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Before dinner or after? With coffee, chocolate, or a cigar? These are just some of the moments for malt. There are suggestions with every entry ...








A secret no longer
I was introduced to malt whisky by a fellow journalist in Edinburgh. I was young to have discovered spirits, especially one thought to be for adults only. My first malt was Glen Grant 12-year-old, flowery and seductively sweet. An older colleague warned that the kiss of spirits led to moral decline, but it was too late. I had lost my virginity to a single malt. The sensuous pleasures are still being delivered with every dram, but a good four decades later, I have spent more time in the ascendant: clambering up the granite slopes of the Grampians in search of water sources; high in the Spey Valley, bracing myself as Macallan tries to sow barley against a headwind; feeling the salt stinging my face as high seas break against the rocky shores of Islay. Even the southerly climes of Spain and Missouri offered snowy hillsides when I went prospecting for the resiny European oak and the sweeter American variety, which are required to make casks for Macallan and Glenmorangie respectively. There was a welcome warmth in the flames, smoke, and steam as the coopers of Andalusia and Kentucky wrestled 100-year-old oaks into roundness. A cooperage can be Dante-esque, but that is as close as I have been to the Inferno. The disposition of gods and angels are important too, as I have been reminded on the sites of abbeys in Scotland and temples in Japan. All of these influences make themselves felt in its aromas and flavours; the spirit of earth, wind, and fire reaches the glass. But where to raise the glass? A soft morning in Cork or Antrim is one pleasure, a foggy evening in Nova Scotia or Northern California quite another; the rituals of Kyoto’s old town something else. It is the experience offered by the whisky itself that has always been my greatest interest. In trying better to understand this, I began 30 years ago by reading authors such as Barnard, Bruce Lockhart, Daiches, Gunn, and McDowell. They told me about the process of whisky making, its lore, history, and geography, but little about aroma or taste. At that time, malt whisky was very much a local drink in the Highlands. Even in Edinburgh many pubs were innocent of malts. Those that did stock this most rooted of Scottish drinks rarely had









more than one example. Glens Fiddich, Farclas, and Morangie were to be seen here and there, but not much else. Scotland’s great national drink was almost a secret. I had written the odd short piece on the subject in the 1970s, but started more serious research in the 1980s. In those earliest days, my questions about single malts were not welcomed by some of the more conservative souls in the industry. Malt whisky, in their view, belonged only in blends. Their myopia was perhaps forgivable: blended Scotch whisky was the world’s most popular drink, and its sales were built on brand loyalty. Attempts to describe aromas and flavours and explore connoisseurship might unsettle such loyalties. This was whisky, not wine or food. Writing on whisky was a lonely business, but I was given great encouragement by Wallace Milroy and Derek Cooper. My first book on the subject was The World Guide to Whisky, published in 1987, and this was quickly followed by malt whisky book in 1989. No other writer had attempted so thoroughly to describe the taste of individual whiskies, discussed so many, or taken the controversial step of scoring them. In that first edition, there were fewer than 250 tasting notes. By the fourth edition, the tally had gone past 750. In this new, fifth edition, I have exceeded 1000. Keeping up is ever more difficult, not only because of the numbers, but also due to the many bottlings that bear a vintage date or celebrate a special occasion. They flirt for a moment, and then are gone. While I am forever keen to include new bottlings, I hesitate to exclude old ones. This is not just to boost the numbers. It is also to recognize that, while the distillery, merchant, importer, or distributor may long have sold out, the consumer might still find the bottling in one of America’s huge drinks supermarkets or in a stylish malts bar in Tokyo or Sapporo. Where a bottling is now hard to find, I have indicated that. The diversity of malts has greatly increased consumers’ interest in whiskies of all types. Their questions are being answered by a growing number of writers. In the United States, the magazine Malt Advocate was established in 1987 to cover both beer and whisky, but has increasingly concentrated on the latter. Whisky Magazine, founded in 1998 in Britain, has an international audience. Malt whisky can no longer be regarded as a minor interest reserved for Caledonophiles.


others originally established to make grape brandies In addition. Steam Beer has a fermentation system traditional to the West Coast. and in the 1990s. the Glenora distillery seems finally to be on a firm footing. a rehabbed neighbourhood of design studios and art galleries. Distillation takes place in a pot still. were beginning to produce malt makes gin. a survivor from the California Gold Rush. and no other grain is used. Old Rye revivalist Potrero was first reviewed in the fourth edition of A single malt rye this book. the new and cheese. new styles. enterprises. It is a handsome distillery. on Potrero Hill. the Anchor Steam Beer brewery. Buddhists in Bladnoch? No. but have now spread further afield (see pp. it is the vent on the retired maltings. Like the first microbreweries. At that time.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS WHaT’S NEW? TRENDS IN mALTS M new distilleries. Canada. ALT WHISKY IS BLOSSOMING AS NEVER BEFORE: M ICRODI S TI L L ER I ES The term “micro” is more commonly applied to the very small breweries that have blossomed in the United States. a pagoda. The brewery and distillery are in the same premises. wine. small distilleries began in the wine regions of the west. In San Francisco. but they arise from passion and individuality. New products line the shelves in airport shops and specialist wine merchants. whiskies. The rye is malted. How can whisky be simultaneously deeply rooted and dynamic? There are trends and fashions. new stars. of Anchor Brewing. has been an inspiration for the micro movement. especially during the 1980s and 1990s. On Cape Breton Island. after 10 years of intermittent production and sporadic bottlings. several other small is just one revival from Fritz Maytag. some of them based in beer breweries. with a restaurant and Born-again Bladnoch Small is beautiful in this typical distillery hamlet. Instead of a church tower. in the province of Nova Scotia (meaning “New Scotland”). Several versions of a single malt rye have been produced and marketed. 434–38). the company launched a traditional interpretation of rye whiskey. he also or fruit eaux-de-vie. 9 .

St David’s Day. The nation’s patron saint surely enjoyed the meaty. The notion of “down-sizing” an existent distillery to make it viable has also been pursued by the renowned merchant Gordon & MacPhail. the town of Lahti. Penderyn Single Malt. a nearby farm. it could be applied to these projects. This has been completely re-equipped for smaller-scale production. In the Lowlands. they installed a small still and began to produce single malt. spicy. in Wales. 10 . Meanwhile. has obtained planning permission for a distillery. They aim to start distilling late in 2004. and rum casks. In a region known for the cultivation of malting barley. called Daft Mill (sic). The whisky bears the name of the village where it is distilled. the Bladnoch distillery. work is proceeding on a distillery to be called Ladybank. Blackwood. The aim is to operate part-time. in the Brecon Beacons National Park. County Westmeath. plans have been announced to open a new distillery in Kilbeggan. In 2001. and perhaps to several others. which had been silent for 75 years. In the Scottish county of Fife. and are not in the business of building “brands”.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS hotel. plans were also announced for the Shetland Isles’ first legal distillery. has for eight years enjoyed beer brewed at the Teerenpeli bar (“the flirt”). on the Baltic coast of Sweden. The use of barley contracted from local farms to produce identified bottlings has also been a feature at the old-established Springbank distillery of Campbeltown. The common feature is that these are not owned by national or international groups. Publican Anssi Pyysing and wife Marianne began to buy malt whisky from Scotland and finish it in sherry. The Mackmyra distillery has been established on a site that made vodka in the 1800s. In Ireland. near Aberdare. In a wintry location across the Atlantic. The Gwalia Distillery. its owners began work on the refitting of the Glengyle distillery. In 2002. brandy. While the term “microdistillery” is not widely used in Scotland. This venture is not connected with the former Locke’s distillery. at Gavle. which matures whisky from Cooley. with an emphasis on local sales. reopened as a “micro”. the world’s northernmost whisky distillery ran its first spirit at the end of 1999. producing whisky primarily for bottling as a single malt. which had been closed for 10 years. Finland. The plan is to use barley from identified local farms. released its first whisky on 1 March 2004. At the opposite end of Scotland. which bought the silent Benromach distillery on Speyside. in a dramatically beautiful location in an area noted for its festivals of Scottish music. minty.

Japan. Soon afterwards. or style. Nonetheless. usually a dozen or 20. Thus was endorsed the notion that small is beautiful. The samples were kept within categories. A Lowland Scotch did not find itself being compared with a bourbon. This distillery was built in the 1930s in the fishing village of Yoichi. a total of around 300 whiskies had been reviewed by the magazine’s two regular critics. all the whisky regions. by panels whose membership read like a Who’s Who? of the whisky world. when it was acquired by Andrew Symington of the independent bottlers Signatory. That such a body Winning whisky The most Scottish-looking distillery in Japan makes the most Scottish-tasting whisky. Each edition of the magazine carries a blindfold judging of new releases. so that the whiskies were judged more or less like with like. This was returned to private ownership in 2002. It was a 10-year-old. country. Prior to the inception of this new “contest”. albeit broader. single cask malt whisky from the Nikka Distillery of Yoichi in Hokkaido. but Whisky Magazine’s 2001 “Best of the Best” judging had a similar significance for Japanese malt whisky. These “best” whiskies were now judged blindfold in Edinburgh. north of Sapporo. After the first two or three years of the magazine.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS Pending the opening of the various planned distilleries. Hokkaido. nor a Canadian with a Japanese. and styles had been sampled. in which some of the great French châteaux were outscored by Californian vineyards. Scotland’s smallest distillery was Edradour. there was still a highest scorer in the entire tasting. 11 . Kentucky. RE C O G N IZI NG JA PA NES E M ALT S It was not quite as dramatic as the 1976 “Judgment of Paris”. and Tokyo. a 1986 vintage of this malt was made available to members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society as a monthly selection. countries. so it was decided to compare the highest scorers from those tastings with the “winners” from each flight of new releases. who had awarded metaphorical “medals” to about 50 of the best of them. There is also always a tasting of a similar proportion based on a region.

described by one Scottish whisky maker as being “unspeakably good”. Then when. also went back into production. In 2002. and Jim McEwan. leafy. The guest of honour was Takeshi Taketsuru. Soon afterwards. with a suggestion of garden mint. another single cask ten-year-old from Nikka was among the high scorers. Bruichladdich has since released a dozen bottlings (see pp. 149–57). the digestif was the Nikka 1986. At the time. who founded Nikka and was the original consultant on whisky to Suntory. and has released about 20 bottlings since (see pp. spicy. Port Ellen. peaty. This meant that all the workable distilleries on the island were in operation. in 2001. The most exciting reopenings have been on the western whisky island of Islay. TH E FA SH I ONA B I L I TY OF I SLAY The openings and reopenings that excited malt lovers at the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s have a westerly bias. At the dinner. It is a complex. which are in an historic wine cellar in Leith. still had its full complement of Bruichladdich’s back Opening day. The Ardbeg distillery reopened under new ownership just before the last edition of this book was published in 2000. Bruichladdich reopened. but it was beaten by Suntory’s Hibiki 21-year-old. introduces past managers of the distillery. and resiny. a minty. 12 . there was a sense of confirmation: Islay really was experiencing a revival. son of Masakata Taketsuru. one of the principals. which had been experiencing a lengthy silent season. also under new ownership. 97–101).WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS should select a Japanese whisky was deemed worthy of a celebratory dinner at the society’s headquarters. creamy whisky. which closed in 1983. which is renowned for the intensity of its malts. It was decided to hold the “Best of the Best” every alternate year. Bunnahabhain. wintry whisky: smoky.

When Shetland’s proposed Blackwood distillery was announced. is triple distilled. Singles shop It looks like an ordinary corner shop. from unpeated malt. described as two-and-a-half times. nor is its product the rarest. The original Bruichladdich is lightly peated. by definition. but the converse does not apply. p.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS distillery buildings. The original Springbank whisky is distilled in an odd configuration. 246). pp. but Eaglesome’s in Campbeltown is a shrine to malt whisky. The most interesting example is the Springbank distillery. The first Hazelburn is expected to be bottled in 2006. Only a handful of distilleries have done this in the past (see. Longrow. they line its shelves with rare whiskies. the principals indicated that both unpeated and heavily peated whiskies would be produced. but two more assertive spirits are now distilled. from heavily peated malt. but no equipment. Port Ellen has become something of a cult whisky. MULTI PL E M A LTS A single malt. which combines both approaches. the last by the middle of the current decade. from medium-peated malt. under the names Port Charlotte and Octomore. Glenburgie and its Lomond stills. is double distilled. A second whisky. It was believed that two or three further bottlings might be released. A third. Together. 54–63). It was bought by the owners of the Springbank distillery and the bottlers Cadenhead. Plans to retain the 19th-century former kilns but demolish a pagoda and the still-house building were disclosed in 2002. The use of different peating levels was one of the first innovations from the new owners at Bruichladdich. An “official” bottling of Port Ellen had been released earlier. A single distillery can make more than one malt: either by using a different configuration of stills or different levels of peating. for example. It is by no means the only malt from a dismantled distillery. but the combination of location and quality seals its status (see “Regional Variations”. Hazelburn. 13 . emanates from just one distillery. with a recommended price of £110/$170.

the last whisky wasn’t. or puncheons that formerly contained sherry. 14 . Some connoisseurs like to have this information for its own sake. or accompanying booklets) the type of casks used in the maturation of a particular whisky. The Glenmorangie distillery. and Sauternes (2002). Missouri Oak Reserve was matured throughout in new American barrels. A further version is Glenfiddich Havana Reserve. has stepped up the frequency and diversity of its wood finishes. These casks are made from American oak. First came a version of the honey-tasting Balvenie finished in casks that had previously matured an Islay malt (believed to be Laphroaig). Perhaps feeling it had been on too rich a diet. but it is usually a marriage (or “vatting”) of several production runs. which is finished in rum casks. Glenmorangie put down its wine glass for a moment at the end of 2002. Some prized examples have included Côte de Nuits (launched in 2000). the counter argument is that their individuality and colour attract attention to whisky as a whole. Some of the most innovative essays have emerged from William Grant & Sons. boxes. which pioneered the technique in the mid-1990s. The most traditional types of cask are hogsheads. such as wood finishes. These may be made from either European (usually Spanish) or American oak. and the number of times they have been filled with whisky. reviewed in the fourth edition of this book. The type of sherry might be anything from from the delicate fino to the rich Pedro Ximénez. Caoran achieves its peaty character by spending time in Islay casks. drawn from a variety of casks. its Gaelic name referring to the embers of a peat fire. For example. Côte de Beaune (2001).WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS ID E N TI F Y I NG TH E C A S K By definition. butts. But although the year was finished. which now number about 20. This was followed by Glenfiddich Caoran. are also beginning to influence blends. Techniques from the world of malts. “first-fill” casks impart much more aroma and flavour than “refill” casks. has proven to be more than a fad. and Scottish distillers today more commonly use barrels that formerly contained Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whisky. but it also helps the potential buyer to understand what to expect from the whisky. The information supplied might include the type of sherry formerly contained in the casks. Some Scottish distillers have begun to itemize (on labels. Sherry casks are expensive. a bottle of single malt contains whisky from just one distillery. WOOD F I NI S H ES This trend. While the industry still sometimes perceives malt whiskies as being rarefied.

Dr Bill Lumsden. The term “wood finish” implies that the whisky first had its normal maturation. The finishing of Speyside whiskies in Islay woods raised a difficult question: if there is any residual Islay whisky in the “empty” cask when it is filled. bearing the company’s name. is even more innovative. from the Caledonian Brewery of Edinburgh. but may occasionally last for a year or two. This is labelled William Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve. isn’t the result a vatted malt rather than a single? It would follow that. This often only lasts for six months. port pipe. sherry. or whatever. has a special interest in wood. William Grant’s own blend. the principal maturation of Glenmorangie is usually in American white oak from the Ozark mountains. it assumes that 15 . the end result would not be a pure whisky of any kind. and not traditional. if there were any residual port.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS The finishing touch Glemorangie was a pioneer of distillery bottlings at cask strength and of wood finishes. on the grounds that “finishing” is a marketing device. typically malty Scottish ale. The technique is controversial on several counts. The first two examples were The Famous Grouse Islay Wood Finish and Port Wood Finish. While a wide variety of cooperage from the wine industry is used in “finishing”. or madeira. and has then been reracked into a wine barrique. one of the new generation of whisky makers. While such vigilance has protected the integrity of Scotch whisky. for the finishing touch. with a version finished in casks that previously contained a strong. madeira drum. Some traditionalists object in principle. usually in either bourbon or sherry wood.

the ambient temperature. malaga. Irish Distillers Limited.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS nothing has ever changed. C A S K S TR ENGTH Cask strength whiskies were a novelty a decade ago. for example. the style of construction of the warehouse. In the 2000s. 16 . a sample drawn from the cask could still be in the 60s. The size of this “angels’ share” varies considerably. As the term “cask strength” implies.5 per cent of the volume per year. and that they did not mature it. Depending on these factors. the age and size of the cask. Diageo later added a selection of limited bottlings under the rubric “cask strength”. the company introduced versions of more than 30 malts subtitled “natural cask strength”. Among them are the height at which the casks are stacked. The extent to which this has now changed is illustrated by the number of recent bottlings in this style from United Distillers (now Diageo). The likelihood is that the first Scottish distillers had used herbs in their whisky. So the term “cask strength” does suggest something more potent than usual. have records showing that their predecessor company was buying marsala. the weather during its years of maturation. It is usually collected from the still at an average strength between the mid. The water is felt to “open up” the spirit and help it to mature. Bushmills has produced a number of wood finishes but. not only in respect of finishes. Bushmills’ owners. Customs and excise allows the angels to take a maximum of 2. the contribution of wood to aroma and flavour is increasingly appreciated. and madeira casks in the late 1800s and continued to do so until the eve of the First World War. During ageing. The company’s rare malts. or may have dropped into the 50s or lower. Were they “traditional”? Today.or lower 70s and upper 60s. and the duration of the storage. An interesting regime reviewed in the fourth edition of this book was that applied to the 16-year-old version of Bushmills Malt: equal proportions of whiskey (the Irish spelling) are matured in sherry butts and first-fill bourbon barrels. like several other distilleries. It is sometimes reduced with water to the mid-60s before being filled into casks. the spirit enjoys a variety of potencies on its way to the bottle. then married in port pipes. a substantial volume of spirit is lost through evaporation. has also released malt whiskies matured throughout in woods other than the traditional sherry or bourbon. were an early recognition of connoisseur interest in whisky at “full” strength. and is influenced by many factors.

and Prohibition in the US and several other countries. All the others use central bottling plants and reduce with de-natured water. They were one of the inspirations behind the founding in 1983 of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Bruichladdich (whose new owners installed the equipment). These are therefore the only distilleries that can reduce their whiskies with the same water as they use in distillation. shops. Explaining the appeal of such It’s a steal When Glenmorangie first bottled its whisky at cask strength in 1990. The independent bottler Cadenhead and some of its competitors have since become protagonists of cask strength. the strength is normally reduced by dilution with water. in that it was once supplied in the wood to country houses. Glenmorangie commercially pioneered the rediscovery of this notion with its “Native Ross-shire” bottlings. and even bars. Similar standard or minimum strengths are applied to spirits in many countries. The very independent family distillers of Glenfarclas notably carried on the cask strength ideal in some of its bottlings. Concern about levels of drinking during this period gave rise to Britain’s laws on pub hours. it sported a mock-rustic label design. The only distilleries with bottling lines are Springbank (which also produces Longrow and Hazelburn). In 1990. it is unlikely to have reached either of these levels by evaporation. farms. Had the consumer stolen the whisky? 17 . and are widely enshrined in laws. During this period. They therefore regard their whiskies as being “château-bottled”. The industry has taken action to make the latter an international minimum. In conventional bottlings. duties. and taxes. Unless a whisky is very old indeed. which grew from a group of friends who formed a syndicate to buy at cask strength.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS The appeal to the consumer might diminish if evaporation had taken the alcohol below the levels at which malts are conventionally sold: 42 per cent (for “De Luxe” or “Export” bottlings) or 40 per cent. and Glenfiddich (with sisters Balvenie and Kininvie). whisky was sold at 37. Many of these measures have their origins in legislation passed at around the time of the First World War.2 per cent in Britain. Whisky has always in a small way been available at cask strength.

WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS editions. but it could be a vatting of several production runs. and creamy in style should. The person in charge of the vatting will choose his casks to achieve a desired character in the end result. A cold winter may make for a more effective condensation of vapours. VINTAGE EDI TI ONS The grape may be far more temperamental than the grain. such as Knockando. the weather during maturation is almost certainly more important. Some malts. and cuts of spirit are wider. but barley has its moments. indeed. He may also aim for what is considered to be a desirable alcohol content. some quirk of the moment. Weather over the growing season may produce a richer or more delicious barley in a particular year. in the case of a cask strength whisky. most malt is today less heavily peated than it was. rather than simply the age. The Glenlivet Vintage. Consumers may still wish to add water but. Despite the potential of the alcohol to anaesthetize the palate. a selection from the 1960s and 1970s. reverses such “progress” for a year or two. such as Glenfiddich and Balvenie. they (rather than the bottler) choose how great the dilution. quote on their labels the dates of distillation and bottling. some whisky drinkers do like to drink their malt at cask strength. creamier spirit. it has been argued that the spirit differs more from one batch to the next than it does between years. be allowed to show its texture without being watered. have in recent years made it an annual ritual to delve into their stocks and select one or more casks of very old whisky to bottle as a vintage edition. and therefore a cleaner. It is whisky as at source.” The term “cask strength” indicates that the whisky has not been reduced. Others. The quality of the distiller’s water may vary according to the weight of rainfall and the depth and speed of mountain streams. Some whiskies matured in sherry casks can “fall apart” if substantial amounts of water are added. from several casks. and it might be argued more generally that a whisky which is rich. Despite all of this. simply because its influence is exerted over a number of years. Changes in production methods over the years are also an influence. A vintage edition contains whisky from just one identified year. Whatever the quality of the spirit. stills are run faster. a marketing man at Glenmorangie said: “This is as near as you can get to sneaking up to the distillery in the middle of the night and tapping a cask. In general. Occasionally. was the first such official bottling from a 18 . or even a particular distillery manager. malty.

U NCH I L L F I LTER ED Conventional malts are usually chilled before being despatched. S I NGL E CA S K Many “vintage” bottlings are from a single cask. to be able to exercise choice.WHAT ’S NEW ? TRENDS IN MALTS distillery company. It indicates a whisky for people who like their meat on the bone or their bread crusty. Each of the three terms makes a slightly different promise. The haze comprises protein and other elements. In 2002. which have dropped out of suspension. This pre-empts a protein haze forming if the purchaser of the whisky keeps it in the fridge. they do not require such mollycoddling. Their growing popularity reflects the desire of discerning consumers to be better informed about the products they buy. as are many “cask strength” bottlings. and published The Definitive Guide to Buying Vintage Macallan. 1861. “Unchillfiltered” is a clumsy term to find on a label. hence the term “single cask”. Macallan made vintages from 1926 to 1972 available. 1874. In removing the haze. High society The tasting panel at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society chooses treats for its members. Since 1996. with more to come. As true whisky lovers do neither. The avoidance of chill filtration was part of the society’s raison d’être. These are then removed by filtration. the distillery has also made vattings that attempt to match the character of rare bottlings from 1841. but they can overlap or coincide. 19 . The drop in temperature causes them to become cloudy. or adds ice to his drink. chill filtration also strips out some flavour elements. but it should be welcomed nonetheless. and sometimes to prefer individuality to consistency. notably including fatty acids. This unusual venture is known as “The Replica Range”. and 1876. It was reviewed in the fourth edition of this book.


vaporizes in the still. sweet. A smoky. tastings. Finding flavours and aromas is a sensuous activity. Lowlanders are few. MALT WHISKY HAS A STARTLING PURITY. sometimes over a peat fire. The rock from which the water rises will influence the character of the whisky. becomes liquid once more in the condenser. its previous contents. perhaps even centuries. filters through rock for decades. and whisky festivals are popular. they appeal to people who are individualists.WHY MALTS ? THE PLEASURES OF THE PURSUIT WHY MALTS? An instant guide to the pleasures of the pursuit A The snow melts on the mountains. the partially germinated grain is dried. Malt lovers like to learn – classes. spicy flavours. from the wood used. For people who enjoy a spirit with flavour. The flavours in a blended Scotch are usually more restrained. but they can be appetizingly grassy and herbal. The water irrigates the barley in the field. and this will impart smokiness. and often very complex. honeyed. Similar characteristics can be influenced by the size and shape of the stills. and leaves it as whisky. THE FLAVOUR of malted barley is always present to a degree. Naturally enough. medicinal malt from the coasts or islands of Scotland is a spirit of unrivalled power on the palate. 72–3). persuades it to germinate in the maltings. clean. THE INDIVIDUALITY of malts is what makes each so different. The yeasts used in fermentation can create fruity. but there are many other elements. In the process of malting. enters the cask as spirit. then tumbles down a hillside. until it finds land flat enough and warm enough to grow barley. and the atmosphere it breathes (see pp. Further aromas and flavours are assumed during maturation in the cask. as they might be in a cognac. bubbles out of a spring. The vegetation over which it flows can also be an influence. A Speysider may be sherryish. seaweedy. which also affect the richness and weight of the spirit. malt whisky at its most robust is a world champion. becomes beer when the yeast is added. Those who suffer from fear of flavour might feel safer with white rums or vodkas. flowery. and restorative. 21 . infuses its natural sugars in the mash tun. T ITS SIMPLEST. earthy. Glass of 2004? Tasting glasses after a master class at Bruichladdich.

writer Martine Nouet conducts classes in cooking with whisky. bird-watching. Islay has a festival of whisky and folk music in late May. the malt with a meal. vintage-dated malts. THE DISTILLERIES are often in beautiful locations. and a diversity of wood finishes. the aperitif. Martine’s cuisine In Paris. THE VISIT Malt lovers often become passionate about Scotland itself. the malt with a cigar.WHY MALTS ? THE PLEASURES OF THE PURSUIT THE MOMENT for a malt may simply be the occasion for a sociable drink. To do this is to explore Scotland by nosing-glass. and the distilling town of Pitlochry has a summer theatre festival. Speyside has festivals in spring and autumn. and fishing. 441). especially Islay) are set in countryside offering outstanding opportunities for walking. THE CONNOISSEUR Just as wine enthusiasts progress from comparing vineyards or châteaux to assessing vintages. THE EXPLORATION Malt drinkers rarely stick to one distillery. This armchair exploration often leads on to the real thing. or with a book at bedtime. Most are quite small. especially Speyside. 22 . there is no end to this pleasure. they very happily accompany some dishes. but some pleasures are more particular: the restorative after a walk in the country or a game of golf. Some have their own distinctive architecture. Some malt-loving chefs also like to use their favourite spirit as an ingredient (see p. and familiarizing themselves with the aromas and flavours of each. THE MEAL Although malt whiskies are more commonly served before or after a meal. most obviously sushi. They enjoy comparing malts from different regions. and it is not unknown for visiting malt lovers to strike up longterm friendships with distillery managers or workers. even. so malt lovers develop their own connoisseurship. A single distillery may offer malts of different ages. She drinks whisky with her meals. The principal whisky regions (the Highlands. the digestif. a variety of strengths. As new bottlings are constantly being released. Whisky tourism extends beyond visits to distilleries. and the Islands. climbing. occasionally.

While the distillers involved have been perfectly respectable. It can just happen. some investment companies have behaved less scrupulously. Martin Green. but this has not been a great success. and its whisky expert. It may not be a conscious decision. Care is advised.500 (about $360. No one can be certain how well the cask will age. importer and distributor Norman Shelley bought 76 bottles of Macallan. There are famous collectors in Brazil. Now he has 2500 bottles in his private collection.000 (about $38. For the collector’s friends. In the 1990s.000). and the payment of duties and taxes. leather-upholstered Bentleys. Within two or three years. In 2002. complicates the calculations. Some collectors have backgrounds in the trade. The most serious collections are often found in countries with a nostalgia for the Britain of gentlemen’s clubs. ranging from current 30-year-olds to 1856 bottlings.WHY MALTS ? THE PLEASURES OF THE PURSUIT THE COLLECTOR Every lover of malt whiskies sooner or later becomes to some extent a collector. birthdays and Christmas are suddenly easy. the other to keep. Collections that began after the Second World War started to come up for sale in the 1980s. for an undisclosed price. THE INVESTOR 2 — EN PRIMEUR Some distillers have at times sold newly filled casks “en primeur”. Italy.000). Some buy two of every bottle: one to drink. The cost of storage during maturation. a well-authenticated single bottle of 62-year-old Dalmore fetched £25. the Scottish branch of the famous auction house Christie’s began to include whiskies once a year in its sales of fine wines. Some single malts have appreciated fivefold or even tenfold (although some bottles have proven to be fakes. 23 . Such collectors pour scorn on those who do not drink any of their whisky. the odd gift. whisky had been separated from wine. Christie’s Scotland then closed. Sukhinder Singh started with miniatures. Within two or three years. and Japan. nor how saleable a single cask of whisky will be when it is mature. a collection soon begins to represent a valuable asset. moved to Scottish auctioneers McTear’s. THE INVESTOR 1 — AUCTIONS Even if it was not bought for that purpose. In 1986. so care should be exercised). and rugby union. A few casual purchases. his collection was valued at £231. and is a whisky merchant. Sukinder’s stash In London.


This is sometimes described as the world’s first recipe of any kind. The first crop was a prototype barley. and the first explanation of its use is a depiction in Sumerian clay tablets of beer making. Staffa. occurs at several sites in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. is half-way towards the making of whisky. sugary juice. This is described poetically on clay tablets in “A Hymn to Ninkasi” (see p. When human beings ceased to be nomadic and settled in organized societies they did so in order to cultivate crops. This means that the grain is steeped in water. As hunter-gatherers. They did so in the form of beer. Road to the Isles A few miles from the Bushmills distillery in Ireland. as the water rose and fell in the flood plains of this land. though pictograms and relics suggest a grainy. and this process creates alcohol. transform it into malt and then into beer. barley staked out the beginning of civilization. The earliest evidence of this. between 13. human beings picked wild fruits such as grapes. This depiction bears a startling resemblance to the “traditional” beer still brewed in villages in some parts of Africa. porridgey beverage consumed through straws. The first whisky road … or the first whisky legend? 25 .000 and 8000 years ago. but this source of refreshment and nutrition had a short season and a propensity to rot (or spontaneously ferment) into wines. take a bite from an apple – grain is less yielding. Perhaps the huntergatherers enjoyed the effect.THE ORIGINS OF MALT WHISKY The origins of malt whisky W their roots in prehistory. HILE GRAPE VINES HAVE H A L F -WAY TO WH I S KY To grow barley. and then dried. The first step toward the unlocking of the sugars in barley and several other grains is the process of malting. The Sumerian civilization was on land that is today Iraq. While it is easy to obtain the sugars from fruit – peel me a grape. partially germinated. It may be that malting occurred naturally while the barley was still in the field. and Mull. but wine did not provide them with any much needed protein. Fruits take up rainfall from the soil and turn it into highly fermentable. It seems likely that at this stage the Sumerians had no more precise aim than to make grain edible. this remarkable rock formation heads for Fingal’s Cave. Wild yeasts trigger fermentation. 26).

