Glenugie whisky

Glenugie distillery, Scotland

The Glenugie distillery (also known as
Invernettie) is located near Peterhead,
at the mouth of the river Ugie. Rather,
Glenugie distillery WAS located there;
the buildings have been demolished.
It was the only eastern Highland
distillery north of Aberdeen. It also
was the distillery that was located
furthest to the East in all Scotland.
 
The first whisky was distilled at this
location in the 1830's, but until Scottish
Highland Distillers Co Ltd. rebuilt it in
1875 the site was also used as a
brewery.
 
Glenugie was closed and sold many
times after that. In 1975 Whitbread
acquired Long John International,
owners of the distillery at the time.
Glenugie was just one of the many
distilleries that didn't survive the year
1983. Around a dozen other single
malt whisky distilleries were closed in
that year alone - and more followed.

Glenugie distillery

Where to find Glenugie distillery

Glenugie Scotch Whisky

Glenugie  (Pronounced: Glen YOU-gee)
Eastern Highlands
5730'27.84"N, 147'23.23"W (Approximation)
Banff, MacDuff, Glendronach, Glengarioch
1834
Closed (in 1983 - later demolished)
Unknown
1 Wash still, 1 Spirit still
Around 1,000,000 litres of alcohol per year
Whitbread & Co. Ltd. (until 1983)
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, AB42 0YX, Scotland, UK
-
No
No
No; the owners never released a single malt whisky
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor

Glenugie location

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Glenugie 19 years old Scotch whisky

Glenugie was a very typical distillery.
It was built on the site of an old windmill with a ruined watchtower nearby.
Malt whisky production at Glenugie started in 1831, 1933 or 1934 (grain whisky hadn't been invented yet), but in 1837 (some sources say 1873) it was converted into a brewery. The first owners were Donald McLeod & Co. - but their ownership lasted for no more than a year. Most sources agree that Scottish Highland Distillers & Co. Ltd. took over the distillery in 1875 and completely renovated it.

The Glenugie distillery closed again in 1879 and was bought by George Whyte & Co. in 1882. However, this company went bankrupt the same year. The documentation is vague about the three decades after that, but it seems production ceased again in 1915. In 1923 production was restarted, but in 1925 the distillery ceased production yet again. This seems to be the story of Glenugie; brief bursts of activity with long periods of silence between them. This time the distillery was silent until 1937, when it was reopened again by Seagar Evans & Co. Ltd.

In 1956 Seagar Evans & Co. Ltd. was purchased by Schenley Industries Co. and the number of stills at Glenugie distillery was doubled from two to four. At the same time the traditional coal firing system was replaced by an oil-fired burner. This helped increase production significantly. The floor maltings at Glenugie were decommissioned in 1963 and in 1971 Seager Evans & Co. Ltd. changed its name to Long John International Ltd. Schenley Industries sold this company to Whitbread & Co. Ltd. in 1975. The new owners continued production for a few years, but Glenugie distillery was eventually shut down and dismantled in 1983 due to a drop in demand in the early 1980's. The site of the former distillery is now occupied by the headquarters of Score Group plc; they use the name Glenugie Engineering Works.

Trivia about Glenugie

1) In 1875 the annual output of the Glenugie malt whisky distillery was 90.000 gallons.

2) The Glenugie whisky distillery was closed for much of World War I.

3) After the reconstruction of 1956 process water was piped from the Wellington Spring, several miles away.
At the same time the two new stills were fitted with big condensers instead of the the old-fashioned worm coils.

4) In 1963 the maltings were converted to bonded storage in order to make room for the increased output.
In the end the site had nine bonded warehouses with a total capacity of 1.5 million gallons.

5) Glenugie used to be the most Eastern distillery in Scotland.

6) Brewers Whitbread bought the Glenugie distillery in 1975 but closed it a mere eight years later in 1983.

7) I don't understand why, but the Chivas group bought the Glenugie brand long after the distillery closed.
This affiliation came a few decades too late to save the distillery - if Chivas would have shown any interest during the 1980's the Glenugie distillery might still have been among us. Well - such is modern business I guess...
 

