Glenugie 30, 1980-2011, ‘Deoch an Doras’, 52.13%

There are several translations for ‘Deoch an Doras’. What is seems to boil down to is ‘a farewell drink’, sort of like ‘one for the road’. Interestingly, this wasn’t Glenugie’s farewell drink, since 7 years later another bottling was released by Chivas Brothers.

Having said that, it’s not unlikely to think that there’s literally no Glenugie left. Releases have become increasingly rare over the last couple of years and with this distillery being gone for almost 40 years, most of it will have been bottled by now.

I had the opportunity to buy a sample off of Teun last year, and reviewed it a little while ago when downing the last sip.

My first interaction with Glenugie was in 2010, at the now sadly closed Lochranza Hotel, on the Isle of Arran. They had a 1968 vintage bottling by Gordon & MacPhail which then went for £ 5 per dram. I am still sad I didn’t buy the rest of the bottle. After that I got a bottle from my wife (review still in Dutch…) for my birthday, and I’ve managed to snag a few samples at various festivals, from various bottlers. Not all of them stellar, but the average of the distillery is quite high.

Image from Whiskybase

It’s rather timid compared to my expectations. There’s sherry, but virtually no sweetness. A rather savory, even yeasty scent. Dare I say soup-y? Treebark, crusty bread, some almonds. A bit of a hessian funkiness. Apricots, nectarines, tangerine, but still not sweet. There’s a certain charred beef note too. Licorice and bay leaf.

Again, virtually no sweetness, and a surprising bone dryness. Yeasty, with hint of fruit, tangerine, orange, nectarine. Quite some oak, crusty bread, brittle tree bark. Slightly funky.

The finish is slightly less dry, with lots of fruit. The same as before, stone fruit and citrus. Quite long, and a touch more fruity sweetness.

I tend to like dry whiskies, and the lack of sweetness is something that speaks to me. The combination of fruitiness from the sherry cask, with the meatiness that comes with it just works. It’s a gorgeous dram. Quite unlike practically anything else and that’s what Glenugie is to me. Something from another time.

Of course, it’s quite expensive now, but not as expensive as I expected. Last December it went for some € 700 in auction. Expensive, but not as insane as some other things at the moment (Springbank Local Barley, anyone?)



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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