. Grain and water meet . sensuous. The Greeks also called all “strangers” Celts. capricious grape and the tall. the Baltic and Nordic states. The soft. Scotland. The Romans called them Gallic people. and Belgium. So are the distilling towns of Cork and Midleton in Ireland. and Scotland. France. To the east. the Russians use rye to make kvass. preferred today by many brewers. who urged his 26 . barley is brewed. and the Greek historian Herodotus tells us that the Armenians made “barley water”. It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. To the north. by Miguel Civil. The northeast of Ireland and the western isles of Scotland have associations with St Columba. 1800BC). To the west. It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. resilient grain compete to make the world’s greatest drinks: fermented and distilled. The words “brewed” and “bread” have the same etymology. found on tablets at several sites in Iraq. Translated in 1964. All of these countries also produce distilled counterparts. Wine is made in the grape-growing south: Greece.. in the “Hymn to Ninkasi” (c. which is fermented to produce saké. and. Ninkasi. The term “Galatian” was also used by the Roman author Columella to describe the two-row “race” of barley. Belgium. Italy. and a part of Turkey is known as Galatia. of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.. Most of the early brewing sites in England. and the Ukraine. So perhaps the brewing of barley malt spread by way of Armenia. The first evidence of malting? If the cultivation of grain originally radiated from the first civilization of the Ancient World. Bavaria. notably sites in Bohemia. Modern-day Iraq is due south of Armenia. Sites that were Celtic settlements are even today known for the brewing of beer. and the British Isles. spiky. and Ireland are on the locations of former abbeys. Germany. with breweries. Iberia. in Germany. The spirits belt links Russia.THE ORIGINS OF MALT WHISKY When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat. the Chinese and Japanese grow rice. Many of these sites later gave rise to abbeys. but the real emphasis on spirits is in the colder countries. The weather divides temperate Europe into wine and beer belts. Poland. . Georgia. Beer belongs to the grainy north: the Czech Republic. the crop itself varied from place to place.. you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat. delicate. beer is sometimes known as “liquid bread”.

then whisky. All spirit drinks were originally made in a batch process in a vessel that superficially resembles a kettle or cooking pot. but he left us the first evidence. in various spellings.THE ORIGINS OF MALT WHISKY community of Iona to grow barley. In 1494. being wraith-like. rather than the more “evolved” golden lager of Continental Europe. or where. in English. in the production of medicines and alcoholic drinks. or beer. “PL A I N M A LT” In the mid-1700s. He probably wasn’t the first malt distiller. The fermented raw material – wine or beer – is boiled to make steam. may have given rise to the English word “spirit” or to the German “Geist” (ghost). a distinction was made in Scotland between flavoured spirits and “plain malt”. Evaporation and condensation occur in nature. in various spellings. of Lindores Abbey in Fife. by alchemists. 27 . To distil is to boil the water. in Slavic countries. TH E A RT OF DI S TI L L ATI O N It is easy to see how spontaneous fermentation provides a natural model for the first brewers. made from whatever was local. in the early days. As the first industrial nation. and malt whisky is still made in this way today. This last became usky. and fruits. eau-de-vie in French. wine. Friar Cor. and condense it back into liquid. aquavit. The “water of life” they call it: vodka. if the spirit emerged with flavours that were considered disagreeable. Britain shaped its beer and whisky with the early technologies of the Industrial Revolution: England’s “bright beer” was a copper-coloured pale ale. in Gaelic. by makers of perfumes and. whence it crossed the sea again to Ireland. via the Mediterranean and Spain. placed on record in the rolls of the Scottish Exchequer the purchase of malt “to make aqua vitae”. and. which. the salt in water) and concentrates others (such as the alcohol in wine or beer). But this “pot still” was an inefficient purification vessel. All of these terms at first simply indicated a distillate. but it is not clear when. This drives off certain substances (for example. eventually. a diminutive form. collect the steam. and usquebaugh. especially since condensation brings it back to life in a restored (and restorative) form. One theory has the Phoenicians bringing distillation to Western Europe. distillation was first practised. The process was used by Phoenician sailors to render sea water drinkable. Another theory has the art spreading by way of Russia and the Nordic countries to Scotland. berries. too. in Nordic lands. they were masked with spices.

a Scottish institution similar to an Blending the bottles The “medicine bottles” on Richard Patterson’s workbench contain the latest samples taken from casks of malt whiskies normally included in Whyte and Mackay’s blended Scotch. to hotels or pubs. and England. The last of these elements gradually became more significant from the late 1700s onwards. usually designed and built in Scotland. a few casks of malt whisky might be a hedge against a rainy day. That process was largely finished by the legislation of 1909–15. Patterson checks colour. which initially arose from a trading standards case in the London borough of Islington. A farm distillery would not have a bottling line. Scotland’s whisky remained a pot-still product. traditional in the aquavit of Scandinavia. The elements that go to make up a Scottish malt whisky are the local water. many grain-based spirits outside Britain employ a column still. a degree of peat. The casks could be sold directly to wealthy householders. pot stills. a grist comprising malted barley only. Legislation in 1824 to regulate this activity began the shaping of today’s industry. and ageing in oak casks. For the farmer-distiller. B LENDED S COTCH Like most drinks production. turned to an attractive complexity. in the gins of northern Germany. More specific flavourings include caraway and dill. and most are not aged. and juniper. In the coastal coves and Highland glens. the distilling of malt whisky in Scotland was originally a sideline for farmers. Most of the northern European countries use a generic term such as “schnapps” for a spirit. nose. with its own inherent flavours. palate – and adjusts accordingly.THE ORIGINS OF MALT WHISKY which was made using more advanced techniques. Flavoured or not. illicit distillation was rife. the Low Countries. and offer both plain and flavoured examples. together with botanical flavourings such as iris root and citrus peel. northern France. traditionally. 28 . or to a licensed grocer. Every cask is slightly different.

in the mid-1800s. and still active. two in London are still active: Justerini & Brooks and Berry Brothers & Rudd. The big drinks companies have been growing through mergers since the 1920s. A blend can contain anything from six or seven malts to 30 or 40. B O R N-AGA I N M A LTS More than 90 per cent of malt whisky still goes into blends. the columnshaped continuous still was patented. and George Ballantine. 29 . Vatting turned to blending when. can produce whisky that is lighter in flavour and body. teachers. William Grant & Sons. So rather than run out of farmer McSporran’s fine dram.THE ORIGINS OF MALT WHISKY American country store. and administrators for the empire. Scotland has about 100 malt distilleries. helped them become the world’s most popular spirits at a time when much of the globe was embraced by the British Empire. while a combination of pot-still malt whiskies add character and individuality. Some became famous: names such as Chivas Brothers. Mountainous Scotland. The volume afforded by blended Scotches. and supply would be irregular. Grant’s were not dissuaded. The industry view was that single malts belonged to the past. and that the dominant position of the blends could not be challenged. Happily. with its long coastline. They also exchange malts with one another. but to actively market their whisky as a single malt. Johnnie Walker. soldiers. (The outstanding example of such a shop. producers of Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Each turned out also to be a propagandist for the virtues of his country’s greatest product. Each farmer’s whisky would vary from one year to the next.) One or two renowned distillers might sell their whisky to a wine merchant. and in larger quantities than a pot still. of which about two thirds are working at any one time. and their less challenging style. This type of still. engineers. Column-still whisky provides the bulk of a blend. It can also produce whisky more quickly. explorers. A round of mergers after the Second World War left the handful of remaining independent distillers feeling vulnerable. operated on an industrial scale. at a lower cost. is Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin. decided they no longer wished to rely on supplying blenders. The drinks companies like to own the distilleries whose malt whiskies are vital to their blends. All but a handful are owned by international drinks companies whose products include blended Scotches. Among the wine merchants known for their bottlings. sometimes as far away as Edinburgh or London. the licensed grocers would vat the malts and sell the result under their own label. had provided mariners.


in breads. water-based extract of malt sugars is sold as a tonic. sweet malt sugars. Single malt whiskies are often referred to simply as “malts”. They are constantly raked. cakes. but also looks briefly at grain whisky. including ventilated boxes and rotating drums. An ever-evolving series of barley varieties is used for malting. There are several other methods. either as whole grains or milled. to encourage their sprouting (or partial germination). the sprouting continues with the grains spread on a stone floor. What is the difference. The grains are first steeped in water. The grain is always barley if the end result is to be malt whisky in the Scottish or Irish style. The main body of the book. These are required to produce plump kernels and clean. as in the case of Old Potrero rye.THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL C was aroused in 2003 when Cardhu single malt was relaunched as a pure malt. The premises in which it takes place is called a maltings. Those that employ no other grain are known as malt whisky. but a section at the back deals with products from other countries – these are malt whiskies. Other grains can be malted and used in other whiskies. and Aberlour provides every last detail when you make your own vatting and bottling at the distillery’s visitor centre. The grains look drier and slightly darker after being malted for distillation. Detailed dram Malt lovers like to know what they are drinking. and why did it matter? This book is primarily concerned with malt whisky. the A–Z section. the process of malting in part parallels the crush in wine making or brandy distilling. Floor malting requires a lot of space and is labour-intensive. Almost all types of whisky employ a proportion of malt. What do they say about the liquid in the bottle? ONTROVERSY MALT Cereal grain that has been partially sprouted – in preparation for the release of its fermentable sugars – then dried in a kiln. Just as grapes are also eaten or used to provide juice. so malted barley is used. but not Scotches. For the beer brewer or whisky distiller. Traditionally. and milk shakes. 31 . but is felt by many to produce the most delicious result. to keep them aerated. or turned with a shovel. is devoted only to single malt Scotches. The farmer distinguishes between malting barley and feed barley for cattle. A syrupy. All of these overlapping terms are employed in labelling.

SINGLE MALT WHISKY Malt whisky produced in a single distillery. or the country of publication. Some very serious malt whiskies are made in Japan. although any nation can call a product whisky. such as Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. and matured in oak. The pot-still shape is more evident when the whole vessel is visible. It is the type of whisk(e)y: thus Scottish and Canadian “whisky”. that should determine the spelling. generally favour the “e”. Typically distilled in a batch process. Scotland has by far the most malt distilleries: just under a hundred. There is a misunderstanding that there are British and American spellings of this term. MALT WHISKY Whisky made only from malted barley. but some labels dissent. and a scattering elsewhere in the world. SCOTCH WHISKY This term can be applied only to a whisky made in Scotland. However. of which between 80 and 90 per cent are operating at any one time. not vatted or blended with whisky made in any other distillery. Its complex aromas and flavours originate from the raw materials. and maturation.THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL Mountain men? These pot-bellied creatures are the whisky stills at Ben Nevis. Ireland has one distillery that can produce only malt whiskey. No other nation can call a product “Scotch”. and matured for at least three years. Scotland’s status is not widely understood beyond its borders. manufacturing process. though both of these also produce a range of other styles. WHISK(E)Y A spirit drink originating from Scotland and Ireland – but produced in a variety of styles in other countries – distilled from malted barley and other grains. These distinguish whiskies from the more neutral grain spirits in the schnapps and vodka families. in a copper vessel resembling a kettle or cooking pot. Malt whiskies are also distilled on a more limited scale at Cooley and Midleton in Ireland. It is not a 32 . but Irish “whisky”. it is not the nationality of the writer. American styles. namely Bushmills.

perhaps the flavour of a region.THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL region but a nation. or perhaps as a Scottish “grappa”? Occasional independent bottlings are also of interest to collectors. A small amount of malted barley is required to provide the enzymes needed in fermentation. England. arguing that the consumer was being misled – or. it has been part of a union. These three nations and Northern Ireland (a six-county province) form the United Kingdom. make small quantities of flavoursome malt whisky. devised in the Victorian era. Grain whiskies are light in body and flavour. This might be done to create a desired character. produce large quantities of more neutral grain whiskies to add volume to the malt. PURE MALT A term that is likely to fall out of use because its meaning is insufficiently clear. mainly in the Highlands and Islands. When Cardhu switched from the former category to the latter. more industrial distilleries. confused – and that the integrity of malt whisky was being put at risk. 33 . VATTED MALT If malt whiskies from different distilleries are combined. Craft producers. but not neutral. The result is a blended Scotch. Other distillers protested. For the past 300 years. at best. GRAIN WHISKY These may be produced from corn (maize). the term “pure malt” was used. Much larger. SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Single malt whisky made in Scotland. and has been for almost 1000 years. SINGLE GRAIN WHISKY There have been attempts to market single grain whisky as a more interesting alternative to vodka. the result will be called a vatted malt. BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY A stroke of Scottish genius. in a continuous process. mainly in the Midlands and the south. and are matured for a minimum of three years in oak. This term assumes that all the whiskies in the vatting are malts. It has been employed in some cases to indicate a single malt and in others to signify a vatted malt. and this was not altered by the recent restoration of the Scottish Parliament. or raw barley. and Wales share an island called Great Britain. wheat. Scotland. in a column-shaped still. SINGLE CASK A bottling made from just one cask.

While this is broadly true. whisky malt was kilned over peat fires. Germany. the more thorough the distillation. at 80 ppm. BOURBON AGEING Why the name bourbon? The French helped the Americans in the War of Independence. and configuration grains of sprouting barley are spread. the woods used in heat arrests germination. as the smokiness can be Stoking the firebox: the smoke rises through accentuated or softened by the the mesh floor of the kiln. The peat gave an especially distinct smokiness to Scotch whisky. The most heavily peated spirit currently being distilled is Octomore. Triple distillation was once traditional in the Lowlands of Scotland (see Auchentoshan).THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL F U RT H ER L A B EL TER M S PEATING When maltsters kilned their grains over open fires. the lighter and cleaner the spirit. Neither will Port Charlotte. In Poland. It is also favoured in Ireland. as many of the popular malts have become less smoky to appease consumers who fear flavour. and the Americans 34 . In Scotland. the fuel was whatever could easily be found. The of the stills. In Franconia. DOUBLE/TRIPLE DISTILLATION Most Scottish malt whisky is run through a pair of stills. shape. Serious whisky lovers have come to cherish peatiness. but this will not be ready to bottle for some years. ageing and so on. beechwood was favoured. The level for the whisky called simply Bruichladdich is 2–5 ppm. upon which the design. the peat-smoke character is measured in parts per million (ppm) of phenol. the still’s influence on flavour is not completely understood. and demand more. Triple should be more exhaustive than double. Within the industry. at 40 ppm (the same level as Laphroaig). These figures do not tell the whole Burning at Bowmore story. Both are being distilled at Bruichladdich. In theory. and the smoke imparts flavour. a style of beer was made from oak-smoked malt. but a handful of distilleries have over the years used a system of three linked stills (see Springbank). and has to varying degrees been retained.

and are precise in their requirements. Large quantities of their fortified Jerez wines were for a long time shipped to Cork. in Kentucky. and the bourbon is then matured in a fresh oak barrel. Today. complex. 35 . (Whiskey had been introduced to the United States by Northern Irish immigrants of Scottish origin. and cookie-like. Most sherry is made from the Palomino grape. along with rye or wheat. and Leith (the port that adjoins Edinburgh).) Local corn is always used to make bourbon. Gonzalez Byass bodega. They make the investment (see pp. 16–17). Instead of being shipped empty back to Spain. Pedro Ximénez (made with the grape of the same name. The wine makers of the Jerez area. 19). and a touch of tannin. was known for shipping whiskey down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and other big cities. palo cortado: aromatic. this wine is bottled in Spain. Bourbon County. there may be caramel-toffee flavours. The inside of the barrel is charred to help the whiskey permeate the wood. amontillado: darker and nuttier. 18–19). and fruity. near Cadiz and Seville. as well as dimension to Scotch whisky. and along with the vanilla. and not the Palomino): intensely raisiny. have a long relationship with the British Isles. After only one use in Kentucky. See also “ Cask Strength” (pp. the drained butts and hogsheads were snapped up by whisky distillers. treacly and dark. “ Vintage Editions” The Spanish connection (pp. manzanilla: a saltier coastal cousin. 19). By the third fill the barrel may be relatively neutral. “ Single Cask” (p. in the southwest. There are several styles – fino: dry. creamy. 70–1). The tradition of sherry ageing brings an added “ Unchillfiltered” (p. It will still retain enough of its typical vanilla-like flavours to impart some of these to the first fill of this whisky. oloroso: rich. and sherry wood is expensive. Bristol (the nearest English port). 54–65). Nonetheless some distillers feel that its influence is important. in Jerez. delicate and fresh. SHERRY AGEING The word “sherry” derives from English attempts to pronounce the Spanish place name Jerez.THE WORDS USED ON THE LABEL acknowledged this by naming towns and counties after the French royal family. The diversity of sherry itself is evident in the museum at the “ Regional Variations” (pp. Some barrels are recharred in Scotland. the barrel may be sent to Scotland and used to mature Scottish whisky. There will still be some lively flavour contributuion in a second fill. dessert apple.


and air. sugar cane. having become an adjective. and are all in flat countryside. The most complex whiskies are those of Scotland and Ireland. Then. topography. They have a story to tell. have complex aromas and flavours. whether from grapes. soil. attached itself to the word “vodka”. They are grown. They arise from their own terroir: geology. Arran. Such drinks reflect their place of origin. HE UNIVERSE OF SPIRITS BEGAN Under the volcano Scotland’s landscape can be silent and still. has extinct volcanoes and a newish distillery. 37 . yet the evidence of eruptions. The most sophisticated of real drinks are the brandies of France and the whiskies of the British Isles.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE FLAVOURS The influence of the landscape T to change when the word “designer”. taste of nothing much. The most complex brandies are the cognacs and armagnacs. The whisky distilleries of Scotland are spread over an area of about 448 kilometres (280 miles) from one end of the country to the other. Now a new generation of consumers faces a choice between drinks that come from nowhere. from the Lowlands to the northern Highlands. They are good company. misleadingly known in the United States as “malternatives”. water. The dews and frosts. and they require something of the drinker in return: that he or she experiences the pleasure of learning to drink. Real. Within these two duopolies. and have a logo for a name. To what extent they are influenced by each of these elements is a matter for debate. the agave plant. vegetation. People care about real drinks. the regions of production are contiguous. the marine plants and mountain forests – each valley or island has its own flavour. and drinks that come from somewhere. glaciations. and may have a name that is hard to pronounce. grain. some of the most famous names in the world of distillation became better known for their “ready-to-drink” confections. and from the Hebrides in the west to Orkney (and by now Shetland?) in the north. from mountain to shore. In Cognac. cognac and Scotch are the best known. They have evolved. weather. and rocky collisions is everywhere. Theirs is surely the greater complexity. or. stretch about 144 kilometres (90 miles) from one end to the other. for example. evolved drinks begin as the gift of God. left. often passionate.

and much dispute as to the relative importance – if any – of each. a Lowlander but from the West. the strains of yeast. In production. TH E WH I S KY C OUNTR I E S Scotland and Ireland can be cool and rainy. the result may not be apparent until the whisky is mature. such as those grown in Moravia. though excessive damp and wind can occasionally be a problem. perhaps 10 years hence. The windy main island of the Orkney islands still cultivates bere. near the Lowland distillery. just as different wine regions champion their own grapes. The blood of … … John Barleycorn was spilled by Robert Burns. The conditions are very favourable for the growing of barley. Scotland. and Ireland. On these and other issues ever more research is carried out. and the provenance of the casks. and Bavaria.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Whisky is a real drink. if a procedure is changed. Bohemia. It was used in whisky making in the past. the size of still. Today. versus the “maritime” examples of Denmark. so there are debates in Europe as to the merits of “continental” barleys. There are many potential influences on its character. but an apparent insight into one stage of the whisky-making process may raise new questions about the next. and its importance was such that a dispute over taxes on bere even threatened the Act of Union in 1707. England. but grown today for local bakers rather than distillers. The Macallan distillery receives what might seem disproportionate attention in the following pages because it takes what might aptly be termed single-minded positions on almost every issue: the variety of barley. 38 . but their climates are temperate. a precursor to barley. Glenkinchie. A single malt is as real as it gets. This field of barley is in the East.

and then elsewhere. via springs and mountain streams. to the fields of barley and the distilleries. but the country is unusually rich in all three. and it derives from them all. and their own needs. and seaweed are not unique to Scotland. are not unique. their proportion. Scotland’s main growing regions are on the more sheltered eastern side of the country: on the shores of the Moray firth (The Black Isle and The Laich of Moray). “sea-breeze” character. Naturally. and Ireland boggy. Every landscape is. 39 . To sample some of the more pungent malts is to taste the terroir. Their second choice would be Denmark. Heather. or the shape of a nose or jawline. The colour of a person’s hair or eyes. Depending upon the harvest. Scotland’s heather-clad hillsides. peat. Scotland is mountainous. and its influence on the whisky. but the face is. Purists would prefer that the Scots used only their own barley. and their relationship with the rest of the landscape are unique. and can be more easily transported. County Cork. Protagonists for the maritime varieties argue that they have a clean. their juxtaposition. and the Borders. which then filters through a diversity of rock.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Supporters of the continental barleys say they provide a sweeter. Ireland’s are in the southeast. Both countries might wish for more cultivable land. awaiting the vapours of the sea. providing summits to unlock their precipitation. nuttier flavour. to the sailing (and gastronomic) resort of Kinsale. The Scots could argue that they are simply victims of their own success in selling so much of their whisky. and its seaweed-fringed islands all contribute to the character of its national drink. than the grapes that make wine and brandy. its peaty moorlands. which runs from the border city of Dundalk (with a history of brewing) in County Louth. behind an imaginary line on the map. Aberdeenshire. Their local variations. but in other periods they have augmented their own malt with “imports” from England. the Scots prefer their own barley. they have on occasion exported. It is because barley is more resilient that it has a broader belt of cultivation. But to what extent are the aromas and flavours carried by the mountain streams or burns that feed the distilleries? Is the greater influence in the peat that is used to dry the malt? Then there is the question of the atmosphere in the damp. over peat and heather. TA S TI NG TH E T E RRO I R Scotland seems like a machine for the making of whisky: a nation on a small island. earth-floored warehouses.

It also has 20 or 30 times as many distilleries. higher into the spirits belt. Scotland can resemble Norway. For many years. The outline – the coast – is penetrated by endless inlets from the sea. Whichever country “discovered” the barley distillate. “ S C A N DI NAV I A N S C OTL A ND” In its topography. Scotland is bigger in both land area and population than Ireland. wherever it is. The geology of Scotland is more varied than that of any country of a similar size. inspired in part by the natural landscape of his homeland. Scotland seems to reach northwards. Scotland is today’s pre-eminent “Land of Whisky”. for example. Only whisky made there can be called Scotch. ROC K Geology as a discipline began in Scotland – with the book Theory of the Earth. its Protestant rigour (with some ambivalence toward alcohol). and this is contentious. toward the Roman Catholic countries of mainland Europe. Were their spokesmen simply repeating an appellation? Or did they mean that no other country could make a comparable product? Scotch whiskies all taste of their homeland to varying degrees. The handful of malt whiskies (as opposed to the “pot-still Irish” type) made at Bushmills and Cooley in Ireland are similar in style to their Scottish counterparts. as are the handful of Japanese malts. the latter word has the same roots as the Norwegian “fjord”. The author.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE On the map. though some have distinct local features. its use of Viking words. These inlets are variously known as “sea lochs” or “firths”. But a whisky cannot taste of Scotland if it is made in Ireland or Japan. It was in 40 . while its Celtic cousin Ireland (more especially the Republic) appears to lean south. Dr James Hutton. but in many the taste is so subtle as to be scarcely evident. published in 1788. The part of the earth’s crust that is now Scotland was at that time attached to North America. Much of this diversity arises from a spectacular collision 400–500 million years ago. the industry repeated this without making clear its meaning. while in others the aromas of peat and seaweed. for a brief period. are wonderfully shocking. They are real drinks. The most characterful whiskies taste of the terroir. the numbers of stills in each of the countries were close. was a Scot. but Ireland’s industry spent decades in decline before rediscovering itself in recent years. the nearest of the Scandinavian countries. At one stage. however similar the terroir. Scotland presents a weatherbeaten face.

with everything from volcanoes to glaciers. and compared them with tasting notes in books on the drink. Wales. and vice versa. and possibly with a small opening to the sea). The geological turbulence continued. collision with a European plate that included England. semantically. For many years. Granite is the principal rock of the 41 . until 20. and the “glens” (or narrower valleys) that appear on every other label. off the west coast of Scotland. but Scotland began with geology: with the thrusts. and the border between England and Scotland has rarely strayed more than a few kilometres from this line since. The whisky tastes of camomile … or carboniferous rock. eruptions. This is the whisky-making machine. whisky makers always spoke of granite. Thus not only did geology begin with Scotland. “lochans” (small lakes) and “lochs” in a wide range of sizes (sometimes stretching for many miles. In 1990. and glaciations. It came to rest. in the Lowlands. including this one. Now rosebay willowherb has taken over. geologists Stephen Cribb and Julie Davison made a study of rock formations in Scotland’s whisky regions. intrusions. the crisp. The oldest rock is that which supplies water to the Bowmore and Bruichladdich distilleries on Islay. dry Glenkinchie and Rosebank share the same carboniferous rock. and seems to contribute an iron-like flavour. Their findings suggested that the similar tastes in certain whiskies produced near each other might in part be due to the similar rock from which the water rose. with “corries” (hollows in the mountainside). it was formed about 600–800 million years ago. For example. Being so hard. granite does not donate minerals to the water. The fault line where the two plates met was more or less followed a few million years later by Hadrian’s Wall.000 years ago. and Ireland. as a Gaelic-language landscape.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Rosebank Roses once bloomed at Rosebank. “straths” (broad valleys). Thus hard rock means soft water.

Some vodkas are distilled in one place and rectified in another. One distillery that has.. It is also used to reduce mature whisky to bottling strength. The study went on to point out that the region’s geology is diverse. Mineral flavours – and textures – are familiar from bottled waters. the Cribbs’ book Whisky on the Rocks identified Ben Rinnes and the Conval Hills as sources of the typical Speyside water. It is employed in the mash tun at every distillery to extract the sugars from the malted barley. Illinois. Water is used to steep the grain at maltings (though only a handful of these are attached to distilleries). Clearly whisky made from snowmelt. Snow on the Spey The river Spey rises south of the Dalwhinnie distillery. Others have Slavic origins. sensibly.. “rising from granite and flowing over peat”. It is used to reduce the strength of spirit in the cask to aid maturation. S NOW Vodka marketeers love to promote their products with suggestions of snowy purity. whether they are distilled in St Petersburg. feeding distilleries such as Glenfarclas. Every Speyside distiller seemed to claim that he had soft water. For this last stage the local water is influential only in the handful of distilleries that bottle on site. and also seem evident in some malt whiskies. but also with some peaty complexity. it is very influential indeed. the group of mountains and sub-ranges that dominates the Highlands. located in the northern Highlands. and in those cases. Absolut Scotland .F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Grampians. one of Scotland’s highest. and from which the River Spey flows. embracing substantial areas of limestone and sandstone. Aberlour. Poznan. made a virtue of its sandstone water source is Glenmorangie. 42 . and Craigellachie. but are produced under licence in North America or elsewhere. In looking at the Grampians. or in Peoria.

If it filters through the Conval Hills in search of Glenfiddich. but it may be impossible to say whence it came. If a source threatens to run dry in the summer. distilleries like Dalwhinnie or Braeval might regard their water as snow-melt. and to reduce the strength of the spirit in the cask or the mature whisky at bottling. then been tapped by Tamdhu. and protects its source as a critical asset. especially in the drier east. filtering through fissures in the rock. the distillery may stop production and devote a few weeks’ “silent season” to annual maintenance and vacations. WATER The worry over water concerns not only quality. or even all year. There is typically snow on Scotland’s highest mountain. and occasionally for longer: perhaps from September to May. Livet. for six to seven months of the year. If the water runs unusually slowly. and Fiddich. or gushing into rivers like the Spey. Not only must water for malting and mashing be available in volume. By the time it has swollen the Spey. not only for the steeps at the maltings and the mash tun at the distillery. that figure can more than triple. Scotland may have less than 800 millimetres (32 inches) of rain and snow a year. that could be a critical problem. At sea level. High in the hills. it must also be consistent in character. Once the snow melts. or Kininvie. except that it was once rain or snow. The same can be true in the Grampians. If the water source is endangered by a project in the next county upstream. but also to cool the condensers or worm tubs. Unlike brewers of beer. but also quantity. swelling streams or burns. or quickly. it may become muddy or sandy. A great deal is required. it is regarded as river water. the distillers of whisky do not add or remove salts to change the composition of their water. to wash vessels. Every distillery knows where it collects its water. In the mountains. Ben Nevis (measuring 1344 metres or 4410 feet high). 43 . it emerges as the spring water of Robbie Dubh. it descends by a variety of routes. And it is certainly critical if the distillery’s production is outstripping the water source. though three or four months is more common. or how long its journey was. emerging from springs. Even the most sophisticated of distillery companies has been known to hire a water diviner to find an additional nearby source. Every effort will be made to match the character of the principal water used.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Snow-melt is more reliably found in Scottish malt whisky. Distillers know where their water arrives. Balvenie.

Did it linger. it is sliced. for example. On the island of Islay. Speyside is also rich in heather. even the tap water can be tinged a peaty brown or ironstone red. so that its smoke pervades the malt. drier whisky. Glen Grant. Yet the whisky may be barely peaty at all. toast. The peat in the kiln is the smoking gun. Is that why its whiskies are so floral? The circumstantial evidence is strong. It is the use of peat fires in the drying of the grains that imparts the greatest degree of smokiness and “Islay character” to the malt. the flavours do seem to carry over into the whisky. but some distillers might argue that the flowery character actually results from reactions during maturation. or some green. and placed on a fire. such influences could survive distillation – is hotly debated. barbecued. and take up more peatiness? Or flow faster and dig up its peaty bed? The bed may also have contributed some ironstone. It can taste intensely peaty. Calcium.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE The issue of soft water versus hard goes beyond the flavour of any salts naturally occurring in the water. and may also make for a cleaner. or smoked: the breakfast kippers. ferny. toasted. roasted. Visitors to distilleries are sometimes invited to sample the water. indeed. The explanation would seem to be that the peaty taste does not survive distillation. PEAT Not only is aroma the bigger part of taste – the drinks and foods that arouse the appetite and the imagination are often fragrant – but these same foods are in fact frequently grilled. Whether it does – whether. Perhaps the water flowed over peat for a longer distance. those on Islay highlight the intensity of local peat. increases the extract of malt sugars in the mash tun. The Islay distiller has the soul of an outlaw. vegetal character. 44 . This is the case at the famous Speyside distillery. This time. Here. bacon. Perhaps the flavours were absorbed when the peaty water was used to steep the barley at the beginning of the malting process. Some peat cutting on Islay is still done by hand. the steak sizzling on a Tasting the terroir The basis of terroir is the earth. and coffee. Unlike the maltings on the mainland.

The peat that seduces whisky lovers is on the distillery islands of Orkney and Islay. cypress-like aroma and bitter flavour. While peatiness excites connoisseurs. When peat is being cut by hand. as is peat’s rich content of antioxidants. also known as sweet gale. but that is a bonus. At a pinch. Very hoppy beers are a perfect parallel. the peat is rich in bog myrtle (Myrica gale). which in land area is half the size of England. more heathery. The Orcadian peat is younger. Two-thirds of Britain’s bogland is in Scotland. It sometimes looks as edible as Mississippi mud pie. the dryness of peat provides a foil for the sweetness of barley malt. but distinctive. While some devotees of single malts have a catholic view. These bogs. and incorporates a wide range of salt-tolerant maritime plants. Bog myrtle was one of the flavourings used in beer before the hop plant was adopted. In both cases. honeyed. the peat fires of Scotland surely produce the most evocative aromas. the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. At least 80 aroma compounds have been found in peated malt. which adds an iodine. it can alienate first-time tasters. To take exception to such a fundamental element of the drink may seem odd. the sea air and high winds add salty flavours to the peat. powerful flavours. In the western islands. and clearly influences the flavours imparted by the peat. in the counties of Caithness and Sutherland. When people say they “don’t like” Scotch whisky. Peat was used in the first place because it is a convenient and plentiful fuel. but it also imparts a number of complex flavours and aromas. A closer look at the muddy block 45 . Scotland’s northern Highlands has Europe’s largest expanse of blanket bogs. which turns out to mean peat. are said to set a standard in the worldwide study of the phenomenon. can be challenging. sometimes sherried Speysiders? The partisans for peat lust for its intensity (and love quoting ppm). penetrates the peat. In whisky. the enemy of free radicals. briney whiskies of the islands and coasts. too. medicinal character to the atmosphere. or the flowery. they often refer to a “funny taste”. The coast of Islay is heavily fringed with seaweed. Of all the techniques historically used to kiln malt in different parts of Europe. heavily oaked wines might also be drawn into the discussion.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE charcoal grill. especially if they are dry. especially Islay. This. which has a sweet. many take sides: will it be the peaty. Ninety per cent of the world’s peat bogs are in temperate-to-cold parts of the northern hemisphere. the spade digs out a cube with surfaces as shiny and dark as a bar of “black” chocolate.

in heraldry. and are up to 7 metres (23 feet) deep. it is the thistle. When a whisky has a floral aroma. but distilling quickly moved to an industrial scale. H EATH ER In the unofficial national anthem. it is surely heather. it is not the flower itself but heather honey. and looking for a fight). urban distillers used coke to fire smokeless maltings. While the thistle is Scotland (prickly. and no doubt its rural whiskey makers burned peat. and has gone on to win several judgings. Glen Elgin and Balvenie are two whiskies with a notably heather-honey character. defensive. The large. a spongy moss that intertwines with other plants to form a fibrous soil. the Irish are now rediscovering the merit of variety. These characteristics are especially notable on Speyside and Aberdeenshire. will eventually become coal. it was traditionally the flavouring for an ale. Ireland is also famously boggy. which. Having been overtaken in volume long ago by the country next door. under pressure. In The colour purple Heather is a distinctive feature of the Scottish landscape. A peated single malt called Connemara was launched in 1995–96 by the Cooley distillery. the “Flower of Scotland” is Robert the Bruce. in the world of drinks. but the floral and honey aromas often seem to have jumped into the glass. especially Orkney. and the lack of peat became a defining characteristic of the “smooth” Irish whiskies. 46 . The peatbogs of Scotland began to grow between 7000 and 3000 years ago. Its colour does not affect the whisky. concentrated in the few big cities. In Scotland. Often. heather is attractive and lucky. the flower is frequently heather. The principal component is sphagnum.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE sometimes reveals the fossil-like remains of mosses. where the hills are dense with heather.

