The rebirth of a distillery is always worth celebrating. But in the case of Glengoyne this is particularly so because the new ownership is taking an admirably rebellious approach to making—and promoting—its whiskies. Geographically, Glengoyne is neither Lowlands nor Highlands. It is sited just a few miles from Glasgow, making it one of Scotland's most accessible distilleries. It is very pretty too, with a stream running through it and a waterfall cascading behind it. But it's not a well-known distillery, and the owner, the independent bottling company Ian Macleod, intends to do something about that. A new visitor center opened in May.
The whisky, too, is between homes. It's sweet and light but rich, creamy, fruity and clean. It's made using the Golden Promise strain of barley, a high-quality but relatively low-yielding malt that very few distilleries (one of which is Macallan) bother with. Glengoyne has another boast, too: It is unpeated. With current trends favoring the heavily peated styles of Islay, this could have been a negative. Not here. The company claims that, as a result, the true subtleties of the whisky are on full display.
The seventeen-year-old ($70; call 800-255-1350 to find a local retailer) is rich and oaky with fresh fruit notes. Or if you can find it, try the fifteen-year-old Scottish Oak Wood Finish, which is a rarity because most of the available stock ended up in Scotland's parliament buildings.
The Glengoyne Distillery (011-44/1360-550-254, glengoyne.com) is located in Dumgoyne, near Killearn, Glasgow. It's fifteen minutes north of both the Glasgow city center and the airport. Tours are given hourly from 104 Monday to Saturday and 124 on Sunday. Should you have time for a round nearby, Buchanan Castle Golf Club (011-44/1360-660-307) is a 1936 James Braid design in Drymen, another fifteen minutes north on the eastern edge of Loch Lomand. It's a forested delight, and welcoming to visitors. At just 6,052 yards, the challenge is in navigating the tall trees and Braid's signature doglegs.