Serious Whisky Fans Are Falling in Love with a Little Place Called Sandend Bay
Posted on Sep 17, 2019
Sandend Bay is only referenced on the most detailed maps of Scotland. But the small crescent beach on the Moray Firth Coast has grown in stature among serious whisky fans. That’s all thanks to the rebirth of the Glenglassaugh distillery, which is producing luscious coastal malt whisky after being mothballed for more than 20 years.
While people tend to think how important elements like grain, yeast, barrels and water shape whisky’s flavor, the environment around the distillery is what adds the magic to this single malt scotch. Glenglassaugh is a prime example of how a one-of-a-kind place leads to an amazing whisky. All the elements of Sandend Bay lead to a flavor that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
It starts with the water sourced from Glassaugh Spring, which has one of the highest mineral contents in Scotland. This extraordinary character found in the local water supply leads to a sweet, ripe new-make spirit, which is what the spirit is called before it begins the maturation process.
You will notice the difference the water makes as soon as you take in the nose of Glenglassaugh Revival, the first expression released after the distillery was reopened. It features bold flavors like sea-salted caramel and tropical fruits.
Sandend Bay’s location isn’t just relevant because of its proximity to Glassaugh Spring. The fact that the distillery is located right on the coast gives it tropical sweetness that’s exceedingly rare in single malts. But that’s not the only intriguing characteristic Glenglassaugh gets from being aged so close to the sea.
Sandend Bay’s ocean air gives Glenglassaugh its coastal charm.
During the decades-long maturation process, North Sea air passes through the distillery and warehouses where Glenglassaugh stores its casks. The salty air gives the whisky a subtle coastal charm not present in single malts that are aged further inland.
It should be clear by now that the distinct elements of Sandend Bay—its water, location and air—lead to an unparalleled whisky. Being unique wasn’t a guarantee that it would also be delicious, but luckily for Glenglassaugh, and whisky drinkers everywhere, many of the most knowledgeable and passionate experts in the industry are raving about the incomparable single malt.
Earlier this year, the judges at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition recognized four different Glenglassaugh expressions, including awarding the Glenglassaugh 40-year-old expression and Evolution with gold medals. Torfa, a limited-edition peated whisky, fared even better at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards, where it picked up a double gold medal.
Sandend Bay is already becoming a destination for serious whisky fans. That will only speed up if Glenglassaugh keeps turning out amazing new expressions and earning awards at international competitions.
Every whisky is influenced by the place where it’s made. Glenglassaugh shows just how big that impact can be, since it features a flavor profile every bit as distinct as its beautiful environment at Sandend Bay.