Beer is often thought. others are native to Scotland. its natural qualities. the difference between varieties is less obvious when it comes to flavour. and heather is a favourite source of nectar. and therefore promoting.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Aberdeenshire. Water flows over heather to several distilleries. or brooms. and in their public relations and advertising. Wild yeast activity is at its height in summer. when bees are pollinating. cross-leafed variety (Erica tetralix) flower about a month earlier. which has the greatest abundance of the plants. where heather covers between 1. which carpets the hillsides from mid-August into September. redder bell heather (Erica cinerea) and the pinker. They might even discuss their choice of grape varieties on a back label or hang tag. And whisky? In explaining. perhaps simply as a reflection of the above. Whisky makers do not in general do this. but what about beer or whisky? Many consumers are unsure. but they also grow in bogs and on mountainsides. At some distilleries. lore has it that sprigs of heather were thrown on to the peat fire in the maltings. Heather is a significant component of much peat in Scotland. mistakenly. Glendronach and Glen Garioch have an enjoyable touch of heather. BA R L EY Everyone knows that wines and brandies are made from grapes. balancing their dry maltiness. The argument for reticence is threefold: barley’s contribution to flavour in whisky is less than it would be in beer. perhaps explaining this. All three occur in Scotland. Third. Scottish settlers introduced heather to North America. notably Highland Park. Second. Whether their effect was to sanitize or inadvertently to inoculate with micro-organisms is a piquant question. The brighter. the act of distillation removes some characteristics. and were typically used to clean wooden washbacks (fermenting vessels). The Greek for the word “brush” gives us the botanical name Calluna vulgaris for the purple ling heather. and others are masked by the flavours gained 47 . Wine makers often indicate on their labels which varieties of grape they have used. Malting requires barley of good quality. and even less than that of the grapes in wine. The English name for this group of small evergreen shrubs derives from their liking of heaths. Besoms. Why not? Are they using poor-quality barley? No. to be made from hops. the grape does rather better than the grain.6 and 2 million hectares (4 to 5 million acres). They may do this even if the wine is not a varietal. Some varieties are found throughout northern Europe. made of heather twigs were once commonplace in Scotland.

especially Laphroaig. and permeate the peaty surface of the island. The sea washes against the walls at all the distilleries. the author was asked by Macallan to taste blindfold two samples of spirit. Some varieties bred or selected in the period of innovation after the Second World War are still legends. a variety that Macallan regards as being an essential component of its malt grist. metallic. Almost all whisky distillers buy their barley according to a set of technical criteria (corn size. rather than by variety. etc. The last of that line. All of this is true up to a point. it ripens early (in August). The other tasted thin. but Macallan had set about persuading others. These. malty. do not necessarily produce delicious flavours. and its farm has now been leased and turned over to Golden Promise. sweet. In 1994. they 48 . It turned out to have been distilled from Golden Promise.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE during maturation. represented 95 per cent of the harvest at its peak. when the rivers and burns flow over the peat to the distilleries. only one or two farmers were still cultivating Golden Promise. How do the seaweedy. nitrogen. One sample seemed rich. the spirit had not yet acquired any.). Nor were there any give-away clues such as colour. As the industry has grown. rich flavours. Golden Promise. except Bruichladdich. What was the purpose of the comparison? What was being sought? No explanation was offered. Perhaps one day soon whisky lovers will be offered a single estate malt. Its short straw stands up to the wind. At the time. Then. and it produces nutty. and Macallan-like. A single farm can contribute only a fraction of the barley required. iron-like aromas get into the spirit? It seems likely that they are carried ashore by the winds and the rain. however. a source of iodine. It had been distilled from a more recent. and the coast is enwrapped with seaweed. fresh from the still (“new make”). surely derives from seaweed. moisture content. S EAWEED The medicinal note in most Islay malts. but what the distiller puts into his vessels must be a factor in the liquid that issues from them. The distillery stands on an estate. not having begun its maturation. farmers have switched to varieties that give them more grain per acre. high-yield variety. Nor do the varieties last much more than four or five seasons before being overtaken by something “better”. redder strawberries out of season. and therefore increase their profitability. but the gesture is worth much more. while distillers have sought varieties that yield more fermentable sugars. and dusty. any more than do bigger.

Seaweed has been described as one of Scotland’s most abundant natural resources. There is some circumstantial evidence that the practice was introduced by monks on the islands of the west. pick up these flavours and impart them in the steep or the mash tun. especially favour this argument. the atmosphere is rich in the aromas of seaweed. More recently. 49 . but send to centralized warehouses spirit that is destined for blending. The greatest scepticism concerns the belief that the casks in the warehouses “breathe in” the atmosphere. Some age on site spirit which is destined to be bottled as single malt. If the boggy surface is. Even on a calm day. then a further opportunity will arise when the peat is cut and burned in the distillery’s maltings. This is the part of Scotland with the most seaweed. Distillers who use centralized warehouses. The harvesting of seaweed was once a significant industry in Scotland. In the islands. kelp was traditionally used as a fertilizer. Skye has especially dense kelp forests. away from the distillery. indeed. impregnated with the seaweedy rain. It was also collected as a source of iodine. sometimes stretching 5 kilometres (3 miles) offshore and more than 20 metres (65 feet) deep. it was used to provide alginates to clarify beer and set jellies and desserts. Some of the distillery’s warehouses are below sea level.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Whisky and water The village and distillery of Bowmore face the sea loch around which Islay wraps itself.

every variation affects everything that follows. The stirring mechanism rotates and can be lowered so that its blades prevent the mixture from solidifying. (about a third of the industry’s working total) are owned by Diageo. and refers to the solution of malt sugars that emerges from the vessel. the temperatures to which it is raised. Inside a traditional mash tun is a system of revolving rakes to stir the mixture. developed in the German brewing industry. in a vessel with a sieve-like base. and the duration of each stage. As in cooking. all vary slightly from one distillery to the next. the world’s biggest drinks group. FL AVO U RS S H A PED AT TH E DI ST ILLERY In the balance of influences. so that the permutations are infinite. In the more modern lauter system. but there are endless small but significant areas of variation. the ground grains of malted barley are soaked in warm water. a system of knives is used. It can be very difficult to determine 50 . The degree of peating in the malt is one. The basic process of making malt whisky is the same throughout Scotland.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE The infusion Like coffee in a filter. The time the mixture spends in the mash tun. much more importance has been accorded in recent years to the way in which the distillery works. similar to the choice of roasts in coffee. and Diageo argues strongly that the most important influences on flavour come from within the distillery itself. Another example is the density (or original gravity) of the malt-and-water mixture that goes into the mash tun (the “coffee filter”). The German word “lauter” means pure or transparent. Twenty-seven malt distilleries.

and so forth. will produce different results every time. These are easy to clean and relatively safe from contaminants. It is difficult to accept that none of these would survive distillation. The effect of a new yeast culture can be tasted in new make. the industry in general has over the years adopted a rather casual attitude towards yeast’s use in fermentation. Elsewhere. who insisted on three. Perhaps these contribute to the house character of some of the more interesting whiskies. even Macallan. nutty. Some farmhouse distilleries clearly had stills designed to fit their limited space. An ale yeast from one of the big brewers was used because it started quickly. Obviously. The view taken was that yeast’s influence on flavour would largely be lost in distillation. and that its job was simply to produce as much alcohol as possible. or when an expansion is planned. Fermentation vessels in Scottish malt distilleries are known as “washbacks”. some distilleries prefer wooden washbacks. For years. the cook. usually stainless steel. and spicy. Diageo believes that the amount of time spent in the fermenter is critical to the individuality of each distillate. however rigidly followed. which are variously fruity. Although they are cleaned thoroughly. The design of the stills is a factor increasingly emphasized by Diageo. Then there was a second pitching with a whisky yeast from Distillers’ Company Limited (now long subsumed into a component of Diageo). almost all of Scotland’s malt distillers employed the same two yeast cultures. several distilleries in the same valley will have the same shape of still (in much the same way that railway stations on the same line may look alike). This had less speed but more staying power. The 51 . whether the microclimate in and around the distillery has an influence is hotly debated. Despite that. depending upon the source of heat. the local coppersmith had his own way of doing things. The action of yeast in fermentation creates flavour compounds called “esters”. Distilleries are reluctant to change the shape or size of their stills when wear and tear demands replacement.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE which aspect of procedure has what effect. Despite this. but the final result will not be determined until the whisky is mature. with a movable lid. Many distilleries now use only one culture. Meanwhile. These are open. Anyone who cooks will know that a recipe. Mergers and changes in ownership resulted in different yeasts coming into the industry. the utensils. but even this has an element of location. Some are closed vessels made of metal. have retreated to two. it is hard to believe that they accommodate no resident microflora. usually made from larch or Oregon pine.

narrow still. the spirit will be oilier. The small tubes are circulated with cold water.5 metres experiments and innovations (80 feet) long. This been largely empirical. with a heavier. Stills vary enormously in size and shapes range from “lantern” or “lamp” to “onion” or “pear”. The ratio of surface areas to heat. the coppersmith will beat a similar blemish into its replacement. The coil is 24. or any musical instrument. inside which are packed smaller tubes. and richer. copper pot. It is (8 inches) and finishes at 5 cm (2 inches). It is argued that in a tall. Others have pipes known as “purifiers” in order to create reflux. This is known as reflux. Illegal distillers used just one small (and therefore portable). liquid. with one is at Edradour. and condensate have infinite effects that are not fully understood. more often. The condensate will fall back into the still and be redistilled. fat still. Because there is far less reflux in a short. This tends to produce a more pungent. The pipe that carries the vapour to the condenser is sometimes at an upward angle. It is clear that design has but the unromantically named worm tub. This is just the simplest example of the shape influencing the character of the whisky. The result is a more thorough distillation and a more delicate spirit. The diameter starts at 20 cm introduced by individuals. characterful spirit. The vapours pass through a worm-like coil of copper piping in a tub of cold water. much of the vapour will condense before it can escape. often hard to imagine how a bit of extra piping here or there can make a difference. It involves a single large tube. maltier. changed. Since then stills have grown. The traditional method of condensing is in a worm tub. vapour.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE legend is that if a worn-out still has been dented at some time. but the principles have not Water music? Not a French horn. The more modern system has the opposite relationship between vapour and water. The first will create the most reflux and the last little or none. or it can be straight. Some have a mini-column above the shoulders or. creamier. in order to ensure that the same whisky emerges. or point downward. 52 . and are typically run in pairs (or occasionally threesomes). a “boil ball”. cereal-grain character.

earthfloored. It was subsequently decided that the spirit had changed character to an unacceptable degree. Such an atmosphere is felt to encourage the casks to breathe. known as a dunnage warehouse. the old.F L AVO U R S : THE INFLUENCE OF THE LANDSCAPE Still life The creaminess of Macallan is attributed in part to its short. damp warehouse. grassier. and is said to produce lighter. while the vapour passes through the large tube. and produce a spirit of legendary delicacy. more vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. the stillman provides a sense of scale. This is called a shelland-tube condenser. As is often the case. the casks are normally stacked only three high. fruitier spirits. In maturation. It is more efficient. Diageo made this change at its Dalwhinnie distillery. Equally important is the decision about when the process has arrived at an acceptable spirit. cool. usually with planks between them as supports. One of the most important judgments in influencing flavour is deciding the speed at which the stills are run. The more modern type of warehouse has a concrete floor and fixed racking. most distillery managers prefer a stone-built. In this picture. 53 . The stills at Glenmorangie are twice as tall. In this type of structure. and the distillery reverted to worm tubs. produces the more characterful result. inefficient system. fat stills. At a time when the industry was moving from worm tubs to shelland-tube.


muscular whiskies. albeit on a limited scale. Mature whisky is not expected until 2008–10. similar comparisons can be made in Scotland. which has been back in production since December 2000. in the shop. might have a richness more reminiscent of Burgundy. The distillery does not have a visitor centre. dry. but sadly few in number. across the Dunbartonshire county line. sometimes billed as “Glasgow’s only working distillery”. as is the case with wines. in both palate and geography. Bladnoch. Maritime malt Rivetted. One of these is Auchentoshan. it is very visitor-friendly. the whisky is light in both flavour and body. it is less than 160 kilometres (100 miles) to the southernmost Scottish distillery. and very flowery. Meanwhile. but surprisingly complex and herbal. With its galleried mash house and uncluttered still-house. Spirit tasted at 18 months as work in progress was malty. It is on the edge of the city. In Lowland tradition. distillery rescuer Raymond Armstrong offers a Flora and Fauna edition of Bladnoch. Within Bordeaux. To know where in Scotland a whisky was produced is to have a very general idea of its likely character. a particular Pomerol. there are no regional regulations regarding production methods. Auchentoshan is now the sole practitioner of the Lowland tradition of triple distillation. and various independent bottlings produced by former owners Diageo/UDV (see Bladnoch). this pot still has a marine appearance befitting its region. some whiskies speak of their region more clearly than others. at Dalmuir. Fat stills make oily. 55 . Campbeltown’s heyday was the era of coastal steamers. for example. oily. It is distilling twice a week for half the year. From the border town of Carlisle. Only two Lowlanders are in constant production.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S Regional variations – AND MANY OTHER DRINKS – the single malts of Scotland usually identify in their labelling not only their country of origin but also the region within it. but professional tours are possible by arrangement. In their aroma and palate. not welded. IKE WINES L T H E LOWL A NDS These are the most accessible whiskies. The differences arise from terroir and tradition.

There are even new bottlings. embracing the Tullibardine distillery. but to have only three active distilleries is perilously few. but a much more attractive distillery than it once was. In the last couple of years. although various bottlings of both are still available (see pp. especially to people who find the Highlanders and Islanders too robust. but they want the label to say it came from the Highlands. such as those from Glen Flagler and Killyloch (see pp. Its malty whisky would be perfectly acceptable as a Lowlander. This is analogous with the wine industry. was widely regarded as a classic. The Lowlanders’ problem has been that the Highlanders and Islanders have the romance. Its spicy whisky has a popular following. 56 . This pretty distillery is about 25 kilometres (15 miles) southeast of the city. Some commentators talk of a “southern Highlands”. Half a dozen further whiskies are still to be found from Lowland distilleries. 393–96 and 333–34). where consumers who like sweetish Chardonnays nevertheless insist that they are drinking a “dry white”. The second is a more industrial site. some of which closed as long ago as the 1970s. which is fully active. hope has faded for the reopening of the Lowland distilleries Littlemill and Rosebank. and Deanston. the spread is clearly eastern. stretching across the country between the rivers Clyde and Tay. which triple distilled. and it makes a variety of whiskies. in the direction of the border. Beyond these two. and is barely outside Glasgow. is Glenkinchie. both would probably cling to the Highland designation. can be visited. and its whisky is collectible. 267–68). Pressed to “defect”. This style can be very attractive. which is currently mothballed. Rosebank. at the opposite side of the country. There were never a great many Lowland malts. The delicacy of the Lowlanders makes its own contribution to the world of single malts. The notion of the Lowlands as a whisky region would be reinforced if it could annex two distilleries that are barely across the Highland line: Glengoyne and Loch Lomond. following old county boundaries. The first is very pretty. These may be esoteric malts. sweetish malt such as is typical in the Lowlands. but the region will not quibble. “The Edinburgh Malt”. and the distillery has a visitor centre.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S The other thriving Lowlander. Many consumers like a gentle. T H E H I GH L A NDS The border between the Lowland and Highland distilleries is surprisingly southerly.

the newly independent Edradour. away). Trains on a rustic branch alongside the Spey took workers and barley 57 . together with Blair Athol. the long-gone distilleries of Inverness were regarded as Highlanders. Speyside’s ascendancy rested not only on the Grampian mountain snow-melt and the malting barley of Banff and Moray. this book divides the region into a series of river valleys. The River Spey itself is lined with distilleries on both banks. The same might be argued of Aberdeenshire distilleries like Glendronach. several distilleries in this region have notably fresh. but it is Border country. farm-style distillery.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S The border It is neither the Berlin Wall nor Hadrian’s. fruity whiskies. in barley-growing Aberdeenshire. the smallest distillery in Scotland. are in Perthshire. The outer wall of a warehouse is turned to brash advertisement at the otherwise discreet Bladnoch distillery. some heftier whiskies emerge from handsome distilleries such as Royal Lochnagar. there do seem to be similarities between the whiskies of neighbouring distilleries. and Glendronach. Glen Garioch. Strictly speaking. Another tiny. The much larger but handsome Aberfeldy distillery has a similar role as “Dewar’s World of Whisky”. not Speysiders. A generous definition of Speyside is assumed in this book. but also on the railway era. Several distilleries identify themselves with such bold wall paintings. Farther north. among others. now finds itself greeting visitors as “The Famous Grouse Experience”. Again for the convenience of the visitor. Glenturret. and all are on or near the main road north to Speyside. SPEYSIDE is not precisely defined. including the most widely recognized whisky names. Perhaps for reasons of geology. but a number of tributaries and adjoining rivers frame the region. or 70 miles. but it embraces between a half and two-thirds of Scotland’s distilleries. but it is easier for the visitor to regard this stretch of the Highlands as a contiguous region. THE EASTERN HIGHLANDS includes. In some of these valleys. Any of them could comfortably be visited in a day trip from Edinburgh (about 112 kilometres. All of these. with its coal-fired stills burning once more.

the Highlands. In the southwest. the valleys of the Spey and adjoining rivers are a distinct region. so is peninsular Campbeltown. and the Islands.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S Scotland Distilleries Operating Mothballed/intermittent production Closed Major town or city Height above sea level 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Kms 10 20 30 40 50 60 Mls The principal divisions are between the distilleries of the Lowland. Within the Highlands. Among the islands. 58 . Islay is accorded special status.

and returned with whisky for the main line to Edinburgh. There are about 12 distilleries.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S or malt to the distilleries. SPEY: Macallan. 59 . is the most photographed distillery in Scotland. and London. and a “dark grains” plant. Only vestiges of the Speyside railway survive today. none more than a kilometre from the next. Tomintoul. producing some very nutty whiskies. The hill town. This one-street town has five distilleries. and Glenfarclas. though it is a popular walk. but has been increasingly protected. The rivers are crossed as follows: DEVERON: This valley has Glendronach distillery and Glen Deveron. ISLA: This has nothing to do with island (it has a different spelling. There are still six working distilleries in the area. all producing light. The oldest distillery on Speyside is Strathisla (founded in 1786). Most produce firm. one of the claimants to be the whisky capital of Scotland. Some classically rounded. Aberlour. including the secret star. A couple more are currently silent. which turns residual malt into cattle feed. and there are three others in the area. The Livet appellation was once widely copied. despite the loss of Pittyvaich in 2002. and there is mention of heather ale in the records. ROTHES BURN: Actually no more than a stream. Dominican monks brewed here in the 1200s. showpiece of Chivas Brothers. LIVET: The most famous distillery is called after the river valley itself. are all to be found on the most heavily whiskied stretch of the Spey. home to a famous hotel and whisky bar. there’s no “y”). There are four or five distilleries in this area. three of the heavier interpretations of Speyside malts. delicate whiskies. but these are quite widely dispersed. this river is one of several that reach the Spey at Rothes. Speyburn. usually shot through the trees. in the town of Keith in the Isla Valley. Mortlach. while Glen Grant has a spectacular “tropical” garden. and some of its whiskies have a cedary dryness. Glasgow. a coppersmith’s. The active line from Aberdeen to Inverness (just over 160 kilometres or 100 miles) follows the main road. malty Speysiders are produced here. soft. is a base for exploration. immediately upstream of the village of Craigellachie. FIDDICH AND DULLAN: These rivers meet at Dufftown. There are five or six distilleries in the general area. malty whiskies. another whisky “capital”.

Two secret stars. straight up the last stretch of the east coast. the Speyside region of the Highlands is home to no fewer than half of Scotland’s malt distilleries. which runs from Inverness. and in the distance is Tomatin. FINDHORN: Born-again Benromach is near the town Forres. This sometimes ornate Victorian town is the undisputed commercial capital of Speyside and the county seat of Moray. and there is a gentle maritime influence. The world’s most famous whisky shop. Longmorn and Linkwood. THE NORTHERN HIGHLANDS is a geographically clear-cut region. Gordon & MacPhail. LOSSIE: Was it the water that first attracted the Benedictines of Pluscarden to this region? They no longer brew there.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S Speyside Universally acknowledged as a heartland of whisky production. is in Elgin itself. are among the eight distilleries just south of Elgin. The museum distillery of Dallas Dhu is nearby. There are four or five distilleries in short 60 . The Lossie whiskies are sweetish and malty. but they still have a priory next door to the Miltonduff distillery. Production restarted in 1998: the new make tasted creamy and flowery. The region’s water commonly runs over sandstone.

Clynelish. are so close to Glasgow that they might attract more attention reclassified as Lowlanders. the eponymous distillery can be regarded as being “coastal”. On the foothills of Scotland’s (and Britain’s) highest mountain. It is just too rugged and rocky. Even the centre cut has only two distilleries. according to its manager.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S Distilleries Operating Mothballed/intermittent production Closed Major town or city Height above sea level 0 0 5 5 10 15 10 20 25 Kms 15 Mls order. In 2003. Then there is a gap before the connoisseurs’ favourite. Loch Lomond and Glengoyne. Colin Ross. crisp dryness and a light saltiness. The other active mainland distilleries. 61 . Why? Because it is on a sea loch. Its whiskies tend toward firm. Glengoyne was acquired by Ian Macleod Ltd. the northern Highlands has gained more recognition as a region. WESTERN HIGHLANDS The far northwest is the only sizeable stretch of the country with no legal whisky makers. and has the flavours to prove it. and an even bigger gap before the famously salty Old Pulteney in Wick. As its distilleries have become more active. including the energetic Glenmorangie and the rich Dalmore. Ben Nevis. The Oban distillery certainly does face the sea.

Highland Park is Scotland’s northernmost distillery. imparting a singular character to the malts.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S Distilleries Operating Mothballed/intermittent production Closed Major town or city Height above sea level Islay The peaty soil and Islay’s exposed position on the west coast of Scotland make it the producer of the boldest malts. peaty and smoky. which has two distilleries. 0 0 5 5 10 15Kms 10Mls TH E I S L A NDS The greatest whisky island by far is Islay (above). with its seven distilleries. but are not in production at the moment. 62 . ORKNEY For the moment. Its whisky is one of the greats. The seaweedy atmosphere permeates the soil and warehouses. The others have one apiece. Saltier whiskies from the Scapa distillery have a strong following. except for Orkney. but a superb all-rounder.

Hedley Wright. Whyte and Mackay. Arran ran its first spirit in 1995.REGIONAL VA R I AT I O N S SHETLAND The first ever legal distillery in Shetland is promised for 2004 – it will be Scotland’s most northerly. SKYE Talisker whisky from Skye is a classic – volcanic. is due to reopen in 2004. It is to be hoped that Tobermory does not suffer from its parent’s acquisition of Bunnahabhain. explosive. All seven of the island’s workable distilleries are operating. C A M PB ELTOWN The announcement in 2001 that Springbank’s owners planned to restore the Glengyle distillery was quickly followed by the start of work. The whisky veteran behind them all. Jim Beam. Glen Scotia. which is currently also in production. There are said to have been 32 distilleries here in 1759. the independent bottlers Cadenhead. smokier Ledaig. looming terroir. ARRAN The newest distillery in Scotland. This distillery has on occasion also assisted with the management of the other Campbeltown distillery. Springbank. The Springbank distillery itself produces three whiskies. The taste reflects the wild. 63 . but the distillery also produces the peatier. and peppery. The town’s location at the foot of the Kintyre peninsula provides not only a harbour. MULL Tobermory is a restrained islander. using entirely its own malt – the Springbank maltings was restored a decade ago. seceded from its American parent. has been determined to keep Campbeltown on the whisky map. which has been closed for 75 years. JURA The decidedly piney Isle of Jura whisky has appeared in more expressions and has been better promoted since the owning group. Its remarkable history is evidenced by fragments of about 20 distilleries converted to other uses. Its small stills produce a creamy spirit with only faint touches of island character: a touch of flowery pine in the finish. ISLAY The 2003 takeover of Bunnahabhain by Burn Stewart makes this distillery look more secure. The distillery. and the Eaglesome shop are all related businesses. and the Islay Festival in late May is establishing itself as an annual favourite. but also a location surrounded by the sea and often shrouded in mist.


Glenfiddich observed that malt drinkers looked for an age statement as a reassurance of authenticity and quality. In announcing the change. The extra years have rounded out the spirit and introduced a touch of the “white chocolate” found in older bottlings. ten or fifteen years. the principal Like some of its immediate competitors. N 2000. At one stage. The object is to iron out natural differences and ensure a consistent product. Single but married Glenfiddich Special Reserve is already 12 years old when it goes into this marrying tun for about four months. overtaken by more robust neighbours. Across the industry this is why distilleries open. The 12-year-old was perhaps a response: the whisky catching up with the consumer. close. Most distilleries have some reserves of maturing whisky that is older than they strictly need. a backlog of stock would have built up. but could be a little sharp and thin. the first malt whisky to be methodically marketed. When the time comes. However good their judgment. The decision to increase the age would have required sufficient stock to be laid down 12 years earlier. and so frequently change ownership. The person who makes such decisions has an impossible job. The earlier versions were light and pleasantly fruity. It was seen as an unchallenging whisky. but these stocks would not be sufficient to support such a major change. Now it became a 12-year-old. and understanding of the industry. there is always too little or too much. it was bottled as an 8-year-old. however thorough the company’s market research. who does not necessarily accept the inference that older is always better. probably with a view to the change. and however many futurologists it consults. 65 . for the second time. changed its mind about age. The extra years worked well for Glenfiddich. are mothballed. Had sales been falling sharply. but this was not the case. knowledge. Glenfiddich. This is not true of the more experienced malt drinker. it is simply impossible to predict how much whisky will be required in five. it had for much of its life carried no age statement.WHAT IS THE PERFECT AGE ? WHAT IS THE PERFECT AGE? I version of Glenfiddich. THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SELLING single malt. TH E IMPOS S I B L E DEC I S I ON Upgrading the age is not easy. had possibly become over-familiar.

In Japan. with the merit of its own individuality. and finish. A warehouse nearer the sea may impart brinier characteristics. Some distilleries have only the classically damp. with casks stacked three high. it also offers: a variation on the 12-year-old (involving casks from Islay). it probably included whiskies of nine and ten years or more. To take Glenfiddich as an example. some have both. All of these factors may affect the distillers’ choice of casks for a bottling. Although the contents of the casks will be vatted according to a “recipe”. particularly vintages. types of cask. These have come to be known as different “expressions” of the same malt. A bottling from a single cask represents a very limited edition. Casks from the bottom of the warehouse will have matured at a different rate from those in the airier racks at the top. When Glenfiddich was marketed as an 8-year-old. others have fixed racking. but as “6-year-old” might sound callow. devotees are delighted with a 5-year-old. For those consumers bored with consistency. there is the merit of greater individuality in some of the more unusual bottlings. DE VELOPI NG A R A NGE If there were a “best” age for malt whisky. stone-built warehouses. with a variation employing Havana rum barrels). and eight years are commonly used in blends. while 12 is so common as to be regarded by consumers in some markets as a standard for mature malt. Now it is a 12-year-old and probably includes whiskies of up to 15 years old. No two casks. In Italy. Such a bottling is made for malt lovers who wish to explore. where the words “malt whisky” are potent.WHAT IS THE PERFECT AGE ? M AK I NG A VATTI NG The components of a bottling may also embrace casks of various sizes and with different histories. regulations demand that it be based on the youngest age. earth-floored. seven. distillers have offered not only a greater range of ages but also of strengths. Ages around six. In recent years. it would be universally adopted. adjustments will have to be made to account for the way in which the whisky has developed during maturation. with casks nine high. a 21-year-old (Millennium Reserve. Some of the lighter-bodied malts hit their stride at eight or ten years old. a 30year-old is appreciated. are alike. and especially those at cask strength. the producer might prefer to manage without an age statement. a 15-year-old (Solera Reserve). where age is respected. If it carries an age statement. even with the same origin. and several dated vintages (of which the 1961 was a single cask). 66 . separated by planks of wood. but they could be used in a vatting for a single malt.

whisky can be excessively woody (smelling like musty furniture in a derelict house). so Quercus robur and Q.000) in an auction in Milan. a whisky that has over-stayed its time on earth is sure to meet the angels. David Stewart. Young malts can inject liveliness to a vatting. 67 . The bottles were sold in London at around US$5000 (about £3. while the older ones add complexity. but – like death and taxes – evaporation eventually takes its toll. for the Islay Festival. or it can still be enjoyable at 50.WHAT IS THE PERFECT AGE ? Vintage whiskies While seeking consistency in its principal product. without excessive oakiness. The barley harvest and climate differ slightly each year. but he might well have preferred to approach the task from a wider angle: retaining some younger malts from the 8-year-old. Glenfiddich offers diversity of character in its vintages. with their reliance on bold statements of maturity.9 volume. Glenfiddich’s Malt Master. His 12-year-old is a deft transformation. but increasing the proportion of older malts (or increasing their ages). but are constrained by the marketing men. it was determined that a vatting of the seven would produce a bottling at 42. but that depends on the quality of the casks. In 2003. Evaporation had taken one or two to below 40 per cent alcohol. but one fetched US$70. but bigger differences develop in the cask. the whisky was surprisingly rounded and chocolatey. At such an age. alba are the greatest influences on the maturation of aqua vitae. especially oaks. the legal minimum for whisky. A whisky can be too woody at 21 years. nine casks of a 50-year-old Glenfiddich were bottled. Glenfiddich’s semi-centenarian whisky had been in excellent oak. Just as humans in ancient cultures revered trees. Blenders like to use a wide range of ages within a vatting.000 (about £40. For its age. creates daring whiskies that dance on the tongue with balletic elegance. This might have produced an even more complex whisky. Why did he not follow that course? Because it would have precluded the use of the age statement “12 years old”. When all had been checked.000) each. the Bunnahabhain distillery bottled seven hogsheads that had been filled in 1963. Unlike a human being. In 1991.


Over the years. Spain? Or perhaps in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri? The creation of alcoholic drinks in different parts of the world employs in various roles a whole alphabet of trees: for their fruits and berries. They must be tough and not split or leak. or simply to act as containers. yet also able to breathe during the maturation of the whisky. the cask will have seen two or three decades’ service. It must bend to make a barrel. but the cask may subsequently cross the Atlantic and be filled three or four times with the spirit of Scotland. D OA K A ND F L AVOUR Wooden casks were originally regarded simply as containers. Charring to enhance flavour is more typical in Kentucky. If each of those fillings is matured for only six or seven years. to provide vessels for fermentation or maturation. it has increasingly been recognized that the character of the wood plays a big part in the Tough but pliable Oak does not break under torture. juniper. Even in the most mechanized distillery. casks are rolled and occasionally dropped or bounced. as a fuel in the kilning of malt. but it bends to provide the elegant. then repeats the performance. Or did your favourite flavours emerge a century ago on a forest slope in Galicia. to act as a filter. strengthening curves of the cask. to make charcoal. This cooperage is in Andalusia. and customers noted that it mellowed in the cellar. United States regulations insist that bourbon is matured in new oak. Various drinks are stored in (or consumed from) cedar. If a cask is tapped at 25 years.THE PERFECT WOOD THE PERFECT WOOD ID THE FLAVOURS IN YOUR GLASS begin a dozen years ago. with the sowing of barley on the Black Isle? Or decades earlier. as a blizzard on the Grampians? If the malt was peated. Whisky was sold in the cask to inns and country houses. and chestnut. and perhaps also have some flavours and aromas to donate. 69 . it already has half a century under its belt. It must be tough. and the elegant curves of this traditional vessel strengthen it. just as an arch reinforces a building. They contain an increasingly precious product. you could be enjoying a few leaves of bog myrtle that have been waiting 7000 years for your rendezvous. Its most attractive property is its pliability. but the wood most commonly used for all those purposes is oak.

