Glenglassaugh distillery was founded by James Moir in 1875 at the east end of Sandend Bay, just to the west of Portsoy. It was passed through the family until 1892 when it was sold to a long-standing customer Robertson & Baxter.

Robertson & Baxter immediately sold the company onwards to Highland Distillers Company, but with a general downturn in the industry they closed it in 1907.

A new distillery building was erected adjacent to the old one in 1959 and production began again in 1960.


Production continued until 1986 when the distillery was mothballed in order for the company to concentrate on expanding their blended whisky operations.

Glenglassaugh lay dormant until 2008, 29th February to be exact, when the newly formed Glenglassaugh Distillery Company bought it and began reburbishment.

It was officially reopened on 25th November 2008 and new spirit began flowing on 4th December, to be filled into the first casks on 16th December.



More great distillery info here thanks to Malt Madness


Distilelry photos with kind permission by  Alan Jamieson




New bottlings

Post 2008

General whisky characteristics: Lots of fruit


Glenglassaugh, (OB), Single Mash, Pot Still New Spirit, 50% ABV

Bottle No. 2422 from 8160, May 2009

"The spirit that dare not speak its name"

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Totally clear like water

Nose: Raw spirit with a little perfumed flora and raspberry. This is almost the exact nose of a privately distilled grappa that I know of in a Northern Italian vineyard. I can really only describe it as slightly aromatic raw spirit.

Palate: Really very smooth with the 'fire' building only gently across the palate. This has a very similar flavour to a few German schnapps, generally called obstler and having apples and pears as the main ingredients. That fruit is certainly evident here along with just a hint of raspberry.

Finish: Very long

Overall Impression: A very good experience, but as far as New Spirits go, I think I prefer the slightly smoky Kilchoman or very aromatic Bladnoch.



Glenglassaugh, (OB), Singular Pot Still New Spirit, matured for 6 months, 50% ABV

Bottle No. 1642 from 8000, 2009

"The spirit that blushes to speak its name"

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Copper-red / rosι wine

Nose: A more fruity raw spirit with definite raspberry, faint redcurrant and still a mix of apple and pear. As the minutes pass, the spirit comes more to the fore.

Palate: Smooth and even creamy before that gentle fire glides across the palate, but this isn't fierce and soon abates. Apple, raspberry and faint redcurrant are all evident, with the raspberry remaining throughout the long finish.



Finish: very long raspberries.

Overall Impression: The general characteristics between the new spirit and this 6 month variant are very similar, but the effects of just that 6 months in a cask make this is a very different spirit. It is much more mature or rounded, with the raw spirit already giving way to more fruit and creaminess. If I were asked, I would have placed the difference at more than just 6 months, more like 18 months. I really like this, keep bottling it please!




Glenglassaugh, First Cask, exactly 3y, 16.12.2008-16.12.2011, 59.1% ABV

Cask No.1

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Munich Whisky Fair

Colour: Rich gold, light oak

Nose: Very aromatic with toasted marshmallow and what I can only describe as a fluffy fruitiness.

Palate: Lots of dark fruit influence here with a suggestion of grappa in the background.

Finish: Long

Overall Impression: This definitely suggests maturation beyond its humble three years, but there's still some way to go. Coming along nicely.




Glenglassaugh, Revival, 3y, 46% ABV

First fill Oloroso cask for last 6 months

Typical cost of this bottle; unknown, soon to be released


Glass: Munich Whisky Fair

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: Faintly nutty bread dough with milk chocolate and a sweet woodiness.

Palate: Damson and plum with a hint of oil of orange. Some suggestion of dark chocolate leading into the finish.

Finish: Long and only slowly fading.

Overall Impression: Is this really only 3y? It shows some excellent character and that oloroso finish really works.




Glenglassaugh, Revival, 3y, 46% ABV

The actual released version

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed at Limburg 2012


Glass: Bugatti kelch

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: A really quite heavy red wine influence here with some extra fruitiness too.

Palate: Hints of red wine but less here than on the nose. Also some oak and light pepperiness.

With 4 drops of water: The nose can only be described as burgundy. The palate has almost totally lost the red wine influence and now has lots of creamy vanilla. Very smooth, very creamy, very nice.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: The review above this one was for a pre-release of Revival. This actual release version is very different indeed as it exhibits lots of red wine characteristics which work very well. I'm not sure what made me add water to this but I'm very pleased I did. The red wine of the palate almost totally disappeared to leave a wonderful whisky with lots of vanilla. I don't usually talk about scores here in my reviews, but it's worth doing so here as you'll see my overall impressions explained; I scored the pre-release 80 points. This one initially got 84 points but after adding water I increased the score by a point to 85, it really was that good.



Glenglassaugh, Evolution, 57.2% ABV

The 2nd new release,

Matured in (George Dickel) Tenessee Bourbon Casks

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics Live Review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: Quite spirity with a suggestion of bread dough and hay. There's now a slowly expanding fruitiness of peach, pineapple and pink grapefruit. Yes, now quite fruity bread dough.

