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No name spirit drink launched

Not old enough to be Scotch or carry the distillery name, the first release from the reopened Portsoy distillery was called "The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name”. Now the distillery has released ‘The Spirit Drink that blushes to speak its name’ to celebrate 6 months of production.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company released 8,160 individually numbered 50cl bottles of a 50% abv spirit drink under the title “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name”.  This was the first new product from the distillery since it reopened under new management in 2008 after being mothballed for 22 years.

Managing director Stuart Nickerson explains: “These 8,160 bottles are the entire output from a single mash. We felt it was an interesting concept to turn normal practice on its head and, for the new spirit, release a single mash rather than a single cask. We’re excited by the result and we think this is a world first, offering the connoisseur and enthusiast a different insight into distilling practice and flavour development.”

As required by EU legislation, the product is described as a Spirit Drink and, in deference to the law applying to Scotch Whisky, does not carry the Glenglassaugh name in the branding.  Instead, the ‘The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name’ is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the restrictions applying to the new make spirit that, after three years, can carry the distillery’s name and the descriptor ‘whisky’.

“We believe ‘The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name’ offers something new to the market,” says Nickerson, “and we are delighted to release this expression in acknowledgement of the interest aroused by Glenglassaugh’s re-opening.”

The "Blush" spirit
“On restarting distilling in December 2008 we began to experiment with a range of casks," Nickerson explains.  Amongst these were some superb former wine casks from California and we were intrigued to investigate the impact of this wood on the Glenglassaugh spirit. The effects are spectacular and far exceeded our wildest hopes and dreams.

“In just six months of maturation in our 1875 traditional dunnage warehouse,” he continued, “the spirit has taken on a rich fruit nose and taste and a dramatic rosé hue.  I have never seen or tasted spirit like this and its development has been enormously exciting.

“We have a number of other exciting maturation projects underway but the effect of these casks is so dramatic that we wanted to use this spirit to celebrate our first six months in production."

Glenglassaugh recently announced a scheme to sell ‘Octave’ (50 litre) casks direct to the public at £500 each.

About Glenglassaugh
The Glenglassaugh Distillery is situated on the Banffshire coast in the North-East of Scotland, close to the small village of Portsoy. The distillery was built in 1875 by local businessmen and the site was chosen due to its close proximity to a high quality water supply and easy access to the nearby barley fields.

After a visit in the late 1880s, the highly-regarded Victorian commentator Alfred Barnard described Glenglassaugh as “too well known to need any praise.”

More recently, spirit from Glenglassaugh was used primarily in blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. In 1986 the then owners mothballed Glenglassaugh as part of wider cutbacks in production and the distillery has remained silent thereafter.

In 2008 The Scaent Group of Amsterdam purchased the distillery and have invested more than £1m to recommence operations.

The refurbishment and reopening of the Glenglassaugh Distillery have been managed by Stuart Nickerson. Nickerson has worked in the Scotch Whisky industry since 1981 with a significant part of his career being with William Grants, where he was distilleries director.  Previously, he managed Highland Park Distillery, Glenrothes and Glenfiddich Distilleries in succession. He was appointed the new managing director of the Glenglassaugh Distillery Company in February 2008.

One of Stuart Nickerson’s first actions was the appointment of Graham Eunson as distillery manager in April 2008. Graham joined the distillery from Glenmorangie where he was manager for 12 years. Graham has also worked at Glendronach and Scapa distilleries.

Production at Glenglassaugh was restarted on November 24, 2008.  Distilling was thus commenced under the guidance of Stuart Nickerson and Graham Eunson and “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name™” is the first product released to be made by the new management team.

1 June 2009 - Felicity Murray