The 1980’s Heavy Metal Guide to Single Malt Whisky

Michael Jackson once compared a particular single malt to a car (e.g. “the Rolls-Royce of whisky”).  Others have since compared certain single malts to particular Grand Cru wines.   More recently, people have started writing tasting notes for whiskies and suggested various songs or bands to match and pair with the whisky.  So, whisky and music is now a thing, right?  Okay then, let’s take it one step further…

No one likes to admit it, but there was once a time when heavy metal was actually commercially successful, and major record labels were falling over themselves trying to sign up hard rock acts.  The genre is lampooned today, and often labelled dismissively as hair metal.  But, like me, you might be from that era when heavy metal was actually on top of all the charts and hair metal bands ruled the airwaves.   But has anyone ever compared single malt to heavy metal artists?  Perhaps now is the time.  Get out the hair gel, put on your spandex, and take yourself back to the 1980’s.  Here are my comparisons…

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An Evening with Glengoyne

The first time I tasted Glengoyne single malt was on the 14th of May, 2003.   How do I remember that?  Well, for starters, that’s just me…I tend to remember these things.  Secondly, it’s because it was one of the best drams I’ve ever had.  11 and a half years later, and – quite literally – thousands of whiskies later, that bottling of Glengoyne still features high up on the shelves of my memory bank.   Mind you, it was no ordinary Glengoyne – it was a 1971 vintage OB release; a single cask, bottled as a 27yo,  Cask #4855.   T’was one of the all-time greats, and from a period in the late 1990’s when Glengoyne put out a series of single cask bottlings that blew most of the competition away.  But the point is, first impressions go a long way, and I’ve remained good friends with Glengoyne ever since.

I recently attended a Glengoyne vertical tasting, courtesy of the new Dan Murphy’s store in Double Bay, Sydney, which – it must be said – features an impressive whisky section.  (I say section, although department might be a more apt description).  The event was held at The Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel, and was hosted by Daniel Millhouse of Dan Murphy’s and the ever affable and enthusiastic Philip Mack.  Philip is not an official Glengoyne brand ambassador, but certainly should be, based on the night’s presentation.

It had been some time since I’d tackled the Glengoyne portfolio in a single sitting (the last time was at the distillery back in 2011).  It’s often said that a whisky always tastes best at its source, but even with the bias and romance of tasting the whiskies at the actual distillery that day, on tonight’s evidence, it is apparent that Glengoyne has lifted the quality bar higher in the last few years.

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