Glenglassaugh Distillery – Speyside’s Finest

Here at Great Drams, we’ve reviewed our fair share of Speyside whiskies over the years, and one name in particular, that we’ve been very impressed with, has been Glenglassaugh.

The world loves a good comeback. Whether it was Tiger Woods winning the Masters in Augusta at the grand age of 43, or the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ when Liverpool FC were trailing AC Milan by 3 goals to 0 in the first half of the Champion’s League Final, only to score 3 goals in six minutes in the second half, before winning the title on penalties. One of our favourite comebacks, however, is that of the Glenglassaugh Distillery.

Originally established in 1875, by local businessman James Moir (no, not Vic Reeves!) and his nephews, this Highlands distillery just outside of Speyside, once hugely popular, ceased production of whisky in 1986, where it remained dormant for more than two decades. In 2008 however, it was purchased by an independent investment group known as the ‘Scaent Group’ and made a triumphant return.

After heavy investment, the distillery became active once again, creating a vast array of amazing drams, in one of the best comeback stories the booze industry has ever seen. Here’s a look at three of their expressions we’ve been very impressed with.

Glenglassaugh Portsoy Whisky

If you like your drams complete with a coastal influence, you’re going to love Portsoy whisky.

Named after the harbour village of Portsoy, which is itself a stone’s throw from the distillery, this whisky is more generous on the peat than a lot of Speyside tipples, which definitely works in its favour.

Portsoy whisky is matured in a selection of sherry, bourbon, and port casks, to give it more depth, volume, body, and flavour.

Created under the watchful eye of Master Blender Rachel Barrie, this deep amber coloured nectar provides heaps of coastal notes and maritime character, combined with sweet, salty, and creamy notes, to create a drink that is dangerously moreish. At 49.1% ABV, it has everything you’d expect from a single malt.

On the nose you get the coastal influences right away, with aromas of sea breeze and sea kelp, combined with tropical fruit notes, milk chocolate, miso paste, toffee apple, and earthy peat.

On the palate, the taste hits you right away, with more tropical fruit notes, with mango and pineapple shining through, combined with sweet soy sauce, treacle sponge and custard, sea salted caramel, and more than a suggestion of smoky peat. There are also notes of sweet sherry.

The finish is complex and lengthy, offering more maritime peat, charred oak, caramelized pineapple, sea salted caramel and liquorice, chocolate coated almonds, and seaweed.

Glenglassaugh Sandend Whisky

Next up, we have Sandend whisky, which is another one we were blown away by.

Named after Sandend Bay where the distillery resides, not to be confused with Sandsend, in Whitby, this whisky has been matured in bourbon, sherry, and manzanilla casks over the course of several years.

The bay itself was home to many-a-holiday for Master Blender Rachel Barrie, when growing up, and she wanted to pay homage to this stunning stretch of coastline, with a delicious whisky. She most certainly achieved that.

This light golden summer coloured whisky is 50.5% ABV, and most certainly lets you know you’re drinking a fine single malt. Again, the maritime influence is present from the outset.

On the nose you get notes of sweet vanilla ice cream, butter shortbread, tropical pineapple, milk chocolate, and a touch of sea salt.

On the palate, Scottish tablet, ripe mangoes, salted caramel, sticky cherry compote, seaweed, malted barley, and a hint of sweet oak and vanilla, should be recognisable right away. The more you sip, the more you want.

The finish is medium and smooth, providing an aftertaste of grapefruit, ocean shore, mixed berries, butterscotch, and vanilla custard.

Glenglassaugh 12 Year Old Whisky

If you love your whiskies with just a hint of peat, and heavy on the fruity notes, you’ll know just how amazing Speyside whiskies can be. This wonderful wee dram from Glenglassaugh is nothing short of exceptional.

In 2023, we saw the release of their 12-year-old single malt. Drawn from a variety of red wine, sherry, and bourbon casks, it helps balance their signature coastal profiles, with sweet, tropical, and fruity notes you’d expect from a Speyside.

This vibrant golden whisky is smoother than its counterparts at 45% ABV, but is packed full of flavour and aroma.

On the nose you get ocean breeze, ripe mangoes, toasted vanilla, apricot jam, fig rolls, candied almonds, and vanilla cream.

On the palate, you should be able to taste sticky dates and figs, candied pistachio nuts, clotted vanilla ice cream, sea salted hazelnut and caramel chocolates, morello cherry, and whisper of sea salt.

The finish is lengthy and smooth, offering dark chocolate and cherry liqueurs, crispy salted peanut brittle, sea air, and a suggestion of sweet, toasted oak. Delicious!

If you want to enjoy  a selection of rare, award-winning, limited-edition, unique, and delicious Scotch Whisky products just like the ones listed above, be sure to head on over to our website  and take a look at  the huge selection of fantastic drams we have available.

Here you’ll find all manner of different whiskies, primarily Scotch, to suit all palates and budgets, that you simply can’t get on the high street.

Whether you’re looking for a smooth and creamy Lowlands whisky, a harsh and smoky dram from Islay, with plenty of peat, a tart and fruity Speyside expression with a hint of peat, or anything in between, here at Great Drams, we’ve got everything you need, and plenty more besides.  

Tags: Glenglassaugh distillerySpeyside’s Finest


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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