The epithet refers to the way the acorns are suspended on stalks. where the coast between the cities of Santander and Corunna faces the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. The principal growing area in Spain is the northwest corner of the country. The issue was not much discussed while former sherry casks were readily available for the maturation of whisky. and is typically found in England. These once fed shipyards making galleons. Distilleries anxious to continue sherry ageing now had to work directly with the bodegas in Jerez.THE PERFECT WOOD development of the whisky’s aromas and flavours. 70 . for the way the acorns “sit” on the twigs. Limousin and Tronçais oaks are usually of the Q. and Iberia. Behind the coast rise stony hills. there are more than half a dozen European species of oak tree. others for transport. its top managers have each year swapped the granite and heather of Speyside for the orange trees and Moorish architecture of Jerez. but how big? The perceived importance of wood has greatly increased across the industry in recent years. the pendunculate oak. Setting aside those that grow as shrubs and bushes. the dictator Franco died in 1975. France. These casks seem to have been accepted without much question. robur tolerates a wide range of growing conditions. The first choice is Quercus robur. yet opinions differ more widely than ever. and even tropical fruits such as banana. which as new make is rich in fruity esters reminiscent of flowering currant. The second choice is usually Quercus petraea. and now its final destination is Scotland. robur variety. citrus. These flavours are balanced by the tannins and acids found in European oak. As sherry fell out of fashion. others in maturation. The Q. exports to the United Kingdom diminished. the valleys between them dappled with oaks. then Spanish oak was turned into barrels for wine. where region appellations are used. W H IC H VA R I ETY OF OA K? The Macallan is a full-bodied whisky. Macallan has been the most consistently active proponent of this approach. Spain became a democracy. Meanwhile. known as the sessile oak. In France. They had contained different styles of sherry – and sometimes other fortified wines. Some had been used in fermentation. though they must have imparted a variety of characteristics. So through several changes of control at Macallan. and its trade unions insisted that the bottling of wines be carried out by local labour in Spain. apple. Two have traditionally been used in cooperage.

Many producers of lighter-bodied. for between two weeks and six months. in the region of Galicia. thus maintaining the sherryish character of the wood. and then used a second time. more delicate-tasting whiskies feel that they express their aromas and flavours more successfully when matured in bourbon barrels. and the staves then become casks at a cooperage in Jerez. more machine forces the hoops to hold the staves in position. which typically has a capacity of around 200 litres (44 UK gallons or 53 US gallons). but their size and weight make them difficult to handle. H OGS H EA D. The new heads also freshen up the wood influence. There is a beauty and an integrity to such vessels. They are filled with newly pressed cloudy grape juice. in the province of the same name. The staves are air-dried for 12 to 15 months simply by being left outdoors. including those of Torture continues … this Jerez. the barrel is shipped as staves. The term “hogshead” refers to a traditional cask size of 250 litres (55 UK gallons or 66 US gallons). The casks are shipped whole. 71 . even though many are wood finishes. It is then reassembled with new heads (barrel ends) to increase the size. Much as it is desired by Macallan.THE PERFECT WOOD The centre of the timber industry is the city of Lugo. but the designation is more commonly applied to a Scottish adaptation of an American barrel. usually with the latter in the majority. The weather washes out some of the tannins. and typically have a capacity of 500 litres (110 UK gallons or 132 US gallons). to mature sherry. In this instance. This would diminish if they were knocked down into staves. Iron lady Spanish wine makers. A sawmill there cuts staves for Macallan. Many single malts are vatted from a combination of sherry butts and bourbon barrels. BU T TS. increasingly prefer the sweeter. OR BA R RELS? The casks used for the maturation of sherry are known as butts. Spanish oak is less well supported in its own country. Sherry hogshead can be found. A long-time proponent of this approach is Glenmorangie. before being sent to Scotland. Its 10-year-old is wholly aged in bourbon. vanilla-like character of American oak. The term “American oak” is sometimes used to indicate a bourbon barrel. moderating the intensity of the wood. and this is the initial regime for other expressions.

Missouri. W H AT H APPENS DUR I NG AG EING Several processes take place during maturation. Perhaps the most important influence on the flavour is that of a very slow. with small. then whisky. caused by seasonal changes in temperature. While the new distillate may have some harsh. oak for the casks is grown around Altenburg. The soils are very well drained. This is white oak. and tannins. and bourbon barrels can impart caramel flavours. The town sign still uses the word “Stadt” for “city”. the casks can settle down to a life of sipping sherry. 72 . without knots. but the winter cold has enough restraint not to damage the crop. gentle oxidation of the whisky. This is an area of mixed deciduous woodland. and with good pores. With the expansion and contraction of the wood.THE PERFECT WOOD The man in charge of distillation and maturation for Glenmorangie. More than 360 kilometres (225 miles) southwest and 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of St Louis. these can be lost by evaporation. and salty “sea-air” characteristics can all be acquired in this way. Quercus alba. Flavours are also imparted by the cask: sherry wood may add the nutty note of the wine. Bill Lumsden. While oxygen is regarded as an “enemy” by brewers and some wine makers. has worked with the Blue Grass Cooperage in Louisville to develop a bourbon barrel that perfectly suits both sides of the Atlantic. because it can cause “stale” flavours. a town settled by immigrants from Saxony in Germany. The importance of oxidation in the Steam heat Scalded into submission … after these sequences of tortures. seaweedy. “spirity” flavours. spirit flavours may be exhaled and the natural aromas of the environment taken into the cask: piney. The wood is clean. privately owned lots. The part of the country has four definite seasons. its influence is also a part of the character of other drinks such as Madeira wines. vanillins.

LIG H T. and additionally pulls together the various flavours present. Some distillers feel that the more restrained second fill provides a better balance. trees from the most mountainous districts of Galicia are more resiny. it is likely to go for blending after which. A sherry butt or bourbon barrel will impart considerable aroma and flavour to its first fill of whisky. Vanillin is a component that occurs naturally in oak. 30 or 40 years on. They convert oxygen to hydrogen peroxide. Charring gives the spirit access to positive properties and flavours in the wood. and its growth patterns. OR A L L I GATO R? Bourbon barrels are toasted or charred on the inside to enable the whiskey to permeate the wood. originally at the Pentlands Scotch Whisky Research Institute. 73 . and Arkansas. As in the production of all alcoholic drinks. and more recently by his own company. and alligator. As its name suggests. medium. which has the most open texture and is the most active in the maturation process. it imparts a vanilla-like flavour. and therefore the trees have to fight to survive. but it seems more likely to have emerged from the technique of toasting the wood to make it pliable. but also enables it better to expel undesirable flavours. the flavours emerge from a complex series of actions and reactions. which attacks the wood. growth is mainly in a belt across Ohio. Dr Swan argues that oxidation increases the complexity and intensity of pleasant flavours in whisky. the inside of the cask might be recharred. Illinois. “First-fill sherry casks were used in the maturation of this whisky” is the type of claim that appears on the neck label of an especially voluptuous malt. Kentucky. Traces of copper from the stills are the catalyst. The western part of this contiguous region has the poorest soil and the most arid climate. but let the character of the spirit speak for itself. There are stories of this happy discovery having arisen from an accidental fire. The latter. and minty notes. Missouri. releasing vanillin. leaves the wood looking like a log so heavily burned that it has formed a pattern of squares reminiscent of an alligator’s skin. In Spain. especially fragrant. If there is a fourth fill. A third fill will impart little. This optimizes spring growth.THE PERFECT WOOD maturation of whisky has been the subject of much recent work by Dr Jim Swan. American cooperages typically offer three degrees of char: light. fruity. This promotes oxidation. These processes vary according to the region of origin of the wood. The preferred word is “rejuvenated”. M EDI UM . In the US. spicy. the heaviest.

of every Scottish malt distillery that has ever witnessed its product in a bottle. The next bottle under the same name might contain an entirely different whisky. They are listed here by the most recent name on the label of the principal bottlings. distributors. If you have bought. its name is not that of a distillery. though reference may be made in the text to earlier names. it has also shaken loose a handful into various degrees of independence. Although the overall effect has been to concentrate control of Scotland’s distilleries yet further. or are considering buying. These are not “brands” (though their names may be registered). 74 . in the ownership of distilleries have taken place in the first few years of this millennium. about half of which are international drinks companies. If it is not listed there. Ninety per cent of them are owned by groups.OWNERS . but the source could change at any time. rustic distilleries. Loch Sporran). check the index. distillers. NAMES OF DISTILLERIES Some distilleries have been known over the years by several different names. but bottlings from their stocks are still being made. WHO OWNS THE DISTILLERIES? The biggest changes ever seen i N THE NEXT SECTION IS A REVIEW. Among today’s distilleries. These products are not reviewed. only the relatively new Kininvie has not seen its product. Ninety-odd distilleries are working or capable of being put into operation. Glen Bagpipe. or were within recent memory – and therefore may still be on the odd shelf. The bottle will probably contain whisky supplied by a reputable distiller who happens to have a surplus. AND BOTTLERS owners. DISTILLERS . a deliciously creamy whisky. Importers. Some of the world’s biggest corporations own tiny. and bottlers in alphabetical order. and supermarkets often buy malt whisky to bottle under invented names (for example. Some of the distilleries reviewed have long closed. a malt that appears not to be in this book. bottled. they are actual distilleries: premises at which malt is turned into whisky.

twenty-seven malt distilleries. As the Distillers Company Limited (DCL). the Canadian whisky distillers. all on Speyside. though this rubric does not appear on the labels.OWNERS . Small. and the least changed since the 4th edition of this book. which is intended to speak of the daily pleasures of food and drink. It owns four maltings. Seagram had become 75 . Although each malt in these two families has its own label design. This group began with two brothers from the Highlands and a wine and spirits shop established in Aberdeen in the mid-1800s. Taking advantage of the shutdown of US distilling during Prohibition. The new company acknowledged the growing interest in malts by introducing bottlings from six distilleries. These were dubbed The Classic Malts. Cuervo tequila. AND BOTTLERS TH E IN TER NATI ONA L DR I NKS COM PA NI ES Diageo is the giant of the industry. Some elements of this business date from the 1700s. More recently. and many other drinks. This was purely for local sale. this group produced almost all the famous names in blended Scotch. This still left many UD distilleries without a bottled single malt to offer tourists in their region. though it soon became more widely popular. when a portfolio of distilleries was assembled to produce whiskies to create blends. DISTILLERS . DCL merged with Bell’s to become United Distillers (UD). Smirnoff vodka. The business was acquired as a foothold in Scotland by Seagram. in 1997 and coined the name Diageo. UD merged with Britain’s other drinks giant. outstanding batches are bottled each year as Special Releases. As stocks diminished. A range with labels showing local flora and fauna was developed. Guinness stout. Chivas Brothers has 11 distilleries. In the 1980s. the graphic genre is similar. The group owns Tanqueray gin. but its emergence as a group can be traced to the 1880s. International Distillers and Vintners (IDV). and two grain distilleries. UD then decided to bottle stocks they still held from distilleries that had closed or that had even been demolished. The same whiskies have since been offered with wood finishes as The Distillers Edition. These were identified as The Rare Malts. and marketed at prices that reflected their scarcity value. This was reflected in an extension of the series as Cask Strength Limited Editions. some whiskies that were appreciated by connoisseurs but not widely known have been released as Hidden Malts. including famous names like The Glenlivet. this series then began to call upon rare vintages from distilleries still in operation. each highlighting a different region. and dominated the industry for 100 years.

was owned by United Distillers until the merger that created Diageo. the vermouth producer. a familycontrolled drinks company in Thailand. These are called Special Distillery Bottlings. its Scottish distilleries were acquired in 2001 by Pernod Ricard. and wine. Among its ten distilleries. and withdrew from distilling. The other distilleries in the group have bottlings primarily for sale to visitors. The Famous Grouse. The core of the group was known as Highland Distillers until a complex realignment in 1999/2000. but the company has since 2001 been owned by Pacific Spirits. on Islay. Laphroaig. Allied-Domecq is today’s parent. Diageo already owned Johnnie Walker and J&B. but was given its present shape by a management buy-out. 76 . and its products are readily available. the best-selling blend in the US. Its coal-fired Highland distillery. In one of the industry’s biggest takeovers. Its original parent was Hiram Walker. is now an international drinks company. Its malt distilleries include Macallan and Highland Park. and three others were sold to Bacardi. Bacardi already owned Glen Deveron. It subsequently diversified into the entertainment industry. is the only one to have been consistently promoted. Inver House has its origins in a long-gone American group. Aberfeldy. It has links with Rémy-Cointreau. Its subsidiaries include Irish Distillers Limited and Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon. During the 1990s. This family-owned business. embracing sherry. Allied’s distilleries have over the years produced whisky primarily for the internationally known Ballantine’s blends. the French brandy and liqueur company. AND BOTTLERS the world’s biggest drinks company. brandy. producer of Canadian Club. Allied Distillers also has roots in Canada’s sales of whisky to the United States. reopened in 2002. Dewar’s principal distillery.OWNERS . the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission were both concerned about market domination. In approving the merger. the company bought distilleries that were silent or surplus to the requirements of their owners. through Martini & Rossi. The Scottish management remains. the rum producer. Glendronach. Dewar’s. involving several other old-established businesses in the Scottish whisky trade. Three groups have five malt distilleries each: The Edrington Group produces one of Britain’s best selling blends. DISTILLERS . based on pastis.

77 . Its distilleries are Glenmorangie. The company also owns Auchentoshan. but in 2001 there was a management buy-out. the last Lowlander to practise triple distillation. Glenmorangie is the biggest selling malt in Scotland and the fourth worldwide. it added Bunnahabhain. He and his family built the Glenfiddich distillery in 1886. formerly known as Macdonald & Muir. is still family controlled. William Grant also owns the Girvan grain distillery. Morrison Bowmore was a family business. and Ardbeg. in 1990. the original name was reinstated. but is quoted on the London Stock Exchange. Glenmorangie plc. Based in Trinidad. using the name Kyndal. A small stake is held by the company’s American distributor.OWNERS . Angostura acquired Burn Stewart. with a portfolio including rums and wines. In 2003. The third distillery in the group is Glen Garioch. Kininvie was added rather more recently. Glen Moray. this company produces the well-known cocktail bitters. and Balvenie in 1892. owner of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. (The first is an international drinks group. The company’s growth has been a well-earned reward for its vision in pioneering the marketing of single malts. William Grant & Sons remains a family firm. the next three are only involved in whisky distilling): Burn Stewart is now owned by Angostura Limited. Four companies each have a trio of malt distilleries. This piquant product may seem a drop in the ocean of drink. in the Highlands. DISTILLERS . The Whyte and Mackay distilleries were for a time owned by Jim Beam. owner of the Tobermory and Deanston distilleries. The Morrison family had a long co-operation with Suntory before the Japanese giant became the proud owner of this small but well-balanced business. built around the highly regarded maltings and distillery in the “capital” of Islay. Some vintage bottlings bear the rubric Stillman’s Dram. The original William Grant was a distillery manager before he set up his own. In 2003. The company also owns the Invergordon grain distillery. but it has given rise to its own international company. Brown Forman. Later the same year. AND BOTTLERS One company has four malt distilleries: Whyte and Mackay is an old-established name that has been resurrected.

In recent reshuffles. D E G RE E S OF I NDEPENDENCE Two companies own a couple of malt distilleries each: Loch Lomond owns the long-established malt distillery of the same name (with additionally a grain distillery on the site). Angus Dundee is a small company bottling under the name MacKillop’s Choice. Tomatin is owned by Takara Shuzo Co. and opened the Speyside (Drumguish) distillery in 1990. Scott’s Selection is owned by the Christie family. old-established Japanese whisky distiller and competitor to Suntory. 78 . Gordon & MacPhail bought Benromach from UD and reopened it in 1998. Ltd. Ian Macleod acquired Glengoyne in 2003. and has now added Glen Scotia. Other links between bottlers and distilleries: Cadenhead has long shared ownership with Springbank.OWNERS . producers of the Japanese spirit shochu. acquired from Jim Beam in 2000. (It also owned Littlemill. but this distillery is no longer operating and has been partially demolished). it acquired the Tomintoul distillery from Jim Beam and Glencadam from Allied. AND BOTTLERS Two more distilleries are in Japanese ownership:Ben Nevis is owned by the Asahi subsidiary Nikka. acquired in 2003 from Pernod Ricard. DISTILLERS . Murray McDavid has some common ownership with Bruichladdich. Signatory has the same principal as Edradour.

and even bought back casks. (See Gordon & MacPhail and Cadenhead. AND BOTTLERS Distilleries not linked to other businesses: Tullibardine (mothballed). The original farm distilleries pre-dated mechanized bottling. and supply them to blenders.) TH E C ONF US I NG WOR L D O F IN DE P ENDENT B OTTL ERS Newcomers to the world of single malts are often puzzled by the way in which whisky from the same distillery may appear under several different labels. and is still in the family. Two merchants. or licensed grocers or wine and spirit merchants. type of cask). DISTILLERS . hotels. (There is no connection with William Grant & Sons or the Glen Grant Distillery. some famous distilleries have very definite ideas about the way their whisky is presented as a single malt (age. the availability of this whisky is exciting the interest of a growing number of independent bottlers. whiskies from 20 or 30 different distilleries may all appear under labels which are almost identical.OWNERS . some do not wish to be concerned with the business of single malt. often speculatively. Brokers buy casks of whisky. the trade of whisky broker emerged. These terms imply a bottling that has been made on behalf of the distillery’s owners. As most distilleries still supply the bulk of their output for blending. Glenfarclas is the last family-owned single distillery. or merchants. part of Jim Beam’s sale to Kyndal. The terms “distillery bottling” or “official bottling” are occasionally used in this book. it was acquired two years later by John Grant. This can be difficult when the brand name is also a place. A great deal of whisky is in the hands of brokers. This is because. Distilleries that are owned by groups 79 . with three exceptions. At the opposite extreme. to prevent independent bottlings. With the growing interest in single malts. below. Some have controlled stock. Bladnoch was bought by a private individual from UD and restarted production in 2001. and are happy to leave it to the independent bottlers. They sold their whisky by the cask to wealthy householders. distilleries do not carry out their own bottling. bottlers. established in 1995 as an independent business. Arran is a new distillery. Equally. kept malts alive after the industry turned its attention almost entirely to blends. sold to a consortium proposing to run the distillery as part of a retail development. dating from the 1800s.) As the practice of blending grew. Others have taken legal action. Licensed as a farm distillery in 1836. strength.

Typically bottles at 50 volume. This makes for a great diversity of interesting bottlings. but its bottlings reach every corner of the world. AND BOTTLERS will usually have a central bottling line. Independent bottlings (as Old Malt Cask) since 1998. Duncan Taylor Shop in Huntly. The company is happy to buy small quantities of whiskies as they become available. DISTILLERS . but family has been in the whisky trade since 1949. often with a typical sherry-aged character. Cadenhead led the way in not chill filtering. Gordon & MacPhail is a family-owned shop in the Speyside heartland at Elgin. so that bottling runs are short and the age or type of cask used may vary greatly. OT H E R I NDEPENDENTS Adelphi Emphasizes cask strength. Whiskies bottled “on lees”. Large portfolio. Aberdeenshire. Cadenhead has since the 1960s been owned by the proprietors of Springbank. For this reason Gordon & MacPhail’s bottlings of a particular malt have a consistency of style. Berry Brothers Seek whiskies that are good examples of the distillery’s character (see Glenrothes). Bottler since 2002. Over the decades. Douglas Laing Likes to offer contrasting expressions from the same distillery. Ranges include Peerless and Whisky Galore. Coopers Choice Good regional diversity.OWNERS . in Campbeltown. Bottlings range from the noble to the downright eccentric. it has acquired considerable stocks. Tends toward full-flavoured whiskies. Founded in 1995 by whisky writer Robin Tucek. Raw Cask is a sub-range. whose forebears owned the Adelphi Distillery (1825–1902) in Glasgow. especially those in the Connoisseurs Choice Range. Part of The Vintage Malt Whisky Company. Founded in 1992 by a former sales director of Morrison Bowmore. based on 80 . Blackadder The jocular name is appropriate. Founded in the early 1990s by Jamie Walker. which it has matured in its own warehouses. typically within easy reach of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Wilson & Morgan Has used Marsala barrels. Bottling since 1992. Bottling recent. Smart packaging. England). Low-profile business. Started in mid-1990s by blender Rob Scott (now retired). Lombard Sensitive to age. Abe Rosenberg. Signatory pioneered single cask bottlings. and Oddbins (UK chain). and bottling business established by George Christie (see Drumguish). Bottler since 1998.OWNERS . These include: The Whisky Shop (Glasgow and branches). Importing since 1960s. Linked to the warehousing. Royal Mile Whiskies (Edinburgh and London). Buys whiskies and continues to mature. The Wee Dram (Bakewell. Bequeathed by pioneering American importer. Scott’s Selection Emphasizes silent stills and rare malts. 81 . James MacArthur “Small is Beautiful”. Ian Macleod Rare malts at unusual ages or with distinctive finishes. MacKillop’s Choice Selections By Lorne MacKillop. The Mission range is selected by Jim McEwan. Whiskies reviewed include some bottlings for retailers in the UK. Hart Brothers Emphasizes wood finishes and good oak character. Bottling since 1989. Chieftain’s and Dun Bheagan ranges since 2000. blending. The Vintage House and The Whisky Exchange (both London). Established in 1988 and one of the few to have its own bottling line. Master of Wine. Murray McDavid Has sought in each bottling (since 1996) “the truest expression of the distillery”. Selects in the basis of best age for each whisky. of Bruichladdich. AND BOTTLERS inventory (some dating from the 1960s). started as a hobby in 1982. Blender and broker since 1930s. Based in Italy. Signatory Father of the new wave of bottlers. Wine background since 1960s. DISTILLERS . Founder Andrew Symington previously worked in hotels. but brokers since late 1960s.


Finish Nutty dryness. if the whisky is a light. in which the flavours of a great whisky are fused. Red apples. Almost rhubarb-like. A tasting note cannot be definitive. Severely marked down for those reasons. Body Textured. too. Nose Jammy. Some malts are made to higher standards than others. or with a book at bedtime). but it can be a useful guide. or peaty and smoky. first. Peaches. The tasting notes start with a comment on the house style – a quick. no one denies that a Château Latour is more complex than a massmarket table wine. With the cheese? After dinner? SCORE 69 COLOUR The natural colour of a malt matured in plain wood is a very pale yellow. dry malt. and will tell you. The fine wines of the whisky world are the single malts. 29-year-old. Palate An extraordinarily fruity whisky. 55. These suggestions are meant as an encouragement to try each in a congenial situation. it is hard to divine any Auchentoshan character. for example. Fluffy. before looking at the variations that emerge in different ages and bottlings. Living in the mountains and surrounded by sea. Some distilleries use casks A character-forming home Skye forms a natural crucible. This cannot be obscured by the producers’ blustery arguments about “personal taste”. Australian Shiraz. or if it is rich and sherryish. I also suggest the best moment for each distillery’s whiskies (such as before dinner.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS a–z of single malts HATEVER THE ARGUMENTS about their relative prices. the whisky assumes a gusty salt-and-pepper house character. general indication of what to expect from each distillery’s products. They are not meant to be taken with excessive seriousness. ranging from amber to ruby to deep brown. Peach-stone flavours. W Tasting note example: AUCHENTOSHAN 1973. can be imparted by sherry wood. Underneath all that. and some are inherently more distinctive than their neighbours.8 vol Colour Pinkish red. with peach dominant. 83 . Darker shades. Sherry Butt No 793.

smoothness. In most single malts. It is a crescendo. if at all. The scoring system is intended merely as a guide to the status of the malts. I have adopted this technique in my tastings for this book. FINISH In all types of alcoholic drink. Anything in the 70s is worth tasting. there is recollection in tranquillity. or satisfy. in search of its full character. and seaweed. We enjoy food and drink with our eyes as well as our nose and palate. I like to be whistling the tune. NOSE Anyone sampling any food or drink experiences much of the flavour through the sense of smell. the “finish” is a further stage of the pleasure. This is inspired by the system of scoring wines devised by the American writer Robert Parker. When the music of the malt fades. Some present a very extensive development of palate. however important that may be. Body and texture (sometimes known as “mouth feel”) are distinct features of each malt. A taster working with an unfamiliar malt may go back to it several times over a period of days. coastal brine. I do not suggest that one colour is in itself better than another. distinctive and exceptional. and this can cause a caramel-like appearance and palate. Some add caramel to balance the colour. A modest score should not dissuade anyone from trying a malt. though a particular subtle hue can heighten the pleasure of a fine malt. Perhaps I was less than enthusiastic. PALATE In the enjoyment of any complex drink. especially above 75. The 60s suggest an enjoyable but unexceptional malt. This is notably true of single malts. a minute. Whisky is highly aromatic. say. The 90s are the greats. soothe. The pleasures described above cannot be measured with precision. In this book. in my view. each sip will offer new aspects of the taste. SCORE 84 . Even one sip will gradually unfold a number of taste characteristics in different parts of the mouth over a period of. you might love it. followed by a series of echoes. or richness might refresh. a rating in the 50s indicates a malt that in my view lacks balance or character. When I leave the bottle. and the aromas of malts include peat. BODY Lightness. Each tasting note is given a score out of 100.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS that have been treated with concentrated sherry. toasty maltiness. it is more than a simple aftertaste. for example. flowers. honey. The 80s are. and which – in fairness – was probably never meant to be bottled as a single.

or book-at-bedtime. When UD merged with IDV in 1998. cleanly fruity. and more of everything. DCL. Aultmore. and was introduced to the wine trade at the age of 22 by a distant cousin.dewarswow. Some of the space liberated at the distilleries was then used to expand still-houses. an earlier distillery.ABERFELDY ABERFELDY Region Tel Email John Dewar & Sons Ltd Highlands District Eastern Highlands Address Aberfeldy. and Royal Brackla were sold to become John Dewar & Sons. The hard water used at the distillery rises from whinstone flecked with iron and gold. Then Aberfeldy. it had an embarrassment of distilleries. The upgraded still-house at Aberfeldy is in the classic design of the period. Perhaps it is the Aberfeldy malt that imparts to Dewar’s that fresh. and runs through pine. music. flavours. uses aromas. The family blended whisky and in 1896–98 established their own distillery at Aberfeldy. House style EWAR’S WORLD OF WHISKY. PH15 2EB 01887 822010 Website www. and it continued to do so in recent years under the ownership of United Distillers. interactive games. The 25-year-old has deeper aromas and flavours. Sociable. vigorous. fruitier. though malting stopped in 1972. The stills themselves are tall. under the ownership of Bacardi. Craigellachie. Aberfeldy still has its pagoda. and is well captured in some of the early advertising. Perthshire. birch. The owners at the time. lively crispness. depending upon ascending age.com worldofwhisky@dewars. Oily. Its job was to provide the heart of the malt whisky content of the Dewar’s blends. at a time when production was being increased. 85 . spruce. were closing distillery maltings in favour of centralized sites.com VC (Visitor Centre) Producer D which opened in 2000. and entire room settings to celebrate one of Scotland’s great whisky families. The original John Dewar was born on a croft near Aberfeldy in 1806. with dessert. It is piped from the ruins of Pitilie. no longer in operation. and in a more refreshing style. The UD Flora and Fauna 15-year-old has now been replaced by a Dewar’s bottling at 12 years old. and bracken. The buccaneering style that made Dewar’s White Label a bestseller typified the commercial energy that made blended Scotch the world’s most popular spirit. The distillery also has a small steam locomotive. with a gentle contour. This younger whisky is lighter in body.

Connoisseurs Choice. Body Syrupy but not cloying. Body Light on the tongue. Palate Even maltier. Warm. Gently warming. SCORE 76 Finish ABERFELDY 25-year-old. 40 vol Colour Bronze. A hint of smokiness. SCORE 77 Some independent bottlings ABERFELDY 1978. Nose More aromatic. Orange zest. Trifle sponges.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS ABERFELDY 12-year-old. Palate More expressive. Finish Like biting into a kumquat. Finish Appetizing. Shortbread. Warm. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Oily. Spicy. Very dry. Nose Lively. SCORE 78 86 . Palate Emphatically clean fruitiness. Warming. A touch of oily. Drier. topped with glazed almonds and orange peel. Dusty. Lemony. Sweeter. Spicier. 40 vol Colour Warm gold to bronze. Malty sweetness. Scenty. perfumy peat. Toasted marshmallows. Nose A hint of sherry. More complex. Tangerines. Very citrusy. Body Oilier. elegant whisky. A beautifully complex.


ABERFELDY 1978, Signatory, 43 vol Colour Greeny gold. White wine. Nose Lightly dry. Incense. Flowery. Body Oily. Palate Orangey, but more creamy in style. Less complex. Finish Very sweet indeed, though there is a sudden hit of peaty-smoke dryness in the finish. Very long. Sweet enough to try with (or in) trifle.


Now hard to find

ABERFELDY 15-year-old, Flora and Fauna, 43 vol Colour Amber. Nose Oil, incense, heather, lightly piney, and peaty (especially after water is added). Body Medium, very firm. Palate Very full flavours. Light peat, barley. Fresh, clean touches of Seville orange, rounded. Finish Sweetness moves to fruitiness, then to firm dryness.


ABERFELDY 1980, Bottled 1997, Cask Strength Limited Bottling, 62 vol Colour Pale gold. Nose Restrained, fragrant, pine and heather. Drier. Body Medium, smooth, distinctly oily. Palate Creamier, nuttier. Hint of orange toffee. Still lively, but two or three years in the cask has brought more tightly combined flavours. Finish Nutty, late pine. Leafy, peppery dryness.


Other versions of Aberfeldy

A 14-year-old from Adelphi (bottled 1997) had a deliciously fresh orange toffee character, with a fruity, peppery finish. SCORE 77 A Scott’s Selection 1978, at 59.3 vol, was powerfully fruity and piney, with a bitter finish. SCORE 75







Region tel Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Strathspey) address Aberlour, Banffshire, AB3 9PJ 01340 881249 website www.aberlour.co.uk VC

2002, with its dazzling family of Speyside distilleries (The Glenlivet, Glen Grant, and Longmorn are but three), will French parents Pernod Ricard still love Aberlour? It was their Number One son; now it has siblings. The whisky is well respected in Scotland, but its greatest popularity, based on merit as much as on adoptive parentage, is in France. At the Speyside Festival in May, the distillery has hosted a series of whisky dinners created by spirited writer Martine Nouet. Aberlour is at least a super-middleweight in body. With medals galore in recent years, it competes as a light-heavyweight, standing up well against bigger names, much as Georges Carpentier did. Aberlour rhymes with “power” in English, but most French-speakers make it sound more like “amour”. The regular range in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom comprises the 10-year-old, the a’bunadh, and the 15-year-old sherry wood finish, but there are larger selections in duty-free and in France. The overall range includes a great many minor variations. Since 2002, visitors to the distillery have been able to hand-fill their own personally labelled bottle of Aberlour, from an identified single cask. A sherry butt and a bourbon barrel, each felt to provide a good example of its style, are set aside for this purpose. As each is exhausted, it is replaced by a similar cask. This personalized whisky is bottled at cask strength. On the main road (A95) that follows the eastern bank of the Spey, an 1890s lodge signals the distillery, which is hidden a couple of hundred yards into the glen of the river Lour (little more than a burn). The Lour flows into the Spey. The site was known for a well associated with St Drostan, from the epoch of St Columba. The distilling water is soft. It rises from the granite of Ben Rinnes, by way of a spring in the glen of the Allachie, and is piped half a mile to the distillery.


Soft texture, medium to full flavours, nutty, spicy (nutmeg?), sherry-accented. With dessert, or after dinner, depending upon maturity. 88


ABERLOUR 10-year-old, Principal Version, 43 vol Colour Amber. Nose Malty, spicy, mint toffee. Body Remarkably soft and smooth. Medium to full. Palate Distinctively clinging mouth feel, with long-lasting flavour development. Both sweetness and spicy, peppery dryness in its malt character. Nutmeg and berry fruit. Finish Lingering, smooth, aromatic, clean.


ABERLOUR a’bunadh (“The Origin”), No Age Statement, 59.6 vol A single malt comprising Aberlours from less than 10 to more than 15 years, vatted together. All sherry-ageing, with an emphasis on second-fill dry oloroso. No chill filtration. Mainly in duty-free and British Isles. In Victorian-style bottle. Colour Dark orange. Nose Sherry, mint, pralines. Luxurious, powerful. Body Full, creamy, textured, layered. Palate Rich, luxurious, and creamy, with a hint of mint and cherries behind. Finish Nougat, cherry brandy, ginger, faint smoke. Definitely after dinner.








