and manzanilla casks with a flavour profile summed up by the Master Blender, Rachel Barrie as "waves of tropical sweetness with a crack of sea salt". Next to Glenglassaugh's new 12 year old, it is certainly more fruity, though perhaps less complex. Sweet, biscuity malt brings hints of dried mango and semi-ripe banana. Those notes are echoed in a medium to full bodied delivery, and although the 'tropicality' isn't as intense as the label suggests, the texture is juicy, borderline oily, with a salt'n'pepper bite wrapping up the profile in lively fashion. Comparable to Old Pulteney, or perhaps young Clynelish, Sandend is a satisfying new addition to the coastal genre. 50.5% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews... Our annual Top 20 Whiskies list is always filled with A-list names, along with a few lesser-knowns that make the grade. But it’s unusual for one of the latter to outshine the entire field, yet that’s precisely what happened this year, as Whisky Advocate’s panelists plucked a relative unknown from a group of big-name contenders. As we tasted, little did we know there was an upset in the making. Winning in a nearly unanimous vote, single malt scotch Glenglassaugh Sandend became our 2023 Whisky of the Year... This non-age statement expression, named for the bay offshore, is bright and delicate, with aromas of citrus and minerality leading to a luscious palate filled with layers of flavor revealing peach, apricot, honey, pound cake, and vanilla, all accented with a touch of sea salt. Rolling spices help create an explosive, long-lasting finish. It’s gentle yet complex, but above all it’s an easy sipper you can just sit back and enjoy. ...it represents pretty fair value for a single malt scotch. 95 points - whiskyadvocate.com
...The colour is straw gold and the nose is sweet and fruity with a hint of salinity. Aromas of honey, vanilla fudge and juicy sultana rise from the glass along with candied lemon, green apple and plenty of tropical fruit - think of pineapple, mango and papaya in particular. There are also hints of white chocolate and toasted nuts. On the palate this whisky is bright and vibrant with the delicious sweet and fruity notes from the nose continuing. The tropical fruits are right up front now - pineapple, mango, papaya again plus a hint of peach - but are quickly joined by juicy raisin and soft ripe green apple. There is also a hint of cooked pear. Then come honey, vanilla essence and butterscotch. Sitting in the background are some warming woody spices (cinnamon especially), a little drying oak plus something reminiscent of hay or straw and yeasty note that is like freshly baked bread. The finish is long with a distinct apple-like quality drawing it out. This is a very summery and juicy dram. - whiskyforeveryone.blogspot.com