The following originally appeared on Food Digital on December 22, 2011:
Even though the Glenglassaugh distillery has occupied the same site outside of Portsoy, a small fishing village on the Scottish north coast, since 1875 it has experienced two lengthy periods of silence. First, from 1907 to 1959 and then again from 1986 to 2008. This means that since its founding 136 years ago it has been out of production longer than it has been in production. Thankfully, the new ownership plan to keep the stills running well into the future.
Under the watchful eye of Stuart Nickerson, Managing Director since February 2008, the Glenglassaugh stills ran for the first time since 1986 on December 4, 2008. Twelve days later the first casks from the new regime were filled. Thus began the countdown to December 16, 2011 (in Scotland, spirit must be aged for a minimum of three years to be legally considered whisky) when Cask #1, a refill butt, would be bottled. Not that the cask had a chance to be bored during those three years, mind you. After precisely two years of quietly maturing in the warehouse the contents were split between two smaller casks: one a first fill ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry hogshead and the other a first fill ex-Palo Cortado sherry hogshead. Nine months later the spirit was returned to Cask #1 where it was allowed to marry for exactly three months.
You can imagine, then, that Friday, December 16, 2011, was a very proud day for all associated with the Glenglassaugh distillery when they were finally able to fill 650 bottles from their “First Cask.” According to Stuart, it was a stressful but very successful day, “we pushed towards making sure that all the bottles were filled, then labeled and packed, and finally packaged for shipping… but we did it!” Pre-orders were shipped first thing Monday morning with the intention of getting to their happy owners before Christmas. While reports are starting to file in that bottles have been received there’s little word on how the contents taste. With purchase being limited to one bottle per customer many of the happy recipients are saving their bottle for a very special occasion.
And with that, three years of planning, waiting and anticipating comes to an end. Of course, this is still the very beginning of a tremendously exciting journey for Stuart and the rest of the team at Glenglassaugh. Inevitably, the whisky loving public now turns its attention to what’s next for the Pride of Portsoy. Stuart reports the next big project “is the release of ‘Revival’ which will become our entry level whisky and is due for release at the end of first quarter, 2012.” Ronnie Routledge, Customer Account Manager adds that “the packaging for Revival is really quite striking and should have a great shelf impact. Sadly you’ll need to be patient before we let people see it.”
Patience and whisky fandom do not gang thegither, Ronnie!