ABERLOUR a’bunadh Sterling Silver, 12-year-old, 58.7 vol Colour Darker. Deep, shiny, chestnut. Nose Sherry, mint, pralines. Oakier and smokier than the version above. Sherry. Black chocolate. Oil of peppermint. Body Big, firm. Palate Drier. Spicier. Ginger-and-plum preserve. More assertive. Finish Long. Lots of alcohol, but warming and soothing. Prunes. Sappy, juicy fresh oak. Cedar. Cigar boxes.


ABERLOUR 12-year-old, Sherry-matured, 43 vol Matured in first-fill dry oloroso. Originally marketed in France, but now mainly found in duty-free. Colour Full amber. Nose Nutty, appetizing, relatively fresh, sherry aroma. Body Medium, soft. Palate Fresh, soft, malty. Soft liquorice, anis, hint of blackcurrant. Finish Silky, enwrapping, soothing.


ABERLOUR 12-year-old, Double Cask Matured, 40 vol Vatting of first-fill sherry and unspecified refill casks. Mainly for the French market. Colour Bronze. Nose Earthy, fruity. Pears. Apples. Tarte tatin. Body Medium, firm. Palate Melty pastry. Caramel sauce. Custard (in this instance, let’s call it crème anglaise). Leaves of garden mint. Finish More of the mint. Now it has become spearmint. Ends rather abruptly and sharply.


ABERLOUR 16-year-old, Double Cask Matured, 43 vol Same principle as the above. Also for the French market. Colour Bronze red. Nose Seville oranges, lemons. Turkish delight. Rose-water. Body Gently rounded. Palate Smooth. Spun sugar. Caramel. Tightly combined flavours. The extra years have made a big difference. Finish Cinnamon. Ground nutmeg. Nutty.




ABERLOUR Cuvée Marie d’Ecosse, 15-year-old, 43 vol A marriage of bourbon- and sherry-aged Aberlour, for the French market. Colour Amber. Nose Malty and toffeeish, developing flowering currant. Body Medium to full. Silky smooth. Palate Toffee, liquorice, anise, crème brûlée. Finish Late spiciness and ginger. Long, soothing.


ABERLOUR 15-year-old, Sherry Wood Finish, 40 vol A marriage of sherry and bourbon. Finished in sherry. Colour Fuller reddish amber. Nose Roses, candyfloss (cotton candy), slightly buttery. Body Very firm. Smooth. Palate Rounded, tightly combined flavours. Beautiful balance of sherryish nuttiness, anise, and emphatic orange flower. Finish Cookies, liquorice toffee. Rootiness, spiciness, emphatic mint, late dryness.









ABERLOUR 21-year-old, Limited Edition, Cask No 32, 43 vol Mainly in duty-free and North America. Colour Bright pale orange. Nose Sherry, oak, polished leather. Body Firm, smooth, lightly creamy. Palate Packed with lively flavours: malt, cookies, fruit, mint. Finish Spicy, rooty, dry, and very long.


ABERLOUR 23-year-old, 40 vol The intention is to create a position in the regular range for a vatting highlighting the oldest whiskies in the distillery’s warehouses. Based on current stocks, this emerges at 23 years. Colour Brassy. Pale for an Aberlour. Nose Fresh, pronounced mint toffee. Body Creamy. Shortbread. Palate Syrupy, fruity. Apricot. Finish Slightly tart, sharp. Dryish. Violets.



ABERLOUR 1980, 43 vol Minimum age 22 years, in second-fill casks, mainly bourbon but with some sherry. Mainly for the French market. Colour Iridescent greeny gold. Nose Delicately spicy. Develops in the glass. Vanilla. Cedar. Body Light but textured. Palate A sudden explosion of spicy flavours, especially nutmeg, but also cinnamon and pepper. Finish Curiously bittersweet. Briar-like. Very lively.


ABERLOUR 30-year-old, Limited Edition, Bottle 852, 43 vol Mainly in duty-free and North America, but now very hard to find. Colour Amber. Nose Polished leather. Tobacco. Cigars. Body Firm, smooth. Palate Firmly malty, creamy, liquorice, rootiness, hint of smoky peat. Complex and sophisticated. Maturity and finesse. Finish Surprisingly fresh oak. Sappiness. Log fires. Warming.




ABERLOUR Distiller’s Selection, 1988, 40 vol Mainly for the Spanish market. Colour Amber. Nose Soft but expressive. Bourbon oak. Nuts. Fudge. Citrus. Body Medium to full. Smooth. Rich. Palate A dazzling display of fresh malty flavours. Sweetish, but beautifully balanced. Butterscotch, vanilla, orange and lemon, sambuca. Finish Sticky toffee pudding, balanced by a dryness like crystallized ginger.


ABERLOUR 1976, 21-year-old, Bottle 921 of 3000, 43 vol Matured in first-fill bourbon casks. Colour Bright amber. Nose Quick, assertive malt honey, then powerful berry fruit at back of nose. Blackberries? Body Medium, firm, almost crunchy. Palate Dryish, nutty, toffee, fruit, nutmeg. Lacking in roundness. Finish Restrained sappy oak. Gingery, warming.


ABERLOUR 1964, 25-year-old, Bottle 5664 of 10,000, 43 vol Colour Full amber. Nose Richer oak. Body Medium to full. Firm, smooth, slippery. Palate Firm, smooth. Very good oaky extract. Hint of vanilla creaminess. Finish Firm, rounded dryness. Hint of perfuminess.



ABERLOUR Antique, No Age Statement, 43 vol Contains whiskies of 10 to 25 years. Bottled for duty-free stores. Colour Full amber. Nose Oloroso sherry, treacle, raisins. Body Firmer. Palate More dryness, cookie-like malt notes, and spiciness. Finish More complex and spicy, with hints of peat. After dinner.








ABERLOUR 18-year-old, Sherry Wood Matured, 43 vol 100% sherry-aged. Mainly for the North American market. Colour Bright orangey amber. Nose Sherryish but dry and slightly oaky. Burnt sugar. Spicy, rounded, teasing. Body Smooth, nutty. Palate Well balanced. Spicy, flowery, nutmeg, nutty, fruity. Light, delicate flavours for this distillery and age. Finish Fresh sherry and oak.


ABERLOUR 100º Proof, No Age Statement (Around 10 years), 57.1 vol Mainly in duty-free. Colour Bright orangey amber. Nose Fresh oak, giving way to light nuttiness and sherry. Body Firmer, crisper. Palate Dry oiliness. Delicious, soft fruitiness. (Apricots? Cherries?) Much more spiciness. Some butterscotch, toffee, and cough-candy. Both robust (tastes relatively young) and complex. Finish Big, firm, dry. This version is more of a winter warmer.


Some independent bottlings

A 12-year-old, at 50 vol, distilled in 1988, in Douglas Laing’s Old Malt Cask series, had the colour of ripe limes; a blossoming fruitiness; a smooth, sweet, perfumy palate; and a honeyed, distinctively aromatic, soothing warmth in the finish. score 84 An Aberlour distilled in 1990 was bottled in 2002, at 59.9 vol, by Blackadder, in its Raw Cask series. It had a slightly darker colour, again with a greenish tinge. It was very similar, but with a warming finish that was curiously dry and medicinal. score 79 A 1989 distillate, at 46 vol, bottled at 13 years old by Cadenhead, had a very pale greenish colour; a lightly syrupy, intensely sweet, scenty palate; and a soothing, dryish, but more rounded, finish. score 82 A 1970, at 46 vol, from Lombard, had a full gold colour, with a bronze tinge. The whisky had some more nutty toasty, notes in the palate, and a hint of peat in the finish. score 85




Region address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Fiddich) Glenrinnes, Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4DB

enlivened Speyside in the mid-1970s, with four or five new distilleries built. It was one of those periods when the industry tries to catch up with underestimated demand. This distillery and the present Braeval were built by Seagrams. Their light, airy architecture is a happy marriage of traditional allusions and modern ideas, but they are lacking in humanity. Both are designed to operate with minimal staff, and their spirit is matured in central warehousing elsewhere. In Gaelic, Allt-á-Bhainne means “the milk burn”, and the distillery lies to the west of the River Fiddich in the foothills of Ben Rinnes, near Dufftown. Its malt whisky is a component of the Chivas blends. There have been no official bottlings, so malt lovers curious to taste the whisky have had to rely on independents. One of them, Cadenhead, has released two different casks from the same year.
House style


Light, slightly vegetal, flowery-spicy. Aperitif.

ALLT-A-BHAINNE 16-year-old, The Old Malt Cask, 50 vol Colour Bright, pale, greeny gold. Nose Hint of peat. Seaweed (the edible kind). Soy sauce. Nutty. Sweaty. Body Light, flabby. Palate Bean curd. Protein-like. Oyster crackers. Finish Sweet. Biscuity.








ALLT-A-BHAINNE 1992, 9-year-old, Cadenhead, 58.8 vol Colour Pale greeny gold. Nose Faint hint of peat. Flowery. Slightly gummy. Body Lightly syrupy. Palate Intensely sweet. Lemon-sherbet. Surprisingly aggressive. Peppery. Finish Liquorice. Fennel. Soothing.


ALLT-A-BHAINNE 1992, 9-year-old, Cadenhead, 59.4 vol Colour Very bright greeny gold. Nose Heathery. Ferny. Forest floor after rain. Body Lightly buttery. Palate Fiddlehead ferns with butter. Finish Green peppercorns. Quite assertive.


ALLT-A-BHAINNE 17-year-old, Sherry Wood, Dun Bheaghan, 43 vol Colour Very bright greeny gold. Nose Cleaner. Hint of peat, earthy. Graphite? Body Light. Spring water. Palate Clean. Sweet. Malty. Marshmallow. Finish Minty. Silky.


Other versions of Allt-á-Bhainne

The flowery spiciness of this malt was typified by a 13-year-old bottled by The Whisky Castle, a shop in Tomintoul, in the late 1990s. SCORE 73 A 12-year-old bottled by James MacArthur in the mid-1990s seemed slightly bigger, no doubt as a result of the cask used. SCORE 74 A 1980 released by Oddbins in 1992 seemed to have enjoyed sherry, but was perhaps a little overwhelmed by the sappiness of the oak. Score 73



Glenmorangie plc Islay District South Shore address Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll, PA42 7EA tel 01496 302244 website www.ardbeg.com email oldkiln@ardbeg.com VC
Region Producer

in the days when single malts were a secret, and revived at a cost of millions (whether euros or dollars), Ardbeg shines ever more brightly. Its reopening was one of the first signs of the Islay revival, of which it has become both a principal element and a beneficiary. Its owners’ ambitions for the distillery are being rewarded. So is their faith in young manager Stuart Thomson and his wife Jackie. Her knowledge and energy “front of house” have consolidated the distillery’s popularity with visitors. When Ardbeg reopened, one of the former kilns was turned into a shop, also offering tea, coffee, a dram, and a clootie (dumpling). The Old Kiln is also used by local people: it now serves meals, and has been the western venue for writer Martine Nouet’s whisky dinners (see p. 441). Ardbeg aficionados still cling to the hope that the second kiln may one day return to use. The maltings were unusual in that there were no fans, causing the peat smoke to permeate very heavily. This is evident in very old bottlings. The peaty origins of the water are also a big influence in the whisky’s earthy, tar-like flavours. Some lovers of Ardbeg believe that an apple-wood, lemon-skin fruitiness derives from a recirculatory system in the spirit still. The distillery traces its history to 1794. The maltings last worked in 1976–77, though supplies of their malted barley were no doubt eked out a little longer. Ardbeg closed in the early 1980s, but towards the end of that decade began to work again, albeit very sporadically, using malt from Port Ellen. Whisky produced at that time, but released by the new owners, is less tar-like than the old Ardbeg. Such heavily peated whisky as was inherited has been used in some vattings. The distillery is currently buying an especially heavily peated malt, the impact of which will be seen in bottlings in the course of the next six or seven years.
House Style



Earthy, very peaty, smoky, salty, robust. A bedtime malt. 97






ARDBEG 10-year-old, 46 vol Colour Fino sherry. Nose Smoke, brine, iodine dryness. Body Only medium to full, but very firm. A young light-heavyweight, not musclebound by age. Pound-for-pound, the hardest hitter in the Ardbeg team, though without the power conferred by the old maltings. Palate Skips sweetly along at first, then becomes mean and moody. Bottlings a little variable. Finish Hefty, lots of iodine.


ARDBEG 17-year-old, 40 vol Full, shimmering, greeny gold. Nose Assertive, briney, seaweedy, tar-like. Hint of sulphur. Body Medium, oily. Very firm. Palate Peppery but also sweet. Cereal grains, oil, gorse. Tightly combined flavours. More mature and rounded, but still robust. Very appetizing. Finish Oily. Lemon skins. Freshly ground white pepper.
Colour Score


ARDBEG 21-year-old, 56.3 vol Slightly more assertive than an Adelphi bottling reviewed in the fourth edition of this book. Colour Deeper. More refractive and oily. Greeny gold. Nose Firm, but aromas more tightly combined. As though the brine and iodine-like seaweed had permeated a stretch of hard, compacted sand. Body Firm, unyielding. Palate Instant hit of flavours. The maritime character overlaying pepper, lemons, fresh limes, bananas. (After that bracing walk on the beach, an afternoon of snoozy luxury with fruits and pastries?) Finish After the snooze, a hot shower with coal-tar soap. That characteristic tar-like smokiness and phenol.





ARDBEG 1976, 46 vol Again, that oily green tinge. Nose Still showering with coal-tar soap. Body Lotion-like. Palate Fresh, perfumy, therapeutic. Very smoky. Driftwood bonfires. Remarkably late suggestion of sherry.
Colour SCORE


ARDBEG 1977, 46 vol Very similar, but less rounded in flavours. Colour Slightly more oily than the vintage above. Nose Bonfires again. Sappy. Leafy. Body More oily. Clings to the tongue. Palate Sweet lemons. Finish Fragrant smokiness. Lingering warmth.


ARDBEG “Lord of the Isles ” 25-year-old, 46 vol “The supreme expression of Ardbeg”, according to the label, but where is the smoke and clamour of battle? This whisky is named after the island rulers who fought the Vikings. Colour Full gold. Nose Sea air. Distant smoke. Body Silky. Palate The Ardbeg fruitiness, usually lemony and fragrant, has become more assertive and complex with age. Here, there are flavours reminiscent of candied orange peel and, especially, cherries. Lots of flavour development. Walnuts, almonds. Marzipan. Bittersweet.The roundness of flavours masks the peat. Finish Long, haughty. Steely. Not as earthy as might have been hoped.


COMMITTEE RESERVE, 55.3 vol More than 20,000 enthusiasts for Ardbeg have joined this “committee”. This bottling, made in 2002, was vatted from whiskies distilled in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Colour The Committee’s whisky is marginally paler than the Lords’. Nose Very fresh. Herbal. Spicy. A suggestion of saffron. Body Textured. Tongue-coating. Palate Sweet, then sharp. Huge flavour development in the middle, becoming spicy (saffron again, salty, sandy). Finish Big, firm, gripping, long. Warming, soothing, appetizing. A tour de force.








ARDBEG Uigeadail, 54.2 vol Colour Pale gold. Nose Intensely smoky. Dry, clean, tangy barbecue smoke. Body Light, firm. Palate Firm, very smooth, then explodes on the tongue. Finish Hot. Alcoholic. A shock to the system.



ARDBEG 1976, Cask No 2396, 53.5 vol (For the Italian market.) Colour Dark orange satin. Nose Dusty. Earthy. Body Light to medium. Slightly chewy. Palate Chewy sweetness. Earthy. Bitter chocolate. Finish Powerful, long, warming. Woody. Menthol. Spearmint.


ARDBEG 1976, Cask No 2395, 54.4 vol (For the Japanese market.) Colour Greeny orange. Nose More oily. Orange essence. Black chocolate. Coffee. Body Slightly bigger and smoother. Palate Expressive. Delicious. Lightly syrupy. Sweetish. Fruitier. More obvious orange. Reminiscent of orange-liqueur chocolates. Finish Smoky, fragrant dryness. Some late, disappointing woodiness.


ARDBEG 1975, Cask No 4701, 54.4 vol (For the French market.) Colour Golden plum. Greengage? Nose Iced buns. Spiced buns. Malt loaf. Body Fondant. Palate Ginger cake. Yorkshire Parkin. Treacle toffee. Finish Shredded root ginger. Bitter chocolate. Mid-afternoon in the patisserie.


ARDBEG 1975, Cask No 4716, 45 vol (For the German market.) Colour Golden plum. Nose Sweetness and saltiness. Sandy beach. A hint of seaweed. Body Firm. Palate On the thin side, but firmer and drier than the rest of this group. Finish Cedary. Some woody bitterness.




The Ardbeggeddon Ardbeg 1972, 29-year-old, Sherry Cask, 48.4 vol Bottled by Douglas Laing for The Whisky Shop. An outstanding Ardbeg, lyrically, presenting the full range of the distillery’s typical flavours. Colour Bright pale gold. Nose Rich, soft, oily smokiness. Very appetizing. Body Seductively smooth. Palate Against a firm, steely background: a dexterous interplay of grassy peatiness; oiliness; just lurking suggestions of lemony fruitiness, sherry, and oak. Finish Lively, evocative, maritime flavours. A long walk on a sandy beach, with a vigorous, salty spray.


ARDBEG 1991, Connoisseurs Choice, 40 vol Colour Pale, warm gold. Nose Light, dry. A hint of peat. Tobacco. Peppermint. Body Oily. Creamy. Palate Sweet, minty, developing a herbal, spicy dryness. Finish A gentle sting. What happened to the heavyweight embrace, the boxer still punching in the clinches?


ARDBEG Provenance, Distilled 1974, Bottled 1998, 55.8 vol An intentional reminder of the old Ardbeg. Colour Full gold to bronze. Nose Sea air. Seaweed. Oak, rope, leather. Body Rich and creamy, but dry on the tongue. Palate Huge flavour development. Malty, toffeeish, sweet, fruity. Barbecue wood. Mustard. Salt. Finish Distinctly sappy, smoky, and very warming.




Region address

Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Bogie) Kennethmont, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire, AB54 4NH tel 01464 831213 VC


been disdained in favour of steam in the early days of Ardmore, that might have been seen as progress. To douse the flames as the distillery celebrated its recent centenary seemed perverse indeed. This sizeable distillery is at the eastern fringe of Speyside, where Aberdeenshire barley country begins. Will the switch to steam mean a less caramelish maltiness in Ardmore whisky and the blends of parent Teacher’s (so to speak)? Probably.
House style



Malty, creamy, fruity. After dinner.

ardmore 12-year-old, Centenary Bottling, 40 vol More elegant, but less robust, than the regular Gordon & MacPhail 12-year-old bottling. colour Warm primrose. Nose Fresh, clean, sweet. Flowery-fruity. Cream. Sherry trifle. Body Light, but very smooth. Slippery smooth. Palate Delicate, fruity (raspberry?) flavours reminiscent of blancmange. Finish Flowery. Nutty dryness. Toasted almonds.


earlier versions of ardmore

The fruity flavours emerge much more strongly – sweet orange, red apple? – in a 21-year-old at 40 vol, also bottled for the centenary. This version is much more robust, complex, and expressive. score 75 102

com e-mail arran. but spent a century and a half without a legal distillery. peaty land. Isle of Arran. and a ferry to Kintyre. Arran is still the country’s newest distillery. There is accommodation in Lochranza. Restorative or with dessert.com VC Region Producer S 1995. INCE IT OPENED IN HOUSE STYLE Creamy. Argyll. As Arran has many visitors. Arran has dramatic granite mountains. the Isle of Arran distillery has inspired several similar projects elsewhere in Scotland. is easily accessible. 103 . No obvious island character. leafy.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS ARRAN Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd Highlands Island Arran address Lochranza. in the village of Lochranza. and released its first whisky in 1998. for those who wish to visit the Campbeltown distilleries. a retired managing director of Chivas. the distillery was seen as an additional attraction for tourists. and good water. From Glasgow it is a short drive south to the Ayrshire port of Ardrossan. Industry veteran Harold Currie. Until any of them is realized. It has a shop and a restaurant with an excellent kitchen. whence a frequent ferry runs to Brodick. KA27 8HJ tel 01770 830264 website www. A couple more ferries extend the trip to Islay and Jura.arranwhisky. a favourite with walkers and bird-watchers.distillers@arranwhisky. A narrow road then winds its way round the north coast to the distillery. The inspiration for a new distillery came after a talk given at the Arran Society in 1992. organized a scheme in which 2000 bonds were sold in exchange for whisky from the new distillery. The island. on the east of the island. The island was once known for its whisky.

Nose Distinctly flowery sweetness. Also reracked to finish in sherry. Chocolate.6 vol Exclusively for the wine and spirit merchant Hanseatic. Cinnamon. almondy. Body Soft. SCORE 77 104 . Bottled 14 October 2002. pale. Finish Powerful. greeny gold. Body Creamy. Nonchillfiltered. Gripping. 58. Liquorice. SCORE 76 ARRAN Single Cask. of Bremen. Palate Fresh cream. Nose Fresh. Distilled 18 July 1997. Sweet limes. Developing some oiliness. A curious inversion. Spicy. Dates. vanilla-like. Nose Oily.3 vol Colour Tamarind. but without penetrating flavours) provides the background. Finish Perfumy. Vegetal. substantial. Colour Full. Angelica. 55. 46 vol Colour Bright. Marshmallow. Sauternes. Seed cake. Winey. Body Creamy. gold. dusty. 43 vol COLOUR Attractive pale yellow. Palate Flowery. Palate Fruity. SCORE 73 ARRAN SINGLE MALT. Cask No 95/173. Sherry Hogshead. Finish Firm. Spicy. Sappy. Finish Children’s sweets. creamy. Appetizing. As though the whisky (rich and sweet. while the sherry and wood are the highlights. fresh cream. Raisins. luxurious. Flowery. SCORE 74 SOME SINGLE CASK ARRANS ARRAN Single Cask. Palate Dried fruits. Lightly vegetal dryness. Nose Nutty. Matured in sherry. warm. Body Syrupy. Leafy. Bottle 332 of 347.ARRAN ARRAN SINGLE MALT. Gingery. Flowery.

auchentoshan. but also in its adherence to triple distillation. Much has been done to highlight the equipment at Auchentoshan and to show how the whisky is made. Aperitif or restorative. Stan Getz rather than Sonny Rollins. If you fancy single malts. G81 4SJ tel 01389 878561 website www. The acquisition provided a Lowland partner for their Islay and Highland distilleries. Auchentoshan offers the perfect answer: subtlety. but 1825 is the “official” foundation date. Dunbartonshire. Clydebank. Light-bodied whiskies result. reequipped in 1974. just outside Glasgow. HOUSE STYLE HIS IS A CLASSIC LOWLAND DISTILLERY. lemon grassy. Morrison. Vivaldi. light in flavour.com VC Region Producer T not only in its location. The Japanese cherish the distilleries. 105 . as though it were an imprecation.AUCHENTOSHAN AUCHENTOSHAN Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd Lowlands District Western Lowlands address Dalmuir. Auchentoshan (“corner of the field”) is pronounced “och’n’tosh’n”. when it was acquired by Stanley P. The distillery was rebuilt after the Second World War. and further overhauled ten years later. and the upkeep is superb. There are suggestions of a distillery on the site around 1800. too. Bowmore and Glen Garioch. but by no means bland. as opposed to Beethoven. and is controlled by Suntory. Light. oily. but do not care for intensity. herbal. The company is now called Morrison Bowmore. The distillery is at the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills.

lemon grass. Body Oily. clean. Body Light but soft. Aniseed. Orange zest. sweet but not cloying. In addition to offering an unusual array of wood characteristics. but light. Toasty maltiness – definite. lemon grass. vanilla. A delicate interplay of flavours. Marshmallow-like. No Age Statement. 40 vol Colour Bright yellowy gold. Sappy dryness. Lemon grass. oily. Score 79 AUCHENTOSHAN 10-year-old. Finish Light. cashews. Nose Soft. No Age Statement. dates. Hint of lemon-grass spiciness. apricot. but the whisky struggles to make itself heard among the woods. Cookies fresh from the oven. marshmallow. crisp. Palate Lemon zest. it fills a gap in Auchentoshan’s age range. Nose A warm embrace. Better with little or no water. Score 83 AUCHENTOSHAN Three Wood. Palate Perfumy. Palate Lemon-grass notes.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS AUCHENTOSHAN Select. a good year in oloroso and six months in the hefty Pedro Ximénez. warm. Fresh oak. Finish Longer. marshmallow. Score 85 106 . Raisins. cereal grain. and saddlery. with perfumes of vanilla. faint ginger. Soft. 43 vol This whisky has at least ten years in bourbon wood. Cleanly sweet. perfumy. Body Lightly oily. Creamy. 40 vol Colour Shimmery gold. Colour Orange liqueur. Finish Long. Nose Appetizing.

have proven less resilient. with lots of flavour development. smooth. If soap were edible. Full of subtleties. scenty. Body Light to medium. lightly spicy. orange peel. date boxes. Finish Dry. cedar.AUCHENTOSHAN Palate AUCHENTOSHAN Selected Cask Vatting. 18-year-old. vanilla. but says little of whisky. Score 86 Palate AUCHENTOSHAN 22-year-old. cedary. citrusy. Body Smooth. The more recent bottlings. Colour Full gold to bronze. Male cosmetics. and oily.8 vol This superb vatting further fills the previous gap in the age range. a 22-year-old and a 31-year-old each rated 86 points in the fourth edition of this book. saddlery. A very expressive Auchentoshan. deep gold. soft. with no obtrusive woodiness. Fresh. More oak character than previous entry. oily. a Lowland whisky is too light in body and flavour to cope with much influence of wood. Nose Rich fresh leather. very smooth indeed. layered. reviewed here. 58. Both are of more interest to the collector than the taster. Finish Cedar. cedary. but less rounded. Despite this. spicy. Body Very firm. Nose Linseed. 107 . Score 87 AUCHENTOSHAN 21-year-old. 43 vol Colour Deep gold to amber. The 1973 is the more interesting drink. for example. let alone of Auchentoshan. beautifully rounded and aromatic. Oily. Distilled 1978. fresh leather. The 1965 is more whiskyish. Nose Orange zest. Score 86 VINTAGE-DATED AUCHENTOSHANS Logically. fresh leather. oil. 43 vol Colour Full. Linseed. Auchentoshan has retained its character in bottlings at considerable ages. Palate Oily. Finish Clean. perfumy. lemony.

Body Textured. A Cadenhead bottling was creamy tasting but slightly aggressive. 29-year-old. Quickly becoming drier. 49. Red apples. Severely marked down for those reasons. Finish Dry. Nose Some candy-floss sweetness. marshmallowy maltiness. Flavours reminiscent of peanut shells. with peach dominant. Nose Jammy. and cleansing dryness. it is hard to divine any Auchentoshan character. Almost rhubarb-like. With the cheese? After dinner? SCORE 69 AUCHENTOSHAN 1965. apple-blossom palate. Palate Spun sugar. floral. SCORE 84 108 . Nutty.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS AUCHENTOSHAN 1973. Cask No 2502. musty. combined a flapjack sweetness. at 64. Peaches. 31-year-old. too. yeasty dryness. SCORE 81 A Murray McDavid edition was fresh with a deliciously clean.8 vol Colour Pinkish red. Peach-stone flavours. Palate An extraordinarily fruity whisky.2 vol. Australian Shiraz. 55. Finish Nutty dryness. SCORE 82 The other three bottlings were at 46 vol. SCORE 83 A James MacArthur bottling. coconut-fibre matting. Body Syrupy. then dusty. A Whisky Galore edition had a garden mint aroma and a fresh. and an excellent balance of herbal. Underneath all that. oaty oiliness. Icing sugar. Cocoa powder. Sherry Butt No 793.3 vol Colour Old gold. SCORE 72 SOME INDEPENDENT BOTTLINGS There was something of a flood of 1992 distillates. bottled at 10 years. Fluffy.

Aperitif. The distillery. but “Always Auchroisk” might be a wise text for the future. OO YOUNG HOUSE STYLE Very soft.AU C H RO I S K Auchroisk address tel Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside Auchroisk Distillery Mulben. White grapes. Given that a distillery can survive two or three times as long as a human. between Rothes and Dufftown. Ach Rask (or Rusk). which means “ford on the red stream”. Score 78 A 27-year-old independent bottling from Old Malt Cask. been calling itself The Singleton. except that no one agrees. which flows into the Spey. Berry fruits. AB55 6XS 01542 885000 website www. with a suggestion of figs. Becoming nuttier and drier. Nearby is a spring called Dorie’s Well. Auch Roysk.com VC Region T to make promises for eternity. a sherry butt). insist the locals. Shortbread.malts. Or with fruit salad or similar desserts. This distillery was established in 1974. Body Light. Pronounced fruitiness. says the manager. It was therefore thought to be an appropriate substitute for the original Gaelic name. in the hope of seducing foreigners. which determined the site of the distillery. burnished yellow. There is schism over the “ch” being pronounced as a “th”. 43 vol Colour Soft. 43. it has. SCORE 77 109 . Phonetic guides can always be provided. soft. Auchroisk is barely an adolescent. The soft water and large stills make whisky of a delicacy that deserves a chance to show itself without sherry. Finish Faint sun-scorched grass and peat. had a suggestion of bananas and cream toffee. Gooseberry. For several years. Can the foreigners cope with this? Funny how the simply delicious Singleton never hooked as many sales worldwide as some unpronouncably complex whiskies from the west. Banffshire. Berry fruits.8 vol. Nose AUCHROISK 10-year-old. That term is sometimes used to indicate a single cask (in this case. seductive. and under its own name. is on a ridge by the Mulben Burn. Palate Lightly fruity.

Flowering currant. FINISH Gentian bitterness. 43 vol Colour Crystal-bright greeny gold. Palate AULTMORE 1989. herbal. Finish Gently spicy. Developing cereal-grain oiliness. its owners at the time. FINE MALT IN THE OAKY STYLE HOUSE STYLE Fresh. Spicy. Whisky Galore.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS AULTMORE Region John Dewar & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Isla) address Keith. and a Cask Strength Limited Bottling in 1997–98. Nose Steely. 46 vol COLOUR White wine. and oily. was built in 1896. BODY Distinctively firm. spicy. Signatory. In 1998. PALATE Tightly combined flavours. dry. Aultmore was acquired by Bacardi. Flavours reminiscent of bread and butter pudding. but gentle. and reconstructed in 1971. Body Soft. appetizing. SCoRE 76 110 . They issued a Rare Malts edition in 1996. Lean. Slightly smoky. but no new bottlings have yet appeared. Banffshire. United Distillers. sweet and fruity. then nutty. albeit a very big one. This distillery. AB55 6QY tel 01542 881800 VC Producer A that seems to characterize the whiskies made near the river Isla. In 1991. Before dinner. rounded. introduced a bottling in their flora and fauna series. SCoRE 75 AULTMORE 1987. NOSE Fruity. dry. oaky. Reminiscent of a fino sherry. These and other past bottlings were reviewed in the fourth edition of this book. which is just north of Keith. 15-year-old. smooth.

They are all relatively small. Nose Sea breezes. crumbly peat towards the river Carron and the Dornoch firth. It began in 1790. Finish Plum-skin dryness. HOUSE STYLE Light. Aperitif when young. BALBLAIR “Elements”. Barley-malt sweetness. and evaporation can take them below the minimum permitted alcohol. So why the increase in older bottlings? Perhaps that is one small sign of the new broom: tidying the stock in the warehouses. appetizing. close to the firth and the sea. balance of slight salt and shortbread-like fresh malt. They are made using water that has flowed from the piney hillsides of Ben Dearg and over dry. which is amid fields at Edderton. IV19 1LB enquiries@inverhouse. firm. and the present building dates from the 1870s. This one and Speyburn are especially pretty. Ross-shire. Faint hint of raspberries. Balblair is among Scotland’s oldest distilleries.com Producer T HE CHANGE OF CONTROL AT INVER HOUSE in 2001 has thus far had no dramatic effect on the company’s portfolio of malt distilleries. dry.inverhouse. Textured. Body Lean but smooth. These characteristics show best in young whiskies. No Age Statement. long established. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Score 76 111 . but all are respected distilleries. There is said to have been brewing and distilling in the vicinity in the mid-1700s. Can be woody when older. Slight salt.BALBLAIR Balblair Region email Inver House Distillers Ltd Highlands District Northern Highlands address Edderton. Tain. whiskies can become woody.com website www. and generally traditional in design and process. There is a limit to the number of heirlooms that can be accommodated. None is a household name. Palate Teasing. and are the most popular choices when an art director or photographer want to show a “typical” malt distillery in an attractive location. The light spiciness and fresh dryness of the northern Highland malts are equally typical in the Balblair whiskies. A burn near the distillery feeds Balblair.