Palate: Very fruity and no sign of the bread dough here. The fruitiness is definitely more pink grapefruit and cantaloupe melon now.

Finish: Long and fruity.

Overall Impression: Still showing lots of promise, hide this away for about 30 years and wait for that extra magic to happen.





Older bottlings

1986 & Earlier

General whisky characteristics: Smooth, fruity and long


Glenglassaugh, (OB), 'Family Silver', distilled 1973, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Rich dark gold

Nose: My first thoughts are very mature, with leather, damp aromatic and herbal hay with rich sweet fruit soaked in faint amaretto.

Palate: Sweet and creamy fruit comprising mainly blackcurrant and raspberry again soaked in that faint amaretto (marzipan).

Finish: Gently and very pleasantly long.

Overall Impression: Wow, a very, very good dram. I'll take a case please!



Glenglassaugh, (OB), 'Manager's Legacy', distilled 1986, bottled 2010, 45.3% ABV

Refill Butt, bottle No.69 of 500

Dod Cameron, Manager Glenglassaugh August 1974 - December 1986

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: Very woody in a very 'old pier' kind of way. This means damp wood with a saltiness and lots of Atlantic Ocean. Maritime.

Palate: A slightly watery mouth-feel offer green pepper, wood, in fact that wood is almost smoked, pear, rose-water and a hint of light bilge pump.

With 4 drops of water: Lots more wood and Maritime Atlantic-ness (is that a word?) on the nose. The palate is smoother and yes, more watery now I've added some, then red peppercorn. It's also quite dry with hints of figs and prunes and then some marzipan in the background.

Finish: Medium to long and dry. Even drier with water.

Overall Impression: A good and most enjoyable whisky, albeit with a slightly watery mouth-feel.



Glenglassaugh, (OB), 'Manager's Legacy', May 1967, bottled 2010, 40.4% ABV

Refill Hogshead, one of 200 bottles

Walter Grant, Manager Glenglassaugh March 1962 - August 1967

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich sunny amber

Nose: Initially dusty candy floss being spun, then light cherries with a hint of maracuja. The cherries expand with time in the glass, but always remain quite light. Finally, there's a suggestion of something which takes me a while to place, but eventually I realise this is an old childhood delight from local fairgrounds called brandy snap! Oh goodness, yes, with that candy floss and now brandy snap I'm returned to childhood afternoon visits to a local fairground with my parents. Happy times! Can I have a ride on the waltzing horses please?

Palate: Wonderfully creamy mouth-feel with that brandy snap, cherries, polished oak, then lots of fruit and sherry. This is very well balanced too.

Finish: Very long, light floral oak and yes, that brandy snap.

Overall Impression: Stunningly good, an absolute gem, nay, a "Great"!



Glenglassaugh, 'Chosen Few', distilled 1976, 35y, 49.6% ABV

Ronnie Routledge

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: Amazingly aromatic and quite herbal.  Also lots of gently rounded fruitiness with mango & passion fruit, but also just a little citrus. There's also a light nuttiness and something which can only be described as rising, warming bread dough. This is eventually replaced by a slightly sweeter candy floss influence. Finally, there's a light floweriness reminiscent of hyacinth.

Palate: In contrast to the gently rounded nose, the palate is quite sharp although it retains those herbal traits, in fact it has the herbalness (is that a word?) of a fine cognac alongside a light pepperiness.

Finish: Long and oaty

Overall Impression: This is a truly excellent whisky and well deserving of almost being labelled a "Great" in my scale of drams. The nose and palate couldn't be much different and if I'm honest the palate is slightly weaker than the magnificent nose. Only this prevented it from achieving a 90+ score, but it really didn't miss out by much. A truly excellent whisky.



Glenglassaugh, 'Chosen Few', distilled 1976, 35y, 49.6% ABV

Ronnie Routledge - revisited in Feb. 2012

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Glass: Munich Whisky Fair

Colour: Light amber

Nose: An initial burst of furniture polish is followed by lots of heather and fruit. Very aromatic.

Palate: An exotic fruitiness accompanies herbal traits with a light pepperiness.

Finish: Long

Overall Impression: Wonderful, still wonderful. I love this whisky!



Glenglassaugh, 26y, 46% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Munich Whisky Fair

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Faintly spicy but always quite subdued.

Palate: Quite dry, almost like a good Chablis but with the flavour of malty butterscotch.

Finish: Long and dry.

Overall Impression: ΄Most enjoyable, light and dry style which would make a very good aperitif or even accompaniment to a fish dish for a gourmet evening.



Glenglassaugh, 30y, 44.8% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Munich Whisky Fair

Colour: Dark oak with a hint of orange (amber?)

Nose: Extremely aromatic with a sweet nuttiness. After 4-5 minutes in the glass I'm sensing roast chicken aromas mixed with mild creamy toffee.