Glenugie single malt whisky

Glenugie 31yo 1977/2009 (58.1%, Signatory Vintage, Oloroso finish for 84 months in cask #7, 577 Bts.)
Nose: Smoke, wood and fruits - a classic profile. Overall, the fruit dominates. A quick burst of rubber. Sulphur?
Finds a new balance after ten minutes with more organics. Very faint medicinal notes after fifteen minutes.
Taste: Cassis. Slowly emerging woody notes. Fairly harsh finish at first, but more fruit & tannins show over time.
Lovely combination of a heavy sweetness and solid moutj feel. Meaty notes after ten minutes.
Buysman burnt caramel. It's just a smidgen too dry in the finish for me to reach the 90's.
Score: 89 points - which makes this one further proof that Glenugie really was a hidden gem...

Glenugie 24yo 1981/2006 (61,8%, Blackadder Raw Cask, C#5515, 562 Bts.)
Nose: Sweet and mellow. Few obvious characteristics initially. Opens up with water but remains subtle. Spices.
Taste: Sweet start with lovely fruits, growing more serious and peppery in the centre.
Strong, but a good mouth feel. Tannins with some organics? Many malts are far less complex on the palate.
Score: 89 points - which made it my single favourite Glenugie EVER for a few years, until a 31yo came along.

Glenugie 25yo 1979/2005 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, 291 Bottles, DLREF 1094)
Nose: Grainy, light and a little creamy. Herbal? String beans. Vegetables. Freshly sawn wood (not pine).
Taste: An odd contrast; it tastes woody, but it's a 'young' kind of woodiness. Grows sharper with water.
Score: 80 points - recommendable, but that's something I would expect after 25 years in a cask.

Glenugie 26yo 1977/2004 (46%, Murray McDavid Mission III, 498 Bottles) 
Nose: Ooaaah. Big and sweet. Some citrus? Raspberry. Something metallic. Many subtle sherry traits. Cookies.
Taste: Surprisingly smooth at first, growing sweeter, then dry. A little fruity. Metallic, woody and quite simple.
Score: 82 points - good whisky, but given the steep price of this Glenugie that's hardly surprising.

Glenugie 22yo 1981/2004 (52,5%, Chieftain's Choice, Refill Sherry Butt, C#5134, 654 Bts.)
Nose: Organics and diesel. Soy sauce and other Chinese cooking smells. Interesting and well-defined.
More organics in the nose over time. Metallic? THis is an odd whisky - with many endearing qualities.
Taste: Smooth on the palate at first with more tannins appearing towards the finish.
This Glenugie whisky has a great nose, but it's a tad woody for me on the palate.
Score: 85 points - a strong contender at the MM Awards 2006, slowly creeping into silver territory.

Glenugie 16yo 1980/1997 (43%, Signatory Vintage, 70cl, Sherry casks # 3660-61)
Nose: Very restrained. 'Farmy' is the first thing that comes to mind. A little woody as well - more pine than oak.
Taste: Not too appealing. Smoky and medicinal with a complete lack of sweetness. Quite unpleasant.
Score: 63 points - a very weak expression, proving that quality control at Signatory wasn't always important.

Glenugie 20yo 1966/1987 (46%, Cadenhead's dumpy bottle, Distilled 12/'66, Bottled 04/'87)
Nose: Grainy; a 'natural' malt. Some subtle farmy notes. Nice but not terribly expressive. Nutty. Faint organics.
Taste: Light and quite MOTR. Very slightly oily. It's juuuust satisfying enough for me to make it into the 80's...
Score: 80 points - which makes this Glenugie a recommendable whisky in my book.
Some other maniacs might recommend it even more aggressively...

Glenugie 1966/1986 (55%, Samaroli, 75cl, 480 Bottles)
Nose: Nondescript at first. Emerging coffee notes. Nothing else I could pick up. Very faint farmy notes?
Taste: Gritty at cask strength - and altogether fairly MOTR. No notable change after adding water.
Score: 75 points - but I should point out that once again some other maniacs would score it higher...

Glenugie 18yo 1959/1977 (80˚ Proof, Cadenhead dumpy, D 01/'59 - B 09/'77)
Nose: Light, sweet and subtle at first, opening up. Water melon. Strawberry. More gravitas. Tea. Farmy.
Taste: Phew! Another herbal one - almost perfumy. Loses a few points here, but it certainly has character!
Score: 89 points - quite unique with time. The nose of this Glenugie qualifies it for a score in the 90's.
Unfortunately, the palate doesn't...
 

And there's more to tell about Glenugie...

These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glenugie Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Glenugie page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Glenugie expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.) 
 

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