Much improved with a splash of water. Palate Smooth and surprisingly satisfying. Light. Finish Concentrated fruity dryness. Finish Slightly gritty and astringent. Nose Fresh. 40 vol Colour Shimmery. Fragrant. Body Firm. Body Light on tongue. A light whisky but packed with flavours. Comforting. Shortbread sprinkled with sugar. it is chocolate shortbread. Summer pudding. textured. Comment Approachable and well structured. Custard. 40 vol Colour Pale amber. Body Firm. Good quality cooking chocolate. Very lively. Nose Nutty. Winey. Finish Toffee apples. Salty. Vanilla. Score 78 BALBLAIR 27-year-old.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BALBLAIR 10-year-old. This time. Score 77 BALBLAIR 16-year-old. Palate More chocolate. dusty. Palate Malty dryness. the saltiness and shortbread. SCORE 77 112 . pale gold. Again. but more bitter. with delicious flavours. smooth. 46 vol Colour Dark chestnut. fresh spiciness. Cedary dryness. A hint of chocolate. Nose Cocoa powder. Summer pudding.

almost pungent. malty. Finish Robust. Nose Grassy. 54. Some spiciness.3 vol Colour Apricot. SCORE > 76 A 31-year-old for the French market begins with a more open. cedary. fresh brioche character. Comment A whisky that starts life with some restraint has certainly developed over the years. but also spicy and liquorice-like. Palate Oily. Long. Banana cake. SCORE 79 Independent bottling BALBLAIR 37-year-old. Finish Stern. The rich spiciness rounds out the flavours. Adelphi. Lemon grass. Dry. but not astringent. Unyielding. SCORE 78 113 . smooth. but rather woody for most tastes Palate Dry. Nose Peaty. Nose Again. Highland Selection Limited Edition. Spicy. Body Cedary. earthy. 54. Bottled 2002. Dusty. Palate Cedary.4 vol Colour Bright gold. Spicy. Restrained cedar. Sun-dried grass. Fragrant peat. Body Firm. Body Drying. 55 vol Colour Very bright pale gold. but quickly retreats into its own thoughts. Seed cake. SCORE 77 BALBLAIR 33-year-old.BALBLAIR BALBLAIR 31-year-old. Finish Big.

Teasing. Herbal. Morayshire.com Region Producer T in the Highland Selection were a robust reminder of Balmenach just as its owners. Four years on. became part of Khun Charoen’s interests.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BALMENACH Inver House Distillers Ltd Highlands District Speyside address Cromdale. the bowl known as Cromdale (“crooked plain”) was once alive with illicit distillers. When Balmenach emerged there as a legal distillery in 1824. United Distillers announced that Balmenach was to be mothballed. Grantown-on-Spey. of Glasgow (score 79). also produced two appropriately distinguished authors: Sir Compton Mackenzie (Whisky Galore) and Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart (Scotch. 114 . savoury. Inver House. Its distillate has the most powerful aromas and flavours among those produced in the group. in 1824. The distillery contributed malt whisky to many blends. it was in the heart of whisky country. and travel). There had been loose talk of Balmenach being regarded by Inver House as a “flagship”. Distinctive. Two years later. and sherry (score 77). In 1991 a bottled single malt was issued at 43 vol in the flora and fauna series. praising the whisky for its depth of heather-honey flavours. very flowery expressions of Balmenach were bottled under the name Deerstalker. but Balmenach today seems geographically very remote. herbal dryness. Surprisingly food-friendly. A review appeared in subsequent editions of this book. WO NEW BOTTLINGS HOUSE STYLE Big. Balmenach later had its own spur on the Strathspey railway. The family that founded Balmenach. In the interim. by Aberfoyle & Knight. Hints of peat.inverhouse. and other books on soldiering. in fact and story. it passed to Inver House.com website www. espionage. In the upper reaches of Speyside. PH26 3PF email enquiries@inverhouse. beyond the Livet and Avon. especially Crabbie’s and Johnnie Walker.

Black treacle. Bring on the chicken molé. Phenol. Gingery. Then leafy: a suggestion of sorrel. Appetizingly spicy. Roasted bell-peppers. Some peat. Hart Brothers. 50. Gingery. but also herbal notes. Cilantro? Comment Very distinctive. Nose Glazed pastry. SCORE 77 115 . A hint of grass and peat-smoke. Highland Selection. Palate Peppery and dry. from Adelphi. had some curiously aromatic wood notes. 40 vol Colour Deep bronze. Honeydew melons. had an herbal. SCORE 80 Some independent bottlings Balmenach 30-year-old. sulphury. big. Quite rich. Oily. but with many subtleties of character. with a suggestion of chocolate.BALMENACH BALMENACH 27-year-old. Finish Dry. herbal. from the Vintage Malt Whisky Company. Comment A robust malt. mint character. Bottled 2001. becoming creamy. leathery. SCORE 77 A 1971 30-year-old from Cadenhead had a sweeter. heady. zesty. maltier richness. Perhaps the meal is in Thailand or China? Finish A touch of smokiness. 28-year-old. Finish Orangey.1 vol Nose Honey. Body Softy. at 60. SCORE 77 A 1978 12-year-old Coopers Choice. 1972 Port Wood. 46 vol Nose Sweet tropical fruits. aromatic. Highland Selection. Palate Becoming drier. Palate Lightly honeyish. at 43 vol. SCORE 77 Balmenach 1974. Connoisseurs Choice. Smoky. but also creamy. Plantains being cooked on a barbecue. Some chilli-like heat.1 vol. Savoury. SCORE 79 BALMENACH 1972. Vegetal. Spicy. Released 2002. SCORE 74 A 13-year-old. Palate Expressive. Bananas. Yeasty. 46 vol Nose Sweet at first. Finish Smoky.

Luxurious. but both Glenfiddich and Balvenie have done so. It is highly unusual for a distillery to remain in the same ownership throughout its history. and her ready charm. who had already established Glenfiddich in 1886. on their original sites. ever more aristocratic. A dalliance by the sea resulted in the birth. Banffshire. S SEDUCTIVELY HONEYED AS A SPEYSIDER House style A The most honeyish of malts. Grant’s added to the site a third distillery. Balvenie’s are more bulbous. Islanders complained that The Balvenie was merely courting popularity. in 2001. Ages well. Meanwhile. of The Balvenie Islay Cask. but Kininvie has not thus far been bottled as a single malt.thebalvenie. There have been no more Islay Casks. It was a holiday romance. In 1990. The distillery also has its own small floor maltings. The Balvenie distillery is near the castle of the same name. Fellow Speysiders resented the notion of a whisky from their elevated territory even contemplating the addition of “Islay” to its name. with a distinctively orangey note. One became the world’s biggest selling malt and the other the epitome of luxury. acquired by Grant’s in 1992 to augment warehousing capacity. Adjoining the site is the silent Convalmore distillery. and is now owned by the nation of Scotland. using barley from the family farm. where the rivers Fiddich and Dullan meet on their way to the Spey. thriftily. AB55 4BB 01340 820373 website www. This also produces a creamy spirit. Grant’s site is at Dufftown. in recent years introducing vintages as though they were eligible offspring. 116 . She may be a notably rich spirit.com Producer can be. Her tendency toward voluptuousness. but both were established. Kininvie. The Balvenie distillery was built in 1892 by the Grant family.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE BALVENIE Region tel William Grant & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Dufftown) address Dufftown. win friends easily. The Balvenie is increasingly recognized far from her domain. with secondhand stills. which dates at least from the 1200s. After dinner. The castle was at one stage known as Mortlach and was at another stage occupied by the Duff family. but Bad Penny offers the easiest mnemonic for Balvenie’s vowel sounds. and that feature no doubt contributes to the distinct character of the whisky. which adjoin one another.

rich. Colour Pale gold. Score 85 THE BALVENIE Double Wood. 40 vol First. Finish A tingly surge of flavours.4 vol All first-fill bourbon casks. Just a touch of sherry. 12-year-old. Very warming. Lemon pith. Peppery alcohol. Dry. Score 87 THE BALVENIE Single Barrel. Orange skins. 15-year-old.and second-fill bourbon casks. Very lively. Body Medium. Coconut. 50. Colour Bright gold. Nose Sherry and orange skins. very orangey fruitiness. Musky. Body Medium. Nose Assertive. Palate Lively. Faint hint of peat. tingling. Nose Orange-honey perfume. Cedar. sweet. 40 vol Matured in 90% American oak and 10% sherry. pineapple-like sweetness and acidity. Rooty. fresh oak. syrupy honey. Palate Beautifully combined mellow flavours: nutty. 10-year-old. Score 85 117 . sherry. Finish Very dry. heather. cinnamon spiciness. then six to twelve months in sweet oloroso casks. Body Firm. Palate Honeyed sweetness drying to lightly spicy notes. Heather. Finish Long.THE BALVENIE THE BALVENIE Founder’s Reserve. Colour Amber. with lingering.

Plum strudel. 43 vol Seven years in bourbon barrels. As more are released. fruity. though the characteristic honey is always there. Score 86 BALVENIE 50-year-old. cedary. Finish Quite bitter and astringent. Evokes images of cafés in Vienna. 25-year-old. Body Lightly syrupy. rather than the taster. Bonus points for a bold idea. drying. they have to justify themselves. Colour Reddish amber. Marzipan. A curiously inky texture. Colour Bronze with pinkish tinge. 40 vol Primarily matured in bourbon casks. Lively. Heavy. Spicy notes try to lift it. then a short period in first-fill port pipes. Finish Fragrantly smoky. Passion fruit. 21-year-old. Palate Honeyed. The smokiness is enwrapping. aniseed. When this was being distilled. 46. Nose The best feature. Score 85 118 .1 vol For the collector. Nose Honeyed. but distinct. Body Rich. dusted with cinnamon. Peaty. but eventually lose the struggle. Finish Long. gold. Nose Perfumy. then finished for six months at Balvenie in casks that had held Islay whisky for six months. dry. then some peaty smokiness. Toffee. Score 88 Palate BALVENIE Single Barrel.9 vol Colour Pale. Body A touch of syrupiness in the middle. Surprisingly peaty. rather than attacking. the Red Army was leaving. Nose Restrained. Incongruous? Perhaps. Palate More plums. Passion fruit. Iron-like flavours weigh down the palate. Nutty dryness. Finish Firm. Score 89 BALVENIE Port Wood. whiskies this old once won points simply for being. Colour Mahogany. creamy. 45. seaweed and salt. Raisiny. Palate Very complex. winey. as it might be in an Islay malt. Woody tannins.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE BALVENIE Islay Cask. emphatic finish. bright. Body Light. Orangey flavours emerge. dark red fruits.

Port character very restrained. Colour Warm gold. delicious. Terry’s chocolate oranges. clinging. soft. Butterscotch pudding. The ultimate dessert whisky. Palate Still evoking thoughts of desserts. Then a suggestion of chocolate powder hints at tiramisu. Finish Silky. Body Lightly creamy. but the honeyed pastries of the Balkans. floral. then spicy dryness. Astonishingly syrupy smooth. Very soft.6 vol Colour Gold. Body Creamy. warm. Orange muscat. 44. beautifully presented and combined. 49. Bread and butter pudding. Nose Buttery richness. Score 92 THE BALVENIE Vintage Cask. 1972. clear. Port Wood. Nose Fudge. “peach stone” nuttiness.THE BALVENIE Some vintage bottlings of The Balvenie THE BALVENIE 1989. Score 87 7 THE BALVENIE Vintage Cask. Palate Intensely sweet and Sauternes-like. Finish The sweet components become more like dark. Beautifully composed. Body Rich. 40 vol Finished for a year in second-fill port pipes with a view to a more subtle wine character. liquid honey. Or perhaps orange Muscat? With water yet sweeter and fruitier. Finish Bitter chocolate. Nose Hint of cream toffee. All the elements of a classic Balvenie. Score 91 119 .4 vol Colour Rich. The fruity element becomes more intense and perfumy. A hint of heather. gold to amber. Honey. Honey. 1970. Palate A suggestion of passion fruit.

Grass. honey. Nose Very aromatic. and lemon in palate. Linctus-like. Dry. cinnamon. rounded. Nutty. Lots of flavour development.1 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. 49. Orange. firm. Butter. Honey. rounded. honey. smooth. satisfying. Acacia. Mint. 42. Chewy. malty shortbread aroma. 50. Body Medium. Lemon grass. Vintage Cask. Score 88 Other versions of The Balvenie A rare independent bottling by Signatory in 1990. Juicy oak. Faint peat. Palate Buttery maltiness. Butterscotch. Grass. Warming. Slight menthol. Palate Buttery maltiness.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE BALVENIE 1968. Palate Honeyed. Heathery. Slightly drying. score 90 THE BALVENIE Vintage Cask 1967. of a 1974 distillate: bright full gold. Score 88 THE BALVENIE Vintage Cask 1966. Some smoke. Nose Clear liquid honey. soft. Body Light syrupy. Lightly peaty balancing dryness. long. Faint peat. Body Fudgey. warming finish. Lightly peaty balancing dryness. lemon. Finish Orange skins. long gone. With water. Score 88 Earlier versions of The Balvenie A 1964 Vintage. dry. Lemon grass. Honey. Slightly astringent. Nose Very aromatic. Juicy oak.7 vol Colour Full gold. A beautifully balanced classic Speyside whisky. Score 87 120 . but bonus points for traditional values and distinctiveness. firm. Score 88 A 1951 had a dark brown colour and was full of peat and oak smoke.8 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. Very long. Finish Lemon. More perfumy and orangey when water is added. Hint of vanilla. Orange. lightly syrupy body. but still with some malty smoothness underneath it all. Very pronounced orange zest. Finish Lemony. Hazelnut or almond. honey. was similar but nuttier and drier.

where the river flows into the Moray firth. 1 mile west of Banff Region T was once supplied with whisky from this distillery. They are in a field next to a graveyard. The spirits of Banff are restless judging from the profusion of independent bottlings. dating from at least 1824. HE HOUSE OF COMMONS House style Fragrant. near the adjoining towns of Banff and MacDuff. Fresh. BANFF 1980. The distillery. The county of Banffshire once stretched from the Deveron to the Spey. Score 70 121 .BANFF BANFF Producer DCL Highlands District Speyside (Deveron) site of former distillery Inverboyndie. This eastern flank of Speyside embraced half the region’s distilleries. The county became Banff and Buchan and is now subsumed into Aberdeenshire. closed in 1983. Showing few signs of age. 21-year-old. The two face each other across the Deveron. 43 vol Colour Vinho verde. on B9139. Finish Kendal mint cake. creamy. Body Light. comment A pleasant. Grassy. Signatory Vintage. It has fewer today. its coastal strip linking the Laich of Moray with Aberdeenshire. Restorative or after dinner. easily drinkable malt. Lemon grass. Its buildings have gradually been dismantled. leaving a substantial amount of stock. appetizingly dryish. though remains loom through the sea mist. Palate Grassy. Cask No 2914. Nose Light. Sweet. but it is still barley country. Oaty. A suggestion of golden syrup. good or bad.

Real depth and staying power.3 vol Colour Bright gold. 40 vol Colour Vinho verde. Perhaps even a hint of phenol. Grassy. Burnt grass. at 21 years and 58. Nose Soft.8 vol. Finish Big surge. was drier and smokier. Spicy. Score 67. Score Finish 73 122 . 56 vol Colour Greeny gold. Nose Grassy. Syrupy-sweet flavours. BANFF 1976. a 1978 bottling. Some syrupiness. Palate Vanilla. Complex spiciness. Coconut. 22-year-old. Tropical fruits. Lemon zest. A touch of vanilla.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Earlier from Signatory. Body Smooth. Palate Peaty. Warming.2 vol. Finish Lemon grass. Sweetish. Nose Clean. Late flavour development. Nose Fresh. Finish Long. Chocolate powder. Less bright and clean. A hint of the sea? Body Syrupy.1 vol Colour Full greeny gold. Aromatic. Lemon grass. Bottled 2002. from Cadenhead. Becomes very lively. 25-year-old. Connoisseurs Choice. Palate Condensed milk. Extra strong peppermints. The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Company). aromatic dryness. Gingery. dry. Creamy. at 18 years old and 58. Fruity. peat-smoke fragrance. Creamy. Score 69 BANFF 24-year-old. Lime-tinged. with more vanilla. Grassy. Palate Fresh cream. Score 72 An earlier 1976. Cadenhead. Score 67 BANFF 1978. Body Slippery smooth. Minty. in its Silent Stills series. dry. Warm. 57. 58. Very long. Sun-dried grass. Body Smooth. Score 69 BANFF 1976. was peatier and earthier. A hint of chocolate. earthy. James MacArthur’s Old Master’s.

lies at the foot of Scotland’s highest mountain. The distillery was established in 1825 by “Long John” McDonald.BEN NEVIS BEN NEVIS Producer Region address Ben Nevis Distillery Ltd Highlands District West Highlands Lochy Bridge. is in a very visible spot on a road with a heavy tourist traffic. was named after him. Fort William. 123 . Oily. House style UCH-IMPROVED BOTTLINGS Fragrant. Waxy fruitiness. Its regional appropriation to the western Highlands is supported by its being close to a sea loch. Tropical fruit. PH33 6TJ tel 01397 702476 VC M are beginning to emerge as Ben Nevis marks a dozen years under the ownership of the respected Japanese distillers Nikka. with its curiously anthologous architecture. Robust. but it is a powerful symbol of Scotland. The distillery. but relatively distant from any other distilleries. The peak does not have quite the significance of Fuji. The distillery. at Fort William. standing in front of the mighty mountain. Restorative or book-at-bedtime. a touch of smoke. Ben Nevis (1344m/4409ft). “We are a coastal distillery” insists manager Colin Ross. Long John. The well-known blended Scotch.

texture as dense as a mince pie. emerged with orange marmalade colour. chewier. smooth. soft. Finish Orange zest. Pithy dryness. Score 77 BEN NEVIS 26-year-old. Palate Fruity. Fruity. firm. Chocolatey. BEN NEVIS 21-year-old. Peppery. Belgian toffee wafers. aged entirely in sherry. Colour Bronze to amber. and a long. a single cask. juicier. flavours of pickled peaches and rum butter. Chillis. Cask No 945. Palate Oilier. A touch of honey. 53. Distilled 1975. Palate Orange-cream pralines in black chocolate. smooth. tasted as a work in progress. 60. Touch of cigar smoke. spicy. Body Big. Hard black chocolate. Bottled 2001. Waxed fruit. Score 77 Also at 10 years old. Oaky spiciness.5 vol Now hard to find. Finish Robust. 46 vol Found at 40 vol or 43 vol in some markets. Body Firm. Nose Leafy. Nose Box of black chocolates.9 vol Colour Bright greeny gold. Smooth. Nose Perfumy. warming finish. Dry maltiness. Kumquats. Rather aggressive. Body Emphatically big. Finish Spiciness. Colour Warm bronze to amber.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BEN NEVIS 10-year-old. Limited Edition in Decanter. Score 77 124 . drier.

bottled 1998). surprisingly neutral. score 82 A Cadenhead bottling of 1986 at 17 years old and 46 vol was oily. 57.BEN NEVIS Distilled and bottled in the same years as the previous whisky. 51 vol Colour Bright golden yellow. Bottled 1998. Syrah-like flavours. had winey. cask no 946 emerged at 52.8. 50. First Sherry Wood. sweet. but the idyll was shattered by the intensity of woodiness. oak and hard-toffee maltiness. Palate Chewy. Nose Tightly combined and balanced. As though the Belgians had upgraded the British Crunchie bar. Intense black chocolate. Malty honeycomb in dark chocolate. Finish Clinging. Rather harsh all round. at 61. Firm. Distilled April 1957. balanced its woodiness with a luscious. slightly richer and sweeter. like some other Ben Nevis distillates from the 1960s. and hints of raspberry vinegar. Tropical fruits. Disappointing. Score Palate 62 Some independent bottlings BEN NEVIS 35-year-old. An outstanding bottling. flowery. Lots of sweetness suggested a dessert whisky.3 vol. had a fuller colour.2 vol. SCORE 60 A Blackadder bottling of 1984 at 60.4 vol. SCORE 78 125 . Nose Oily. Score 78 An earlier 26-year-old (distilled 1972. Finish Mustardy. but avoids astringency. SCORE 76 Cask no 258. feinty. SCORE 78 BEN NEVIS 1966. Body Very oily.1 vol Colour Very attractive reddish amber. fragrant smoke. and a beautiful balance. Oily. some smokiness. Bittersweet. 257. Hart Brothers. more sherry character. treacle-toffee character. and hot. from cask no.

A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BEN WYVIS Region Whyte and Mackay Ltd Highlands District Northern Highlands address Invergordon Distillers. Several distilleries had short lives and subsequently appeared in spirit. It turns out to have been a highly distinctive malt. another half-forgotten distillery was suddenly back in view. but they have been replaced with those from Ben Wyvis. The stills had long gone. This first Ben Wyvis closed in 1926. Hedley Wright. The wait for whisky has been twice as long as the distillery’s lifespan. The Invergordon company had its own ups and downs. It derives from the mountain peak Ben Wyvis (1046 metres or 3432 feet). northwest of Inverness and the Black Isle. on the Cromarty firth. The economic recovery after the Second World War led to a boom in the whisky industry in the late 1950s and the 1960s. in the late 1600s and 1700s. proprietor of Springbank. It is said that one cask of Ben Wyvis was exported to the United States in 1974. Ross-shire. The intention was that Ben Wyvis would provide malt whisky for the Invergordon blends. Its name is pronounced with a short “y”. the peak is part of the northern Highland range. 126 . Around the same time. in the opposite corner of Scotland. and Ben Wyvis ceased production in 1976. a new Ben Wyvis distillery was built further north on the Cromarty firth. two very limited releases have been made. as in myth: wyv-iss. masquerading as a business park. There was still some stock of Ben Wyvis when the current century dawned and Invergordon was restructured as Kyndal. announced that he was to reopen Glengyle after 70 years’ silence. It shared a site with the Invergordon grain distillery. Cottage Brae. There have also been two bottlings from Signatory. The buildings were later used as whisky warehouses. Invergordon. In 1965. The regional designation Ferintosh was used to identify whiskies from the Black Isle and Dingwall. NEW ENTRY IN THIS BOOK. variously translated into English as “big green slope” or “terrible hill”. The name Ferintosh was later applied for a time to a distillery built as Ben Wyvis in Dingwall in 1879. and some still stand. at Invergordon. but Ben Wyvis is surely the ultimate ghost of the glens. IV18 0HP Producer A yet it finally appears a quarter of a century after the distillery closed.

Nose More perfumed. Cask Strength. Finish Very crisp dryness. Distilled 17 June 1965. 45. Nose Very distinctive.9 vol Colour Bright pale gold. Green tinge. Some mustard. Roasted vegetables. cleansing.BEN WYVIS House style Light. Green tinge. Finish Soft. Green tinge. 45. Cask No 745. buttery. Pesto-like. Body Light but textured. Mint. BEN WYVIS 27-year-old. Herbal. Smooth. Drier. Savoury. Score 79 127 . Body Firm. Finish Coriander seeds. Palate Herbal. Cask No 687. Score 81 BEN WYVIS 37-year-old. appetizing.5 vol Colour Full gold. Pepper. Signatory. savoury.5 vol Colour Full gold. Drily flowery. appetizing. Distilled 1972. Palate Dry. Score 80 Signatory bottling BEN WYVIS 31-year-old. Nose Slightly more vegetal. Distilled 5 June 1968. Smoky. Leafy. Bottled 25 February 2000. herbal. Palate Toasted pine nuts. dry. Fresh mint. Bottle No 11 of 187. Cucumber. 56. Body Firmer.

clean. with touches of butterscotch. Benriach is the more agricultural-looking distillery. Both distilleries were built in the 1890s. but Benriach was silent from 1900 until it was restored in 1965. A mid-afternoon malt? Palate Finish BENRIACH 10-year-old. Oatmeal cookies.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BENRIACH Region address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Lossie) Longmorn. Elgin. lightly honeyish floweriness. Longmorn the more elaborate. Both distilleries have onion-shaped stills. bright gold. This has not been used since the 1990s. WIN OF THE MUCH LOVED LONGMORN House style Cookie-like. The two occupy adjoining sites. but is beautifully maintained. Score 72 128 . Benriach’s whiskies are in general sweeter. IV30 3SJ T (but not identical). Flowery dryness. Cookie-like. Spicy seed cake. Pronounced cereal grain. those from Longmorn more complex. Benriach begins to narrow the gap. At older ages. honey. Body Light. smooth. but Benriach’s are steeper. butterscotch sweetness. textured. Nose Light. Then drying and thinning to appetizing. Benriach has a traditional mash tun. Benriach has its own floor maltings. Morayshire. 43 vol Colour Pale. Fresh and well defined. Restorative.

AB38 9WN tel Contact via Dailuaine 01340 872500 Region A Ben Rinnes spreads itself to two words and is hard to miss. House style S A MOUNTAIN. burnt-toffee character. The distillery had a long association with the Crawford blends. Flavours are gradually unlocked. vanilla. Banffshire. Benrinnes may have been founded as early as the 1820s. Score 79 129 . almost creamy. individualistic distilleries in the Diageo group. Flora and Fauna. It is no novice. rounded. in a Flora and Fauna edition. Its malt whisky did not have official bottling until 1991. A whiff of sherry. Big. Hints of liquorice. Benrinnes’ system of partial triple distillation places it among the handful of quirky. Benrinnes compounds itself so neatly that it is too easily overlooked. Palate Dry. assertive. and was largely rebuilt in the 1950s. flavoursome. 43 vol Colour Autumnal reddish brown.BENRINNES BENRINNES Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside address Aberlour. BENRINNES 15-year-old. smoky. creamy. smokiness. aniseed. bitter chocolate. smoky. Faintly sweet and smoky. then a firm. firm. soothing. long. Nose Heavy. Finish Satisfying. as a distillery and a whisky. Restorative or after dinner. Body Medium to full.

Damson fruitiness. Nose Earthy. Controlled oakiness. Score 79 A 1974. Sweetish spicy. 40 vol Colour Deep gold. Distilled 1974. Beautifully composed. Finish Jammy fruitiness eventually blocked by woodiness. creamy. The aroma in a country store that stocks everything from bacon and cheese to hardware. soothing warmth and balancing dryness. Winey. toffeeish. Nose Creamy. Nose Cedary. expressive. Palate Lightly nutty. Vinho verde. was grassy. toasty. Rose-water. lime.4 vol Colour Bright gold. Connoisseurs Choice. Tasty. nutty. Palate Oily. Score 79 BENRINNES 19-year-old. SCORE 78 130 . a 1982 at 43 vol. 50 vol Colour Pale oak. had hints of peat and sherry. 60. Body Medium. Finish Restrained. dry. creamy. Appetizing. Sherry. Douglas Laing. Finish Delayed. at 22 years old. slightly woody. Salty. Signatory. Finish Lemony. Score 76 BENRINNES 1973. Body Very creamy. lingering. Palate Creamy. earthy. Earthy. Score 78 An earlier Signatory bottling. Marshmallow. flowery and fruity. Body Firm. Reminiscent of amontillado. Body Medium. firm. Hint of peatiness. Savoury.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BENRINNES 21-year-old. Distinctive. orange. surging finish. and dusty. Score 78 Some independent bottlings Nose BENRINNES 1989. from Adelphi. but beautifully balanced. Unusually dense. Vanilla. Palate Gingerbread. Developing vanilla. 43 vol Colour Greeny gold. Rare Malts. toffeeish. Long.

With dessert or after dinner. sometimes creamy. have dried up since the fourth edition of this book. Eventually. but will be given a few more summers before they are considered sufficiently mature to release. but also to produce a richer spirit. its valuable copper stills were removed. Moray. With its new still-house. On this occasion. The idea was to adapt it to present demand. A flowery 12-year-old and a more fruity 15-year-old. Benromach was reopened in 1998 – by Prince Charles. 131 . Benromach appeared to have died while in the care of United Distillers in the mid-1980s. and each scoring 77. and independent bottlers lose a source. at 20 years old. there will be a further ascent of the legend. both popular ages. the most immediately visible to travellers approaching Speyside from Inverness.com email info@gordonandmacphail. Forres. However much inventory a distillery has.B E N RO M AC H BENROMACH Region tel Producer Gordon & MacPhail Highlands District District Speyside (Findhorn) address Invererne Road. Benromach was for many years available only in independent bottlings.com VC P RINCE CHARLES IS NO DOUBT among the malt lovers keen to taste this 100-year-old distillery’s born-again whisky.” House style Assertive. Apart from that isolated instance. Devotees mourn. IV36 3EB 01309 675968 website www. its stocks are finite. Gordon & MacPhail decided to try and buy the distillery. Having succeeded. United did subsequently issue one Rare Malts edition.gordonandmacphail. flowery. This has already become “by the Proprietors”. Sadder still. At that point. the legend will say: “Distilled and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. was closed. The early batches have long passed the three-year transition from spirit to whisky. The distillery. “Bottled by Gordon & MacPhail” is no longer enough. they re-equipped it with smaller stills.

but gradually becomes very fragrant. Body Very light. but appetizing. 59. smooth. Palate Malty background. Finish Nutty. Lively. oily. soothing. liquorice. As though the whisky had attenuated in the bottle. Nose Very restrained at first. Palate Slightly vegetal. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Eccentric. very long. at 61 vol. fragrant. Cask Nos 112 and 114. Chlorophyll. Ozone. juicy oak. 1982. 17-year-old. Palate Perfumy. Nose Very flowery. Flowery. Complex. shining gold. Sugared almonds. syrupy. Flowery. Gin-like. Mint imperials. Treacle toffee. Score 80 BENROMACH Cask Strength. dryish. long. So fresh as to be almost astringent. Finish Very dry but well judged. Body Firm. 43 vol Colour Deep. Score 78 BENROMACH 25-year-old. 43 vol Bright gold. Richly sherryish. flirtatious. Score 77 An earlier cask strength. Spring water. Very faint smoke. Toasted nuts.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BENROMACH Centenary Bottling. herbal. Score 79 BENROMACH 18-year-old. Colour Score 77 132 . Nose Fresh air. Peachy. Rooty. Toffee apples. Lime blossom. Body Lightly soft. Faint smoke again. Finish Peppermint. Faint green tinge. Body Firm. full gold. Palate Oily. Finish Lightly dry. and had a more obvious contribution from sherry.7 vol Colour Deep. complex. was more rounded. smooth. Ground almonds. Nose Hint of garden bonfires. smoky.

Some crème fraîche acidity. then vanishes. 19-year-old. Body Firm. soft fruits as it opens. and dry. Score 77 Other versions of Benromach The Rare Malts 20-year-old. Body Surprisingly light. Palate Apple pie with butterscotch and cream. smooth.B E N RO M AC H Nose BENROMACH Vintage 1973. Nut toffee. is very flowery. fruity. is heavily sherried and smoky. 40 vol Colour Full. A hint of coffee. Palate Sweet. attenuated with age. at 52. but lacks complexity. but also with acidity. Pear syrup. Slight phenol. Finish Burnt pie crust. Dark. almondy. and cedary. Distinctly sweeter. Lightly fruity. Dry. Fresh apples. refractive gold. fruity. soft. A tease. Score 77 133 . but still with a delicate nuttiness and floweriness. Some fruitiness. Score 77 A Cadenhead 1965.1 vol. 45 vol Colour Attractive orange pink.6 vol. bottled at 28 years old and 47. is creamy. Finish Proposes a seduction. bottled in 1998 at cask strength. Score 77 A Scott’s Selection from the same year. Score 77 Nose BENROMACH Port Wood Finish.