Palate: That creamy toffee-ness from the nose translates directly onto the palateand the nuttiness now suggests hazelnut. The sweetness is reminiscent of candy floss but also has the richness of brandy snap. The nuttiness reminds me of past Autumn trips to the Black Forest and those lovely hazelnut cakes the local farmers' wives bake and sell.

Finish: Medium

Overall Impression: ΄Delightful, just delightful.




Glenglassaugh, 'Over 30 years', distilled 1975, 36y, 43% ABV (CS)

Refill Sherry cask then 1.5y Sauternes finish

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light oak

Nose: Very aromatic and floral, in fact massively complex flora here. Also lightly herbal to the point where I have to suggest "English country garden meets Alpine Meadow". Eventually a light farminess develops also in a very aromatic way.

Palate: White pepper and distinct white wine, then oats and (morning coffee) biscuit. With more time in the glass a delightful fruitiness develops, but this is always in the direction of grapes and that Sauternes.

Finish: Long, very big, fruity and even a slight suggestion of smokiness.

Overall Impression: Excellent, I love it even with that white wine, or maybe because of the wine?






Glenglassaugh, 'Massandra Connection', 33y, 10.1978-07.2012, 44.8% ABV

Madeira style finish, one of 437 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics Live Review (also reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012)


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark teak

Nose: Rich aged oak and leather, marinated (in red wine) nuts and that typical English Christmas cake style. There are also some lightly floral notes which really enhance the experience.

Palate: An initial creaminess to the mouth-feel followed by an intense fruitiness (think Plum, damson & bramble here) with those gentle floral background notes.

Finish: It just goes on and on and on ...... then a suggestion of coconut right at the end.

Overall Impression: Big and intense liquid luxury, I love it and a "Great" too.





Independent Bottlers


Malts of Scotland, Glenglassaugh, 25y, 1984-2009 54.7% ABV

Cask #186, one of 213 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Well polished old oak

Nose: Luxurious, very well polished or cured old leather, turning musty and slightly spirity after some minutes. Hints of weathered wood and marzipan.

Palate: Very smooth with oak, leather, dark fruits (raisins, plums, currants) spreading gently across the palate before concentrating on the front centre of the tongue, whilst making the sides of the mouth water.

With 4 drops of water in 2cl: The leather and oak are highlighted in the nose and the palate is smoother and richer, with a concentration of the nutty marzipan flavours.

A further 3 drops (in about 1cl) smoothen this even more, but the flavours are now weakened.

Finish: Very long and smooth, getting even longer with the drops of water, but with a slightly more toasted effet.

Overall Impression: A good whisky, very rich and at its best with the first 4 drops of water.



Signatory, Glenglassaugh, 32y, 1976-2009 44.4% ABV

Hogshead #2382, one of 265 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics "Advent-urous" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow, light straw

Nose: Lots of barley and raw grains, in fact this nose immediately places me in a distillery right by the malt mill and alongside someone wearing sandalwood perfume.

Palate: Very smooth, deliciously so. Then comes light wood and aromatic grasses followed by a suggestion of lavendar and bread dough.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is even more intense as the palate gains some toffee.

Finish: Medium to long, much shorter with the water.

Overall Impression: Another quite different whisky with that big hit of grains followed by floral bread dough.



A. Caminneci, Glenglassaugh, May 1972-2010 59.1% ABV

Refill Butt #2891, bottle 166 of 303

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Munich Whisky fair

Colour: Light straw

Nose: Very floral with hints of vanilla followed by a bouquet of faint cherries, malt and then apple with cream and a touch of cinnamon.

Palate: An initial burst of malt is followed by light green fruit (mainly apple & pear) and green peppercorns.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: Surprisingly fresh in character for one so old, but very good.





A summary or Head-4-Head comparison of four rather different Glenglassaughs



  Glenglassaugh was closed in 1986 and eventually re-opened in 2008, so two of my four drams this evening were created before the 1986 closure and obviously, the other two New Spirits are products of the new regime. Having said this, I can definitely taste similarities between the younger and older ones, mainly in the background fruitiness.

The New Spirit was perhaps just a little too 'raw', but it reminded me of some wonderful holidays in Sόd Tirol (Northern Italy) where the vineyard in which we stayed distilled their own grappa. The similarities are amazing.

The Spirit matured for 6 months was a revellation for me as it tasted much more mature than its meagre age and was already showing some great characteristics in the fruitiness.

The Family Silver was undoubtedly the dram of the evening; mature, but yet smooth and very luxurious with some magnificent fruit.

The MoS 25y was maybe just a little bit 'overcooked' as the finish was getting rather toasted and the fruit was present, but a little too dark and rich. It didn't quite have the finesse or complexity of the Family Silver edition.






© Copyright 2009-2020 by Keith Wood - All rights reserved - Whisky-Emporium / Whisky-Emporium is not responsible for the content of external websites