Glenglassaugh Sandend named ‘Whisky of the Year 2023’ byt Whisky Advocate

Glenglassaugh Sandend has been named ‘Whisky of the Year 2023’. The expression, created by Master Blender Rachel Barrie was released in June this year and took the top spot in Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of the Year, one of the most coveted global accolades in the industry, winning in a ‘nearly unanimous vote’.

The expression takes inspiration from the crescent beach of Sandend Bay which is overlooked by the distillery and is matured in bourbon, sherry, and manzanilla casks, bringing luscious waves of tropical sweetness with a touch of sea salt. The whisky captures the coastal elements of Glenglassaugh’s signature style and is shaped by the influences of the surrounding land and sea, the rolling farmland of Portsoy, and the North Sea views of Sandend that play an intrinsic part of creating Glenglassaugh Single Malt.

For over two decades Glenglassaugh Distillery lay silent, a hidden gem on Scotland’s rugged north east coastline, until it was re-awakened in 2008. Earlier this year, Master Blender Rachel Barrie introduced a new portfolio and reimagined design direction, inspired by the distillery’s stunning natural surroundings.

Rachel Barrie, Master Blender at Glenglassaugh Distillery, said:

“Glenglassaugh’s spirit is inspired by the truly unique coastal location. A sip of Sandend awakens the senses, transporting you to the north east coast where our warehouses stand against the elements. On the nose, soft, sweet vanilla is drenched in tropical fruit, with chocolate and a touch of sea salt whilst waves of salted-caramel with a burst of pineapple, cherry and grapefruit awaken the palette.

“Receiving this accolade, and joining such an illustrious list of previous winning expressions, and indeed runners up, cements our place at the table amongst industry giants. Next year we will be bottling a number of historic releases, dating back to the 60s and 70s, which is incredibly exciting.”

With over 30 years of service to the whisky industry, Master Blender Rachel Barrie has been at the helm of Brown-Forman’s Single Malts portfolio which has enjoyed a string of successes over the past six years. Alongside Sandend, Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 12 was awarded the number 10 spot in this year’s lineup whilst prior to this Glendronach Portwood Single Malt (2021) and Benriach The Smoky 12 (2020) were included in Whisky Advocate’s ‘most exciting whiskies of the year’ round-up.

To determine the annual Top 20, Whisky Advocate reviewers sampled hundreds of “outstanding” whisk(e)ys looking at quality, value and availability. The Top 20 whiskies represent a curated collection that ‘deserve notice’.