A classic Lowlander. Wigtownshire. was originally attached to a farm. Perhaps a dessert malt. bought the distillery buildings with a view to converting them into a holiday home. and used local barley. Raymond Armstrong. Meanwhile. DG8 9AB 01988 402605 website www. 134 . had no connections with the whisky industry. and producing a very flowery “new make”. A little farther away is Dumfries. since 2001.bladnoch. new proprietor Raymond Armstrong has been buying casks and bottles of Bladnoch whisky from previous owners UDV and from the trade in general. but had family links with Wigtownshire. The area is geographically very close to Northern Ireland. noted for its bookshops. United Distillers. Nearby is Wigtown. where Robbie Burns’s house can be visited. a surveyor and builder. Armstrong. sometimes with a suggestion of bananas. this spirit should be ready for release as mature whisky. The distillery gave rise to the hamlet of Bladnoch. it triple distilled. The pretty little distillery. soft. established between 1817 and 1825.co. Some time before the end of the decade. lemony.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BLADNOCH tel Raymond Armstrong Lowlands district Borders address Bladnoch. He spent two years restoring the distillery to working order. but came to feel they should be returned to their original purpose. For a time. It promises to restore a corner of pride to the Lowlands as malt whisky region. from Northern Ireland. to ensure that he has something to sell in the distillery shop.uk Region Producer VC F INALLY DISTILLING AGAIN. which forms the border with England. It was mothballed in 1993 by its then owner. which flows into the Solway Firth. Bladnoch is the southernmost working distillery in Scotland. HOUSE STYLE Grassy. It takes its water from the river Bladnoch.

lemony notes. Fisherman’s Friend. lemony. Bottled 2001.BLADNOCH BLADNOCH 10-year-old. Hot. Firm. Finish Again. 1991. Body Light.6 vol Colour Pale bright gold.3 vol Colour Vinho verde. Then develops coriander-like dryness. Refill Barrel. Cask No 3998. Palate Starts very sweet. Some vanilla smoothness. lemon grass. Cough sweets. Nose Aromatic. Tasted as works in progress. Distilled 1977. Bamboo-like woodiness. Body Fuller. fruity. Chillis. Needs softening with a good splash of water. Body Light. 135 . Nose Floral. Becoming hard to find. Rare Malts. Score 85 BLADNOCH 23-year-old. firm. surprisingly assertive. Finish Hint of liquorice. Palate Dry. vegetal. grass. 53. 43 vol Launched in UDV period. Hot. Nose Hint of sherry. Score 78 Casks of Bladnoch acquired by the distillery. Palate Lots of development from a sherryish start through cereal-grain grassiness to flowery. 54. oily. fragrantly fruity. Straw. Finish Exotic fruits. Colour Amber. Flora and Fauna.

light. dusty fruitiness. Smooth. Leafy dryness. Palate Oily. 57. Falls away in middle. Cask No 2631. Some lively acidity.6 vol Colour Very pale. Body Oily. Nose Morning dew. Body Firm. James MacArthur. Bananas. Bananas. Palate 1988.9 vol Shimmery. Fruity. Some independent bottlings BLADNOCH 1992. 52. Nose Light. Nose Fresh. Finish Late recovery. Finish Zesty. fruitiness. green-tinged. Nose Warm. Wet grass. drying. Very pale greeny gold. Signatory. Cask No 720. Cask Unspecified. Finish A suggestion of old books. Cream. Vegetal. Score 78 Palate BLADNOCH 1990. Lemon curd. Body Textured. Passion fruit. Grassy coriander. Score 79 136 . Palate Zest of lemon. More liquorice. lemons. Faint green tinge. 43 vol Colour Gold.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Colour 1990. Refill Hogshead. cereal grain. 57. Cream. Sweet lime cordial. Banana-like. Lemon zest. Finish Leafy.3 vol Colour Gold. Lively start. Body Light.

but water helps. exploding with fruitiness and spiciness. Palate Slow to open up. at 50. 40 vol Colour Bright. Cadenhead. Nose Fresh. Vanilla. Petal-like. Finish Drying. 54. Finish Anis. Body Soft. Nose Lime peels. Perfumy. greeny gold. Grassy. Connoisseurs Choice. had a full gold colour and a generous spoonful of liquorice in the aroma and palate. Chlorophyll. Leafy. Superbly balanced. Score 79 9 Palate BLADNOCH 1988.BLADNOCH A 1974 from Signatory. This expression seemed to have reached its conclusion very quickly. Rounded. perhaps. 13-year-old. Green. Body Delicate.6 vol. Banana toffee? Nougat. but this proved to be a grandstand finish. Score 84 BLADNOCH 1989. Clean.9 vol Colour Very pale greeny gold. Score 86 137 . Herbal. Beautifully combined flavours.

Bottled January 1997. 58. but Bladnoch’s typical citrus and banana esters smile through. but neither as complex or as rounded as might have been hoped. Body Light. Score 77 138 . Nose Heavy tropical flowers.8 vol) bottling from the same year. Pleasant enough. This had a warm.9 vol Colour Pale vinho verde. rounded. Palate Very sweet. The hint was more strongly spelled out in the aroma and palate.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Gordon & MacPhail also released a cask strength (cask nos 3151 and 3158. Royal Mile Whiskies. Assertive. Scott’s Selection. Body Firm. Nose Lightly honeyed. developing orange-flower and acacia notes. Scottish tablet. score 87 BLADNOCH 1987. discreetly suggesting sherry. 58. bronze colour. thin. Some fruity acidity. Finish Seville orange marmalade. geranial. Palate Honey again. 56.6 vol Colour Gold. Finish Bittersweet. Score 76 BLADNOCH Distilled June 1980.

overgrown with ivy and Virginia creeper. but it can take a lot of sherry without becoming showy or belligerent.com VC B referring to a tract of flat land. wellproportioned whisky rather than a big bruiser. and behaves like a gentleman. Blair Castle is the home of the Duke of Atholl.malts. or someone who originates from such a place. The well-designed. PH16 5LY tel 01796 482003 www.com/www. Redolent of shortbread and ginger cake. Its malt whisky is extensively used in the Bell’s blends. It is a sturdy. A mid-afternoon malt? 139 . The distillery is nearby at the inland resort of Pitlochry. a clearance. Perthshire. Spicy. beautifully maintained distillery. The village of Blair Atholl ends with a double “l”.discovering-distilleries. a battlefield.BLAIR ATHOL BLAIR ATHOL Region website Producer Diageo Highlands district Eastern Highlands address Pitlochry. nutty. while the distillery prefers to keep it single. It has been sympathetically expanded several times. HOUSE STYLE LAIR IS A SCOTTISH NAME. known for its summer theatre. The whisky matures quickly. traces its origins to 1798.

Lemon grass. Score 78 BLAIR ATHOL 12-year-old. lemon. round. Score 78 140 . Score 77 BLAIR ATHOL 18-year-old. toasty oak. finessed. a further development of the flora and fauna selections. Firm. firm. Fragrant. Satin sheen. Very sophisticated for its age. Bottled 1997. Candied lemon-peels. Finish Ginger. Finish Lightly smoky. Impeccable balance between sweetness and dryness. Pronounced black treacle. Assam tea. 55. Hints of banana. Score 78 BLAIR ATHOL 1981. spiciness. Dried figs. Commemorative Limited Edition. Nose Rich. Nose Oakier and smokier. 43 vol A much more sherryish version. Blair Athol matures quickly. (A hint of peat?) Body Silky smooth. The slightly burnt crust on a cake. Raisins. Moist. gaining perfuminess. slightly chewy.A -Z OF SINGLE MALTS BLAIR ATHOL 12-year-old.5 vol Now becoming hard to find.7 vol Colour Full peachy amber (but less dark than the 12-year-old). Body Bigger and firm. Butter. Finish Very smooth. Sweetish. clean toffee. Faint fragrant smokiness. dried fruit. Faint treacle or molasses. Cask Strength Limited Bottling. Cakey. Body Medium. lightly smoky. cake-like. Palate Dates. 43 vol Released in 2000 in the Single Distillery Malt series. Colour Distinctively deep. Palate Walnuts. complexity. candied orange peels. smooth. silky. sweetness. soothing. Palate Delicious. Rooty. cinnamon. 56. Lots of flavour development. Lively. Colour Attractive dark orange. Nose Very complex. Bicentenary Limited Edition. orange. Moist cake. Body Medium. Colour Deep. but appetizingly so. Orange liqueur. Treacley. bright orange red. Palate Spiced cake. Nose Very delicate. The sherry helps to emulsify the elements. Finish Toasty. richness. and length. orange and cinnamon.

lightly smoky. Finish Beautifully rounded dryness. Marzipan. Develops to buttery shortbread. syrupy. a very long finish. Palate Creamy. Nose Lightly smoky. Finish After a palate that seems to lack complexity. Signatory Cask Strength Series. 49. syrupy. with suggestions of an almost-ripe pear or dessert apple. Nose Candied orange peel. Score 74 141 . Then a late. Douglas Laing & Co.3 vol Colour Bright pale. greeny gold. Score 78 BLAIR ATHOL 1973. textured. Palate Lemony. perfumy. Starts flowery and fruity. 55 vol Colour White wine. Body Clean.BLAIR ATHOL BLAIR ATHOL 25-year-old. Pineapple. Sponge cake with fresh fruit. surprising hit of gingery warmth. Body Light to medium. Lightly fruity. Fresh citrus.

where the river Laggan flows into Lochindaal. that at Bowmore is sandier. Up to 30 per cent of the whisky is aged in sherry. The distillery is more exposed to the westerly winds than others. The distillery. Voyage. Their character is not a compromise but an enigma. The malt is peated for a shorter time than that used for the more intense Islay whiskies. the whiskies of Bowmore are between the intense malts of the south shore and the gentlest extremes of the north. with leafy notes (ferns?) and sea air. where the peat is crumbled before it is fired to give more smoke than heat. through moss. to the distillery. is kept in beautiful condition – but not to be confused with the local school. ferns. but barely more than a hamlet. founded in 1779. While the peat higher on the island is rooty. VOCATIVE HOUSE STYLE E Smoky. older after. Argyll. and picks up some peat from the earth as it flows by way of the Laggan. Dusk. The water used rises from irontinged rock. PA34 7JS 01496 810441 website www.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS bowmore Producer tel Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd Islay district Lochindaal address Bowmore.com Region VC NAMES like Dawn. 142 . so there may be more ozone in the complex of aromas and flavours. and rushes. and Legend accentuate the dream-like nature of the place. In both geography and palate. which has decorative pagodas. and tasters have found it difficult to unfold its complexity. Younger ages before dinner.bowmore. the round church looks down the hill to the harbour. The company has its own maltings. The village of Bowmore is the “capital” of Islay. Islay. On the edge of the boggy moor.

Colour Full gold. A fresh. ferny. some nutty malt. Body Chewy. Nose Firm. Finish Sweet smokiness. later saltiness. very appetizing. Underlying earthy sweetness. Palate Light. peaty. peaty. 43 vol Colour Bright gold. deftly balanced: a touch of iron. Nose Fresh peat smoke. 50 vol This is a wine fiinish. leafy. Body Slightly sharp. smoky. Long. Score 86 143 . Finish Sweet. One of the sweeter Bowmores. entry-level Bowmore. Lots of flavour development: fruit. Score 80 BOWMORE Surf. nuts (almonds?). Score 78 BOWMORE Dusk. Nose Seems slightly smokier than the version labelled Bowmore Claret. Palate Rich. Orangey. vanilla. Finish Toffeeish. with a cookie-like maltiness. Leathery. fragrant smoke and sea air gradually emerges. smoky. Palate Very singular flavours. Colour Seems fractionally paler than claret finish. Peaty. smoky. With water. but the characteristic ferny lavender.BOWMORE Expressions wiith no age statement BOWMORE Legend. but no obvious spiritiness. Body Light but smooth. Seems very tame at first. honey-roast peanuts. 40 vol A light. Deliciously evocative and appetizing. A light. dry. young whisky. fruity. oaky. young version. then salty. Bordeaux (Claret) Wine Casked. identified in some markets as an eight-year-old. smooth.

Nose Sea air. 56 vol Vatting of whiskies in mid-teens. lively. honey. Cereal-grain oiliness. smooth. Scenty. dark. Score 83 BOWMORE Voyage. Ferns. Finally a salty battle is won by the distillery character. Finish Orange peel. Oak keeps the contestants apart. with late saltiness. lightly toffeeish. Finish More lively. Port Casked. Syrupy. yellowy gold. Nose Less obviously smoky. Score 84 BOWMORE Claret. Nose Sooty smoke. Ruby Port Cask Finished. 56 vol Colour Bright orange. Score 90 BOWMORE Cask Strength. Finish Toffeeish (more port-like) fruit fights back convincingly. light on the tongue. Body Soft. 51. Colour Sunny. Peaty. Palate Smooth. More perfumy. Some tasters have found “wet wool”. Bordeaux Wine Casked. Malty sweetness. Lively. Slightly chewy. but lingers very warmly. Develops some fruitiness.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BOWMORE Dawn. Seems crisp at first.5 vol Colour Very interesting pinkish amber. peaty. Leafy. Palate Bowmore beats Bordeaux. but it was wonderfully enjoyable. Others find it carbolic. Drier. Body Less toffeeish than most port finishes. Nose Very big in both departments. Nutty. Comment The fighter beat the boxer. textured. Finish Leafy. Lots of recognizably claret-like fruit-and-cedar notes – and a powerful response from Bowmore smokiness. Body Medium. substantial. Palate Earthy dryness. 56 vol Colour Rich. Flavours not very well integrated. Score 81 144 . Palate Smoky and fruity.

Body Medium. smoky. The distillery was extended in the 1970s. A refresher or a pousse-café. The distillery was founded in 1812. 43 vol Colour Pale gold. hot finish. but has been subject to delay. then spicy notes. at 10 years old. sometimes with a dry. will replace a Flora and Fauna at the same age. Palate Starts malty and sweet. burnt. The latter. when Royal Brackla was owned by Diageo/United Distillers. Nose Smoky. Finish Cedary. Inverness-shire. Royal BRACKLA 10-year-old. drying on the tongue. Nairn. were introduced in the 1990s. IV12 5QY tel 01667 402002 VC Island Producer T under Dewar’s ownership was scheduled for 2003–04. Score 74 145 .BRACKLA brackla Region Highlands John Dewar & Sons Ltd Arran district Speyside (Findhorn Valley) address Royal Brackla Distillery Cawdor. and was twice rebuilt in earlier years. on the western fringes of Speyside. not far from Nairn. on the estate of Cawdor. Flora and Fauna. cleansing. This is granted to companies that supply goods to the royal household. slightly sulphurous. Brackla became the first distillery to receive the royal warrant. HE FIRST BOTTLING OF BRACKLA HOUSE STYLE Fruity. becoming robustly fruity. In 1835. molasses. The bottling. and a Rare Malts bottling.

Rum butter. Palate Butter. Late angelica. Score 75 Royal BRACKLA 1991. Somewhere between onyx and ironstone. 59.6 vol was a great deal more impressive. Slightly drying. Nose Sweet. Nose Saddlesoap. pepper. Cookies. Rummy. Palate Marshmallow. Honey. Score 77 146 . Signatory. Body Oaty. Palate Very sweet. Body Lightly chewy. Score 75 “Green” BRACKLA 1975. Rich and enjoyable. Nose Flowery. at 43 vol. That typical dry. melony. 59. Oatcakes.A -Z OF SINGLE MALTS Royal BRACKLA 20-year-old. Body Rich. 43 vol Colour Greeny gold. gingery.8 vol Colour Bright gold. cedary dryness. syrupy. Oily.7 vol Colour Very dark. Finish Curiously short. 27-year-old. Distilled 1991. Butt No 6367. Finish Warming. was fruity and dryish. Gently oaky. with an appetizing balance of restrained fruit and big spiciness. Toffee. oaty. The Whisky Exchange. Finish Warming. Anis. Slightly astringent. Score 69 From the same bottler. Bottled 1998. a 1975 at 58. Rare Malts. Score 71 An earlier bottling of a 1979 Brackla from Signatory. Bottled 2002. finish. hot. with a weak finish.

smooth. Drying on the tongue. Score 76 Royal BRACKLA 15-year-old. was the peatiest among the examples reviewed here. Finish A small explosion of spiciness. Hot. Nose Tea-like. Score 77 Royal BRACKLA 1975. Finish Rooty. A muscular malt of a style that is sadly vanishing from the Highlands. a 1984. Nose Rich heavy sherry. Cask No 5467. 58. Palate Buttery. Finish Madeira-like. Score 72 Royal BRACKLA 1975. Finish Deliciously smoky. Cadenhead. ginger. perfumey. Honeydew melon. Body Slightly thin. Darjeeling tea. Body Much richer. Very enjoyable. peach ice cream. Treacle toffee. Palate Syrup. Perfumey. Palate Chewy. Adelphi.5 vol Colour Burnished bronze to copper. Very long. Nose Lemon grass. Butter. dry. Quite aggressive. 46 vol Colour Deep gold. Rum. then spicy smokiness. bottled in 1998 at 13 years old. Murray McDavid “Mission” Series. 59. Liquorice. Moist fruitcake. lively and warming. Score 78 147 . Body Firm. 25-year-old. Nose Candyfloss.BRACKLA BRACKLA 1975. 43 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. Score 78 An earlier bottling from Murray McDavid. vanilla. Body Very rich and chewy. Malty. The Coopers Choice. Ginger. allspice. Some astringency. Palate Oily. Score 69 An earlier Coopers Choice. Mint humbugs. Tired. was drier and fruitier. Mint toffee.2 vol Colour Bright pale gold. a 1979 at 17 years old from refill sherry.

Aperitif. Zesty. sweet. Braeval’s whisky is a component of Chivas Regal. or even from its parent distillery. Vanilla. Against a mountain ridge. Finish Lightly dry. Palate Flowery. Brae is Scottish Gaelic for a “hillside” or “steep bank”. RAES OF GLENLIVET HOUSE STYLE Light. Very appetizing. Braeval. 40 vol Colour Very pale greeny gold. BRAES OF GLENLIVET 1975. AB37 9JS B was the distillery’s name when the whiskies reviewed here were distilled. among others. Ballindalloch. with a zesty finish. and handsomely monastic appearance. Connoisseurs Choice.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS braeval Region address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands district Speyside (Livet) Chapeltown. It can be operated by one man. Despite its romantic name. Body Dancing on the tongue. Nose Fragrant. built between 1973 and 1978. This name had the merit of linking this distillery with its famous neighbour and parent – but made it difficult for the owners to dissuade other companies from treating Glenlivet as a region or style. honeyish. is an even older form. Herbal. Score 77 148 . it is a modern distillery. The current name. this distillery is perched on a stream that feeds the River Livet. Banffshire.

some containing their first fill of Scotch whisky.com VC Region Producer I on their shoulders to witness the historic moment. (The others are Springbank and Glenfiddich/Balvenie. and fireworks at midnight. Like many distilleries. McEwan has juggled casks to shake off the notion that Bruichladdich is almost too mild to be an Islay whisky. Bruichladdich thus becomes the third distillery to have its own bottling line on site. until spirit distilled by the new team is ready. what was another hour? Lovers of Bruichladdich had come from London. headed by Mark Reynier. Argyll. bringing more guests. bought the distillery with plenty of maturing stock. They lined the Islay shore to watch the reopening in 2001 of Bruichladdich. the selection of casks to make a bottling is critical. firm maltiness with suggestions of passion fruit. this task is in the hands of one of the principals. of the London wine merchants La Reserve. seaweed. In his early vattings.com email laddie@bruichladdich. The latter qualities are heightened by the use of the distillery’s own water in reduction and by the lack of chill filtration. and 20 years old. Ltd Islay district Loch Indaal address Bruichladdich. 17. On the new team at Bruichladdich. their ages will increase over the next decade. The single morning plane. and salt. McEwan has coaxed out more fruitiness and some sweetness. In any distillery. others their second or third. veteran Islay whisky maker Jim McEwan. The new owners. and has given everything more life and definition. Bruichladdich has a miscellany of former bourbon barrels and sherry butts.) The new range began with whiskies at 10. As these are vatted from stock. The whisky has long combined light. Yet further ranges are planned – under the SLANDERS CARRIED CHILDREN 149 . Seattle. 15. An annual vintage is also being released. Islay. The people on the shore scanned the skies. Scotland’s most westerly distillery.bruichladdich. and Tokyo. and a bottling of yet older whiskies under the rubric Legacy. was running late. There were tears of joy. PA49 7UN tel 01496 850221 website www.B RU I C H L A D D I C H Bruichladdich The Bruichladdich Distillery Co. a ceilidh. They had waited ten years. These changes in procedure were made possible by the installation in 2003 of a bottling line.

rebuilt in 1886 and. The distillery’s water rises from iron-tinged stone. either at Bruichladdich or in the vestiges of the Lochindaal distillery.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS rubrics Links and Full Strength. This will remain light to medium in its peating. and introduced labels in a pale seaside blue to match the paintwork at the distillery. Unlike the other Islay distilleries. This refers to the oversized pipette that is used in distilleries to remove samples from casks. salty. at Port Charlotte. home of Port Charlotte’s lighthouse keeper. McEwan immediately reset the stills to produce a spirit to his requirements. This device is sometimes known as a “thief ”. Some independent bottlers of Bruichladdich have labelled the whisky Lochindaal. the nearest village. very firm. Parts of that distillery survive as Octomore Farm. after another former distillery at Port Charlotte. The new owners have promoted the nickname “The Laddie”. spicy (mace?). and flows lightly over peat. under the rubric Valinch. fire fighter and lifeboatman – who was also one of the pipers on the opening day at Bruichladdich. House style Light to medium. The distillery was founded in 1881. When Bruichladdich reopened. Aperitif. All maturing spirit in its ownership is warehoused on the island. coastal road. 150 . Very drinkable. albeit only by a quiet. visitors who wish to buy a bottle are invited to sample from three current casks. Bruichladdich is separated from the sea loch. despite an extension in 1975. At the distillery. hint of passion fruit. The visitors bottle their own whiskies. An even peatier whisky will be called Octomore. Bruichladdich (pronounced “brook laddie”) is on the north shore of Lochindaal. remains little changed. with a heavier peating. The name Port Charlotte will be used on one of the new heavily peated spirits from Bruichladdich. Two new spirits were added.

Very soft “sea air”. Slightly sharp. Nose Firm. Body Firm. A picnic at the beach. 46 vol Colour Bright yellow. Savoury. with green tinge. Finish The flavours meld. Wild flowers among the dunes. cracker-like. Score 80 BRUICHLADDICH 17-year-old. Bruichladdich at its fruitiest. almost effervescent. Perfumy. Stimulating. Muscular. 46 vol Colour Bright greeny gold. Nose Sea air. lively series of small explosions. Peppery. grassy sweetness. Very dry. fruity. 46 vol Colour Deep gold. Score 83 151 . then manifests an astonishingly long. Body Firm. Passion fruit and sea air. Salt. Passion fruit. clean.B RU I C H L A D D I C H BRUICHLADDICH 10-year-old. Palate Powerful. Finish Iron. Palate Summer fruits. Zesty. Appetizing. malt background. Palate Starts with a clean. with a late frisson of sharpness. Score 82 BRUICHLADDICH 15-year-old. estery flavours. Nose Fresh. sustained development of fruity. Long. confident. Body Satin. Finish Underlying iron.

A well-rounded whisky. sandy flavours.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BRUICHLADDICH 20-year-old. but also very flowery. Vintage. Try it with a Baltimore crab-feast or New Orleans crawdads. Sea air. Body Lightly creamy. Body Smooth. Oily. 46 vol Colour Bright solid gold. 46 vol Colour Pale gold. more so than the others in this flight. Very spicy. sand. Finish Ironish. Vintage. Finish Surge of spicy. Finish Sandy. More fruit. Nose Seafront aromas. Like standing on the jetty at Bruichladdich. slow start. Body Oily. Very peppery indeed. Score 84 Some vintage-dated bottlings BRUICHLADDICH 1984. Nose Heavy. with a great depth of character. Score 80 152 . Palate More cereal grain. Score 78 BRUICHLADDICH 1970. Leafy. Drying. Deceptively powerful. Cayenne pepper. Malty. malty. More salt. 44.2 vol Colour Medium to full gold. Palate Gentle. Fruit trees. Brooding. Palate Salt and pepper. blossomy aroma. Dry earth. Fresh limes. Nose Very flowery. leafy.

2 vol Colour Gold. Finish Still hot and dry. peppercorns.8 vol Colour Very full gold. Lively. Nose Estery. Nose Pralines. salty notes. savoury. sweet. Finish Grainy. Orange tinge. Nose Dry. Very appetizing. 60. Dunes. Filled with orange cream. Apple crumble. hot. Score 82 BRUICHLADDICH 1986. 40. ground white pepper.B RU I C H L A D D I C H Some "Valinch" bottlings BRUICHLADDICH 1990. Orange and passion fruit meld with spicy. Palate Sweet. Score 79 Palate BRUICHLADDICH 1972. Cider.3 vol Colour Full greeny gold. green tinge. Finish Passion fruit. Calvados. Cask No 9. Nose Grassy. Slightly peaty.6 vol Colour Full gold. 48. dry. 58. Palate Bay leaves. Body Smooth. Score 78 BRUICHLADDICH 1983. Oily. 53. oily. Legacy. Body Lean. Salty. Gingery. Bitter chocolate. Cask No 998. Fresh Sherry Butt. Some refreshingly fruity acidity. Score 78 BRUICHLADDICH 1966. Palate Estery. Palate More maltiness and especially fruitiness. Temptingly approachable. Very expressive and full of flavour. Finish Gently dry.8 vol Colour Mandarin orange. Sea breezes. Body Marshmallow. Body Rich and creamy. Cask No 700. Nose Clean. Body Beeswax. but softened by the oiliness of the spirit. Score 79 153 . Finish Very spicy More ginger.

Body Syrupy. clear. Score 80 Some independent bottlings of Bruichladdich BRUICHLADDICH 12-year-old. Distilled October 1988. Bottled November 2001. Ash. Delicious. dry. Fragrant. 48. 50 vol Colour Vinho verde. Body Rounded. Earthy. Score 76 154 . Resiny.2 vol Colour Apricot. Light. Royal Mile Whiskies. Distilled July 1985. Juicy. balancing bitterness. marshmallow-like. Palate Fruity. greenish. Dusty. Bottled April 1998. Nose Freshly cut grass. Faint peatiness. vegetal. Herbal. Fruity. Palate Vegetal. The maltiness and fruitiness of Bruichladdich at its best. Dry. Finish Late perfuminess. Score 76 BRUICHLADDICH 13-year-old. 336 Numbered Bottles. Bring on the clootie dumplings. Cask No 5079. Finish Dusty. The Old Malt Cask. wild garlic. Nose Malty. Nose Fruity. 46 vol Colour Very pale. Short pastry. Finish Fruity.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BRUICHLADDICH 1970. Body Syrupy but light. Palate Malty.

Score 72 Also from Adelphi. Score 81 155 . 54.4 vol. Finish Sting of peat. Faintly medicinal.9 vol Heather. Bottled 3 January 2003. with a greenish tinge. Score 80 Also from Gordon & MacPhail. This is sherry-led expression. a 1970 vintage at 30 years old and 49. Talc-like. at 54. bottled in 2003 at 52. Finish Peppermint. but with a beautiful interplay of creamy maltiness and salty flavours. quite a peat accent. Passion fruit. Dry and. and a salty finish. but not typical.B RU I C H L A D D I C H Nose BRUICHLADDICH 13-year-old. Gordon & MacPhail. Menthol.2 vol Colour Bright gold. by the standards of Bruichladdich. Palate Very light but oily. Adelphi. 57. then lingering dryness.3. Score 80 BRUICHLADDICH 1988. in their Cask Strength series.5 vol. a palate that was fruity. had a bright. emerged with a classically seaweedy aroma. Flowery. Nose Perfumy. golden colour. a malty. Cask Strength. Mint. but also full of almondy nuttiness. a 1969 Bruichladdich. cakey palate. Salt. Comment Interesting. drying. released in 2001. and a late crescendo of mace-like spiciness. Distilled 25 October 1988. while still having enjoyed a close encounter with sherry. Cask Nos 1955 and 1956. For a picnic by Lochindaal? Score 80 An earlier Gordon & MacPhail bottling of a 1969 Bruichladdich. Body Slippery-smooth. Grassy. Palate Good malty background.

It’s not real blood. but very light. vinho verde. Cadenhead. fruity. very smooth. salt. Nose Salty. Score 77 156 . Peaty. Finish A touch of lactic acidity. sea air. Body Syrupy. Raw Cask. Body Medium. Bruichladdich in assertively unfancy mood. Finish Some maritime notes. sandy. salt and pepper. Palate Light oak. Bottled March 2003. lightly toasty oak. Distilled 1986. peaty.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BRUICHLADDICH 16-year-old. Finish Lightly toasty oak.2 vol Colour Very pale. Seems to slip away. bright. Nose Spicy (some tasters have found mace). 55. Appetizing and refreshing. Scott’s Selection. passion fruit. Smoky. then sandy. Oily. Bourbon Hogshead. developing some sweetness. Nose Leafy. Score 77 BRUICHLADDICH 26-year-old.9 vol Colour Primrose. One of the hits connected. Slightly perfumey. just passion fruit. 45 vol Colour Full gold to amber. Palate Oaty. Almost orange marmalade. sherry. grassy. Score 77 BRUICHLADDICH 1970. Palate Creamy. Score 78 BRUICHLADDICH 1986. Nose Warm. fruity. Palate Sweet. 53. 57. then fruity. Three big hits. sweet. Body Densely creamy. malt. dusty. Finish Slightly blood-like. sherry sweetness. seaweed. Stillman’s Dram. Body Slippery-smooth.8 vol Colour Deep gold. Flavours tightly locked together.

is sherryish. syrupy but dryish. Palate Butter. 48. Fennel. and salty. is flowery and complex.9 vol. from Gordon & MacPhail. Score 78 157 .B RU I C H L A D D I C H BRUICHLADDICH 33-year-old. Score 79 A 1965. Cask No 2329. Bottled December 2002. at 53. at 53. Italian spices.5. Finish Restrained but tasty. malty.8 vol. Score 78 A 1968. Appetizing. in Signatory’s 10th anniversary series.7 vol Colour Full gold. Score 79 Other versions of Bruichladdich A 25-year-old (1968). with a distinct smoky fragrance in the finish. Body Light. at 52. is even more sherryish. Distilled May 1969. Nose Very perfumey. lapping on tongue. from Cadenhead. with lots of oak and smoke. Duncan Taylor.

hangs from the wall. Aperitif. It is set around a courtyard in a remote cove. Stocks were sinking – not a happy state of affairs for the whisky whose packaging bears the words of the Islay anthem. salty. expanded in 1963. The distillery. NEW LIFE House STYLE Fresh. Even its new owners. Despite its delicacy. but both production and marketing of its products had been sporadic. The stills are large.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Bunnahabhain Burn Stewart Distillers plc Islay district North Shore address Port Askaig. in the style that the industry refers to as onion-shaped. salvaged from a nearby wreck. PA46 7RP tel 01496 840646 website www. sweetish. the most superficially difficult name (pronounced “boona’hhavn”). It was at one time used to summon the manager from his home if he were urgently needed. With the acquisition of Bunnahabhain. The Bunnahabhain distillery had been well maintained by its previous owners. it does not pick up peat on the way. “Westering Home”. A kerb has been built to stops visitors’ cars from rolling into the sea. herbal. Burn Stewart also gain the cult blend Black Bottle. Edrington. since 2003. Bunnahabhain does have a touch of Islay maritime character.com email enquiries@burnstewartdistillers. and because it is piped to the distillery. Burn Stewart had recently joined the worldwide group that includes the “super-premium” vodka Belvedere and has as its unlikely flagship Angostura Bitters. 158 . and the most delicate whisky.blackbottle. was built in 1881. well known in the Far East for its Scottish Leader blends. Bunnahabhain joins the Tobermory and Deanston distilleries in the Burn Stewart group. A ships’ bell. Elusive? Bunnahabhain has the most hidden location of the Islay distilleries. At the time of the takeover. Islay. which contains malts from all the Islay distilleries. Argyll. are the smallest group in the industry. The distillery’s water rises through limestone. nutty.com VC Region Producer A for the elusive Bunnahabhain set the seal on the Islay revival in the new millennium.

Dundee cake. clean. Bottle 1 of 2000. sea-air aroma. nutty-malty sweetness. please. Toasted nuts.8 vol Colour Orange satin. Sea breezes. Finish Dark cocoa powder. with pinkish tinge. oatcakes and cheese. More such essays. Palate Malted milk. a dram at dusk.BUNNAHABHAIN BUNNAHABHAIN 12-year-old. Body Light to medium. sweet. Nonetheless avoids being cloying. 1968. 43. Nose Remarkably fresh. Salty. Still recognizably Bunnahabhain. Comment A brilliantly sunny winter’s day. 43 vol Colour Gold. Finish Very full flavour development. a long walk by the sea in the late afternoon. Body Creamy. Chocolate. Deftly balanced. firm. Nose A rich. Palate Gentle. Refreshing. moist Dundee cake. Score 86 159 . but so different. Score 77 BUNNAHABHAIN Auld Acquaintance Hogmanay Edition.

Palate Gunpowder tea. Spice-shop.9 vol Colour Gold. Colour Attractive pale walnut. Palate Toffee. Body Firm. concentrated flavours. score 83 Some independent bottlings BUNNAHABHAIN 20-year-old. Nose Cashew nuts. Ginger-toffee. 57 vol Colour Deep orange satin. Fresh sea breezes. The Family Silver. James MacArthur. Salty. buttery. Pickled walnuts. 40 vol Now hard to find. Could that be the puffer leaving for Glasgow? Body Rich. Japanese plum wine. 750 bottles. 46. Score 79 BUNNAHABHAIN 1966. Where’s the whisky? Score 71 160 . Palate Fresh. Unusually estery. Palate Depth of flowery nuttiness and creamy flavours.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BUNNAHABHAIN 1968. Ginseng. Nice drink. 42. with a touch of olive. Finish Sweetness and bitter coffee. Body Oily. Finish Just enough bitterness to be appetizing. Becoming nutty. creamy. creamy. Finish Delightful teasing subtlety of nuttiness and gently salty sea air. Nose Mango chutney. Long. Body Light and satin smooth.1 vol Colour Blood orange Nose Smoky. Warming score 80 BUNNAHABHAIN 1963. Cask No 4379. Nose Fragrant sea air and polished wood. Finish Dusty. Very concentrated flavours.

Body Surprisingly light. Score 79 161 . Nutty. SCORE 79 BUNNAHABHAIN 22-year-old. Distilled March 1967. Some cellar character. refractive. Palate Sweet. gold. 40. Score 81 BUNNAHABHAIN 35-year-old. full. firm. Smoke from an open fire. gold. shortbread. Bottled 2002. Long. Finish Spicy. Finish Some musty woodiness. Bottled 2003 Cask No 5899. Unchillfiltered. Cask No 9064. Bottled September 2002. Cask Strength. Appetizing. iridescent. Honey. Body Light. Distilled 1980. Some vanilla. Body Extraordinarily oily. Berry Brothers and Rudd. smooth. Finish Sudden surge of salt. 55. Hart Brothers. Nose Dried fruits. 58 vol Colour Full.6 vol Colour Iridescent greeny gold. Nose Expressive.BUNNAHABHAIN BUNNAHABHAIN 1980.5 vol Colour Deep. Palate Rounded. Caramel. Palate Sweetness. honeyish. caramel. Salty. Nose A walk by the seafront. saltiness and some oakiness. Slight astringency. Salty. Dun Bheagan.

Scotts Selection. A breakfast whisky for the truly decadent. at 51 vol. Shortbread. Nose Fragrant. Finish Ginger cookies. Fragrant.5 vol Colour White wine. Palate Light. gingery. is drier and cedary. Finish Late surge of salt. Score 79 An earlier bottling of a 1989 Bunnahabhain by Gordon & MacPhail was richer all round: sherryish. Distilled 1982. Some vanilla. toasty. at 40. Score 80 A 1969. Nose Light. Palate Cream toffee. SCORE 80 BUNNAHABHAIN 1982. Quite stinging – and sustained. Body Slightly oily but very light. New leather upholstery in a luxury car.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS BUNNAHABHAIN 1989. sweet. a 1981 Bunnahabhain. Score 79 162 . Bottled 2001. Afternoon tea. SCORE 78 8 From the same bottler. salty. but seems to have lost some dimension with age. toast. The MacPhail’s Selection. 40 vol Colour Full gold. 52. Spicy. Body Surprisingly light. is more flowery and complex. Hint of lemon grass.1 vol.

Duncan Taylor. Murray McDavid. SCORE 76 BUNNAHABHAIN 36-year-old. mellowed by age. fresh limes. a 1979 Bunnahabhain from sherry wood has vibrant flavours of toffee. Palate Cookie-like. Citrus peel. peat. but without smokiness. 46 vol colour Old gold. Distilled June 1966. Nose Fresh. Harbourfront. Some Maderisation? Finish Very late salt. SCORE 80 From the same bottler. Score 79 163 . 40. ginger. grassy.BUNNAHABHAIN BUNNAHABHAIN 1979. Salty. Chocolate digestives? Very subtle flavours. Body Surprisingly light. and malt. Clean.1 vol Colour Dark gold. Bourbon Barrel. Oily. Palate Lightly nutty. Cask No 4872. Bottled November 2002. Drying. a reminder of the whisky’s maritime youth. Nose Salt. Finish Fragrant. Body Creamy. but they are eventually overpowered by the wood. Comment Surprising peatiness.

a hillside covered in fuchsias. well-engineered distillery. Oregon pine washbacks. Its 1970s façade is beginning to be accepted as a classic of the period.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Caol Ila Producer Diageo Islay district North shore address Port Askaig. it has over the years used different levels of peating. Public attending the festival were invited to join whisky writers at the tasting. after years of being deemed brutal. It was further announced at Caol Ila that Hidden Malts would also emanate from another three Diageo distilleries: Clynelish.discovering-distilleries. It is quite salty and minerally. as part of a new range with the rubric “Hidden Malts”. brass trim.com Region A 2002. and Glen Ord. Some of the structure dates from 1879. with four generations of family in the industry. The large windows of the still-house overlook the Sound of Islay. Its malts had become more readily available. in such a public way. in recent years. Inside. having risen from limestone. means “Sound of Islay”. the distillery is both functional and attractive: a copper hood on the lauter tun. across which the ferry chugs to the nearby island of Jura. and the distillery was founded in 1846. Argyll. and implicitly as the flagship in the new range. PA46 7RL tel 01496 302760 Distillery has shop website www. The distillery is in a cove near Port Askaig. foxgloves. three stylishly boxed expressions of Caol Ila were released by owners Diageo. The Gaelic word “caol” is more familiar as “kyle”. wash stills like flat onions. Glen Elgin. making whisky for several blends. This is apparent in the independent bottlings. and appreciated. As a modern. and wild roses rises toward the peaty loch where the water gathers. The launch of Caol Ila in an official bottling. For the moment each of them would release only one age. The best view of the distillery is from the ferry.malts. Manager Billy Stichell. provided an accomplished commentary. It was the first time he had spoken in public. finally confirmed that it was far from hidden. The tools of modern marketing were much in evidence. an Ileach. Islay. T THE ISLAY FESTIVAL OF 164 . Behind the distillery. but so was the patrimony of Islay malt. pronounced “cull-eela”. spirit stills more pear-shaped. The name.com/www.

Sweeter. estery. Palate Lots of flavour development. Body Firmer. Score 83 CAOL ILA 18-year-old. Markedly vegetal. Vanilla. Simultaneously soothing and appetizing. Palate More assertively expressive. Finish Very long. Much bigger. Garden mint. Finish Powerful reverberations of a remarkable whisky. Body Lightly oily. Juniper. Nose Soft. Rooty. Flavours combine with great delicacy. Spring greens. Complex. Nose Fragrant. Crushed almonds. Colour Score 86 165 . fruity. The Hidden Malts CAOL ILA 12-year-old.CAOL ILA HOUSE STYLE Oily. olive-like. Grass. Fino sherry on a sunny day. white mustard. 43 vol Fullest of the three. Leafy sweetness. Becoming spicy. 43 vol Colour Vinho verde. Burnt grass. cedary. nutmeg. A wonderful aperitif. Menthol. Nutty vanilla pod. Junipery.

with malty sweetness fruity esteriness and peppery dryness. Finish The flavours come together in a rousing finale. Nose Intense. Nose Aromatic. with the alcohol providing a back beat.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CAOL ILA Cask Strength. very firm. Sweetish. White wine. Body Light. Perfumy. Colour Score 85 Some earlier official bottlings. Flora and Fauna. complex. now hard to find CAOL ILA 15-year-old. Coconut. smooth. Palate Rounder. bright. Palate A very lively interplay of flavours. SCORE 80 166 . remarkably pale. 43 vol Colour Fino sherry. with suggestions of thyme. smokiness. Grapefruit. with the flavours more combined. Finish Oily and warming enough to keep out the sea. 55 vol Palest of the three.

oily. stemmy. Finish Sherry. Tightly combined flavours. Body Firm. appetizingly seaweedy. junipery.3 vol Becoming hard to find. Pine nuts. seaweed. olives. juniper. Body Medium. Roasted peppers. junipery. Nose Powerfully aromatic. Juniper. Cask Strength Limited Bottling. Finish Wonderfully long and warming. Roasted peppers. Score 83 167 . Beautifully balanced.CAOL ILA CAOL ILA 1981. Colour Full greeny gold. Rare Malts. rounded. peppery. pepper. expressive. Salt. soothing.8 vol Colour Bright limey yellow. Very dry. SCORE 85 Some Rare Malts CAOL ILA 20-year-old. Finish Dry. Bottled 1997. Nose Fragrant peat smoke. Very appetizing. 57. Intense. Nutty. Bottled 1996. Olives.86 vol 150th Anniversary Edition Colour Orange. lemon skin. Palate Oily. Nose Sweet seaweed. Palate Enormously complex and distinctive. vine leaves. toasty oak. Late surge of peaty dryness. Palate Assertively oily. 63. smooth. SCORE 82 CAOL ILA 20-year-old. oily. seaweed. salty. Body Medium but gentle. 61. lemon juice.

A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CAOL ILA 21-year-old.3 vol Becoming hard to find. smoky. A robust. Sustained development of flavours. Colour Warm gold to pale amber. Body Firm. long. Appetizing. Palate Peaty. Nose Very fresh. Sea air. Some underlying estery fruitiness.7 vol Released 2002. straight-ahead. Smoky fragrance. Caol Ila in traditional Islay style. salty. Almost a sandy taste. Nose Distinctly peaty. Rare Malts. subtle pale gold. Score 84 168 . olivey. gritty. Sweet and dry. Palate Astonishingly fresh. 61. More sea air. 61. oily. Expressive. Finish Sweet. Score 82 CAOL ILA 23-year-old. Finish Big. Oaky dryness. Colour Attractive. smooth. Fresh seaweed. Rare Malts. Body Medium. dry.

but the Cognac goes the distance and even rallies in the final round. A heavyweight struggle between the world’s two great spirits. Juniper. The whisky wins. creamy flavours. spices. The warm amber colour delivers all it promises. A dryish but deftly balanced whisky. Claret finish. Oily. 57. Vintage Cognac finish.6 vol Colour White wine.CAOL ILA Some Gordon & MacPhail bottlings CAOL ILA 1988. Gordon & MacPhail. dry. but becomes very astringent. Then a surge of pepper. Soft. All at 40 vol CAOL ILA 1988. Score 79 GORDON & MacPHAIL Wood Finishes. Port finish. Restrained. Body Lightly syrupy. Dried apricots. A charming after-dinner companion. concluding in a gentlemanly draw. 40 vol Colour White wine. Cask Strength Series. Port establishes a harmony with the maritime notes of the whisky. with sweet. Palate Vegetal. Warm gold. greeny gold. Cognac finish. Score 80 CAOL ILA 1988. Extraordinarily long. Finish A smoky explosion. tannic notes in aroma and palate? Score 79 CAOL ILA 1988. Nose White pepper. Score 77 CAOL ILA 1988. Nose Hugely peppery. Body Light. Sherry finish. Quite big-bodied. Pale. Palate Flowery. buttery. and lightly salty Islay character. Much smoother proceedings. Calvados finish. Nutty. Score 80 CAOL ILA 1990. Score 81 CAOL ILA 1990. Starts enticingly. Connoisseurs Choice. Very pale. Finish Delicate leafy. Fruity. smoky. shimmery. Tell-tale pinkish-bronze colour. Score 84 CAOL ILA 1988. Score 79 169 .

Starts creamy and sweet. Score 77 CAOL ILA 1990. Black Adder Raw Cask. fresh flavours. 10-year-old. Mustardy. 46 vol. Bottled 2000. Fresh sea air on the nose. lean malt character. 46 vol. Pale gold. Fresh aroma. becomes appetizingly dry. Well-rounded. Quite big bodied. From the same bottler. light. Chieftain’s Choice. Medicinal aroma. a 1990. Very pale colour. is oilier. Duncan Taylor Whisky Galore. Score 78 CAOL ILA 1990. Score 79 CAOL ILA 1991. Textured.6 vol. 11-year-old.8 vol. Lemony fruitiness in the palate.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Some independent bottlings of Caol Ila CAOL ILA 1983. Creamy sweetness in background presumably from rum. Reminiscent of bison-leaf vodka. with suggestions of sea-salt. 12-year-old. 43 vol. Very fruity and spicy. Very pale. at 58. The Coopers Choice. oily. Oily. sudden rush of peat. White wine colour.5. Sweetish and warming. and longer. Soft. 12-year-old. Grassy crispness in the finish. grassy finish. Then crisp. 58. Distilled 1992. Becoming fruity and junipery. Score 79 CAOL ILA 1993. greenish. 19-year-old. Cadenhead. drier. 46 vol. dry. Score 77 CAOL ILA. Big. Score 78. 43 vol. Salty dryness in the finish. Clean. Score 77 170 . 60. Greenish tinge. 10-year-old Dun Bheagan. Bright gold. Rum Finish. Berry Brothers & Rudd. Unchillfiltered. Score 77 CAOL ILA 1992.

Where is the whiff of the sea? It blows in eventually. spices. oily. Touch of peat. Touch of estery. at 46 vol. Oily. laconic. Very pale.CAOL ILA CAOL ILA 23-year-old. Score 77 CAOL ILA 1991. Murray MacDavid. Score 82 CAOL ILA 1989. Palate warm. Vanilla. 12-year-old. Nuttiness and sandy dryness in the middle. Score 83. 48 vol. and oak Finished dry but not astringent. Wilson & Morgan. Late fruity (brambles) warmth. Score 77 171 . had more of the house character. Signatory. Kingsbury. distilled in 1989. butter. Primrose. 46 vol. junipery. waxy.2 vol had a fuller amber colour and big flavours. in Signatory’s unchillfiltered series. nutty. A winter warmer. Score 77 An earlier counterpart. 59. viscous. Bourbon Cask. Hints of blackcurrant. medicinal and a fine example of the more peated style of Caol Ila. was briney. with sherry. Very pale greenish. Late. figgy sweetness. Port Wood. 60 vol. Score 78. Score 77 CAOL ILA 1989. mustardy finish. A 1989. A 1981 Caol Ila at 58.5 vol. white wine. Cereal-grain notes. Aromatic. notably a touch of iodine. Oily.

was rebuilt in 1965 and extended in 1967. It. toasty. but not of Caperdonich. Its name is said to indicate a “secret source”. oaky. and sherryish. too. under the same ownership. is a component of the Chivas Regal blend. less intense. of Canada. The Chivas group kept a tight control of its malts during the last years of its ownership by Seagram. others would love them for their sherry and intensity. This little Speyside town has five distilleries. Breakfast? After dinner? 172 . From the start. the malts of both distilleries are light and fragrant in their bouquet.” In the years since the last edition. founded in 1898. are across the street from one another in the whisky town of Rothes. Of the two. The independent bottlings tend to be very old. the industry has used less peat and been stingier with sherry. There are official bottlings of Glen Grant. The fourth edition of Malt Whisky Companion commented “Some malt lovers would dismiss them for an overpowering oakiness. Bottlings that have become available since the fourth edition are each two or three decades old. AB38 7BN to the renowned Glen Grant. and nutty-tasting. When young. medium-bodied. ESSER KNOWN PARTNER HOUSE STYLE L Dried fruits. grainy. it has been a back-up to Glen Grant. with more grainy notes. This policy seems to have been maintained since the takeover by Pernod Ricard.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Caperdonich Region Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands district Speyside (Rothes) address Rothes. of France. Morayshire. The two distilleries. Caperdonich is perhaps a dash fruitier and slightly more smoky. Caperdonich.

(Lavender. A hint of raspberry. Cherry brandy. 51. as though the tongue had encountered the stick in a lollipop. with a tinge of green. Nose Slightly smoky. Body Medium. Finish Restrained ginger. with faint green tinge. 40 vol Colour Yellow-amber. Palate Oily. Slightly vegetal. Drying. Lollipop sticks. Grainy. Nose A crusty loaf. A suggestion of vanilla. Score 69 CAPERDONICH 1970. Hazelnut liqueur. Hot. Very mild indeed. Body Very light but slightly syrupy. Gordon & MacPhail. Palate Malty. Finish Very lightly spicy. Some perfumy notes. dusted with flour and sitting on a wooden bread board. Finish Mustard cress. Almost “white”. Woody. Mozzarella on a pizza. Potpourri?) Finish Dry. Score 74 Colour Nose CAPERDONICH 1979. Linseed. 43 vol Extraordinarily pale. Duncan Taylor & Co.. Oily. fresh from the oven. Lombard. Body Firm.CAPERDONICH CAPERDONICH 1980. Very smooth.7 vol Colour Full yellow gold. Woody dryness. Signatory. 46 vol Colour Gold. Bath Oliver biscuits. Fruity. Score 75 Palate CAPERDONICH 1968. Chewy. Score 79 173 . Nose Chocolate-covered dates. Silky. Palate Toasted marshmallow.

Given that Cardhu was a single malt for between 30 and 40 years. but enjoyed far greater sales in new markets for malts. developed the legal distillery.com Region VC A seen by some whisky lovers as a threat to the future of single malts. the distinction between malts and blends seems to engage the consumer less than the age statement. Had Cardhu never been the name of a distillery and a single malt. which produced malt whisky as a substantial component of the Johnnie Walker blends. easily drinkable whisky was launched to compete with the popular malts in the early days of consumer interest. The distillery. . Elizabeth. or increasing its price. This mild. having reverted to the name Cardow. Helen Cummings distilled illegally on the family farm. owners Diageo decided to drop the designation “single” malt and substitute the imprecise “pure”. outstripping the capacity of the distillery. “Cardhu”. and is now merely “pure” (meaning. Thus Cardhu was consumed by its own success. the Cummings. continues to produce whisky for bottling as Cardhu. An alternative spelling. The distillery was founded as Cardow (Gaelic for “black rock”. Banffshire. Such a threat could not issue from a less congruous location. Cardhu found itself head to head with the blend Chivas Regal. Her daughter-in-law. was adopted when the distillery began to promote a bottled single malt. Cardow has several claims to renown. but this is augmented by other Speyside distilleries under the same ownership. In the latter country. there would be no cause for concern. lay behind the adjustment to this distillery’s name in 2003. after a nearby point on the river Spey).A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Cardhu/cardow tel Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside address Aberlour. The Spaniards’ taste for Scotch whisky is so great that the success of Cardhu in that market rendered it the world’s fastest growing malt. both being 12 years old.discovering-distilleries. AB38 7RY 01340 872555 website www. and contributed twice to the tradition of strong women running distilleries. It was a modest success in the United Kingdom. 174 CONTROVERSIAL CHANGE. better reflecting the pronunciation. such as France and Spain. Rather than “rationing” Cardhu. It provided the industry with a dynastic family.

become less singular. in this instance. is the pure malt? It seems a very good match. … but none is as clearly defined as a single malt. The tasting notes below refer to Cardhu as a single malt. though it has been replaced by Cardhu Pure Malt. a vatted malt). It would be monumentally foolish to squander that advantage. the only other component whisky to have been identified is Glendullan. Initially. appetizing. however good the “pure” malt. Greater ages are richer. and has worked hard to steer clear. Palate Light to medium in flavour. with the emphasis on malty sweetness and vanilla. without changing its name. perhaps fractionally bigger: darker. Finish A lingering. syrupy sweetness. oilier. real ales. first-growth clarets. and often work well with desserts. Body Light and smooth. hints of greengage. but does not rule out more such transformations. Score 72 175 . although again faint. but also a rounder dryness with late hints of peat. and therefore still to be found. Colour Pale. Nose Light. but there are at least two others. delicate. smooth. How good. CARDHU 12-year-old. House style In the original form: light.CARDHU /CARDOW in this instance. nuttier. there is a risk of confusion. and drier. The singularity of the name has been compromised. more toffeeish. If a single malt can. Diageo concedes the danger of confusion. and the gentlest touch of smoke. 40 vol Was widely distributed. how long before devotees become sceptics? Other drinks try to set apart something special: microbrewed beers. Napoleon brandies. an easy-drinking malt.

02 vol Colour Full. Toasted marshmallows. Body Big.5 vol. has a richer. Plums. Cask Strength. lingering. 60. Finish Firm. Score 77 An earlier Rare Malts bottling of Cardhu (distilled 1973). bright. Hint of hessian. Very assertive. Rare Malts. Nectarines. Score 75 CARDHU 1973. Slightly burnt grassiness and fruitiness. Treacle toffee. Underlying fruity complexity. Soothing. greeny gold. Softens a little with late flavour development. Nose Very rich and toffeeish. a suggestion of crystalized fruit. Marshmallow-like. Signatory. Apricots. 27-year-old.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Colour Palate CARDHU 1974. at 60.1 vol Distinctive reddish orange. Lemons. and a hint of tangerine in the finish. Nose Much more peaty than today’s Cardhu. Palate Complex. Very malty. Smoky. very dry. Score 76 176 . Grated tangerine peel. Oaky. Slightly bitter. Reminiscent of blood oranges. Fragrant. marshmallow maltiness. peat fire. 54. Body Syrupy. Finish Perfumy. Just a hint of sherbet.

They are the most maritime of the East Coast malts.com VC C have been conferred in recent years on the Clynelish distillery and its adjoining predecessor. They overlook the coastal road as it heads toward the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland. This distillery was originally known as Clynelish: the first syllable rhymes with “wine”. Sutherland. Clynelish’s stills greet the world through the floor-to-ceiling windows. For a time. A similar preoccupation is to distinguish malts made at the Brora distillery from those that were distilled at Clynelish. and on the Western mainland are challenged only by Springbank. beeswax background flavour – another distinctive feature. It worked sporadically until 1983. Brora is a traditional 19th-century distillery. The two distilleries stand next door to each other on a landscaped hillside near the fishing and golfing resort of Brora. After a century and half. the big flavours of Clynelish and Brora were heightened by the use of well-peated malts.malts. the still-house has its own peculiarities. Eventually.com/www. The name means “slope of the garden”. with a pagoda. but some bottlings of Brora and Clynelish make that characteristic hard to deny. a new Clynelish was built in 1967–68. the older distillery was renamed Brora. KW9 6LR tel 01408 623003 www. The appeal of their malts lies partly in their coastal aromas and flavours. Brora. in the classic design of the period. The older of the two distilleries was built in 1819 by the Duke of Sutherland to use grain grown by his tenants. Inside. ULT STATUS SEEMS TO 177 . in which the deposits in the low wines and feints receivers play a part. Sceptics may question the brineyness of coastal malts.discovering-distilleries. with a fountain to soften the façade.CLYNELISH CLYNELISH Region website Producer Diageo Highlands District Northern Highlands address Brora. the second with “leash”. Clynelish cultists are always keen to identify distillates from this period. but demand was sufficient for the two distilleries to operate in tandem for a time. They were initially known as Clynelish 1 and 2. which command the middle stretch of the northern Highlands. The result is an oily. in local stone (now overgrown).

whose blends were given brand names of equal charm. as well as Special Releases. Cask Strength Limited Editions. Score 81 178 . bearing a charmingly amateurish label. A stroll in the sand dunes.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS For years. Hidden Malts Replaces more seaweedy Flora and Fauna edition reviewed in the fourth edition of Malt Whisky Companion. Since the United Distillers and Diageo eras. 14-year-old. Colour Bright pale orange. a DCL subsidiary. from Ainslie and Heilbron. The Real McTavish was a good example. House style Seaweedy. Finish The spiciness becomes yet more perfumy and exotic. Distinctively mustardy. Spicy. Coriander. Hidden Malts. Orange. CLYNELISH. Both satisfying (without being satiating). With a roast-beef sandwich. this robustly distinctive malt was available only as a 12-yearold. Palate Firm hit of cleansing flavours. 46 vol. Mustard-and-oil. The Rare Malts. oily and seductively smoky. Editions have been issues by Flora and Fauna. Brora and Clynelish have been positively anthologous. Nose Fragrant. Dry. Body Firm. spicy.

and iodine. mustardy. a flowery. Score 84 There was also a wonderfully seaweedy. Body Light but firm. 56. Earlier Rare Malts from Brora have included a more flowery 1975.1 vol Colour Very bright primrose. in the Rare Malts series. at 21 years and 56. had a good maritime character and a distinctively tar-like note. medicinal 1972. medicinal palate. Joyously extrovert. in the Rare Malts series. Finish Sandy. Lime tinge? Nose Very flowery. salt and pepper.4 vol Colour Greeny gold. Nose Fruity. seaweedy. Distinctive gorse or whin. Special Release. fruity. seaweed and salt in its long. also in the Rare Malts series. Palate Lively. The Rare Malts. Camomile. Score 81 A 1975 Brora. 52. refreshing.9 vol. Cask Strength. Indian lime pickle. grainy. at 22 years and 58. Score 84 A 1977 Brora. had more spice. Suggestion of sweet lime. lingering finish. Score 86 Earlier “official” bottlings A 1982 Clynelish at 57. that coconut flavour. then peppery seaweed. Score 86 179 . 24-year-old. Then fresh lime. A classic. was assertive. with “island” flavours of spinach-like seaweed. at 20 years and 59. Palate Powerfully peaty.1 vol.95 vol. Score 85 A 1972 Clynelish.7 vol.CLYNELISH BRORA 1977. seaweedy and slightly metallic. in the Cask Strength series of Limited Editions. Limited Bottling of 3000. Wasabi? Does the 18th hole at Brora serve sushi? Score 84 BRORA 30-year-old. Finish Stingingly mustardy. Fresh limes. Body Lightly oily. had an intensely flowery aroma.

7 vol colour Brassy gold. Pepper. cracker-like Palate Reminiscent of edible seaweed. Finish was typically mustardy. Score 81 CLYNELISH 1989. peppery. Deliciously smooth. 61. A lovely. Palate Flowery. Enjoyable. smooth. 56. fresh earth. Very salty Not the most peaty Clynelish. Delicate interplay of flavours. nose Aromatic: fruity. had wet grass. cask no 2569 and at 56. Adelphi. biscuity. Cask No 3281. Syrupy without being cloying. Salt. 13-year-old.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Some Adelphi bottlings of Clynelish One independent bottler with a particular enthusiasm for Clynelish is Adelphi. was unusually sweet. CLYNELISH 1989.6 vol Colour Very pale gold. Score 82 A 12-year-old Clynelish from Adelphi. Cask No 6081. Cress. Interplay of sweetness. Score 81 A 27-year-old Clynelish from Adelphi. vegetal (dock leaves?). Developing peat. Finish Peppery. 9-year-old.2 vol. but very restrained for a Clynelish. It had a long. cask no 3280 at 57. flowery. spicy mustard and vegetal dryness. Body Light. appetizing Body Dry. Late sweetness. Syrupy. Soft for a relatively young example. creamy. dry (passion-fruit?). peaty glow. Here is a selection of recent bottlings. flowery aperitif. Adelphi.3 vol. Nose Very flowery. Score 84 180 . Finish Lightly seaweedy. all scoring more than 80. and peat in the aroma. but a lovely distinctive whisky.

Faint greenish tinge. Mint toffee. Nose Lemony. Cask No 3287. Sliced limes. Cask No 6501. 46 vol Colour Full gold. Anis. Score 78 Palate CLYNELISH 1989. Nose Treacle toffee. Palate Fig-like. Finish Lemon curd. Hint of lemony acidity. Oily. refreshing. Body Cough syrup. Woody. Palate Light cereal-grain character. Chieftain’s. Lively flavours that seem to be trapped in malt like plums in a pancake. Score 78 181 . Winey acidity. Bottled 2002. Sliced dessert apple. 13-year-old. Score 79 CLYNELISH 1976. Body Rich. Nose Very fresh. Vanilla. Finish Maritime character emerges. Intense. Lemon zest. Fig Newtons. Blackadder. Long. Salty. Berry Brothers & Rudd. 43 vol Colour Very clear pale gold or eau-de-nil.CLYNELISH More independent bottlings of Brora and Clynelish Clynelish 1972. Ginger biscuits. 29-year-old. but very rounded. Finish Crisp. Zest of lemon. smooth. 59 vol Colour Dark oak. South African “Sherry” Wood. Body Light and delicate but beautifully rounded. Lemony. gingery.

A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Clynelish 1990. Seaweed. A deft balance of two extremes. 40 vol Colour Attractive warm bronze. Appetizing. Stern. Passion fruit. Sea mist. comes the salty tang of the sea. and hint of cocoa. With that hue comes a sherry creaminess. Savoury. Slightly sour. Very unusual. Connoisseurs Choice. through all those flavours. Finish Oily. and a luxurious nightcap. more like dark oak. 40 vol Colour Full. Finish Salty. Score 79 182 . peppery. has a considerably fuller colour. juicy cucumber. Body Firm. edible cactus. Palate Salsify. though rather weak in the middle. yellowy gold. Both refreshing and appetizing. bright. Then. butteriness. Connoisseurs Choice. asparagus. cask no 3248. Gorse in a sea mist.9 vol. Score 80 A Clynelish 1989. Palate Iron-like flavours. olivey. Steely. Flavours tightly combined. at 57. Nose Powerful. from the same merchant. Score 84 Brora 1982. Body Very firm. Nose Harbourfront. Gorse.

sandy. Palate Orange toffee. Fresh sea smells. Fruity. lively. Complex. Score 76 CLYNELISH 1990. Develops more adult flavours. 14-year-old. 12-year-old. Score 80 Hart Brothers CLYNELISH. Suggestions of liquorice. Coopers Choice. Satisfying. Cask Strength. Liquorice allsorts. with faint greenish tinge. 43 vol. 53. Finish Lemony. Children’s sweetshops. 16-year-old. promising.CLYNELISH The Coopers Choice CLYNELISH 1990. Seaweedy. peppery. Fennel? Celeriac? Becomes more typically vegetal. Pepper. Score 79 CLYNELISH 1983. port finish. Score 81 183 . 43 vol Colour Old gold to bronze. rounded. sweet. Just a suggestion of salt and seaweed. The finish is grassy. Nose Vegetal. Nose Dried orange skins. A walk on the beach. Body Smooth. 46 vol. A walk in the dunes. Falls away in the middle. Rather thin and one-dimensional. Suggestions of olive oil in the palate. Creamy. Body Dry. The Coopers Choice. shimmery gold. Coopers Choice. peppery. 12-year-old. mustardy. Reminiscent of a mustardy hollandaise sauce (perhaps served with samphire). Palate Clean. Finish Sweet. Hart Brothers.3 vol Colour Bright. Very fresh and aromatic. Cress. seaweedy. Then develops sweet mustard notes. Pears. dry finish is not quite enough of a foil. toffeeish. Banana toffee.

Powerfully dry. fruity finish. firm. Finish Bitter salad leaves. Restrained apple and lemon. to the point of evoking Islay. Mustard. Palate Cereal grain. Slightly buttery. as though the whisky were being nosed among rolls of silk and satin. Body Oily. Or perhaps just among the occupants of sleek evening dresses. Score 82 Douglas Laing BRORA 20-year-old. Bottled 2000. 50 vol Colour Bright. Cream. Finish Touch of ginger marmalade. Lemon. Citrus peels. 54. Amontillado Sherry Cask. Nose Very oily. Toast. Score 79 Brora 18-year-old. It fell away somewhat in the middle. Orange zest. Score 82 184 . Reminiscent of citron pressé. was much peatier. Kingsbury’s. Palate Oily.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Kingsbury’s CLYNELISH 1990. Single Cask Bottling. Nose Curiously cloth-hall aroma.2 vol The sherry complements rather than overpowers the classic Clynelish character. but two years younger. Very long saltiness. This earlier bottling of Brora from the same house at the same strength. Lemon body Medium. 50 vol. but came back for a stinging. Pine nuts. greeny gold. Colour Very full gold.

50 vol Colour Extraordinarily pale. Palate Sweet. Body Firm. very lively. Finish Salty. penetrating. Lots of flavour development. Nose More maritime. sharp. Finish Dry. grassy. Nose Peaty. Lombard (Jewels of Scotland). 50 vol Colour Greeny gold. 59. rounded. Nose Hint of the sea. Score 78 James MacArthur Clynelish 10-year-old. Score 76 BRORA 1982. Body Oily but light and drying. Eau-de-nil. mustardy. Lombard. Body Textured. Long. Palate Peaty. perfumy. James MacArthur. Finish Spicy. Very appetizing indeed. iron iodine salty. harbourfront character. Stinging. slippery.CLYNELISH Lombard CLYNELISH 1982. Light but warm smokiness.8 vol Colour Attractive greeny primrose. Lemons and spinach with Indian spices. Score 83 185 . peppery. Both fruity and vegetal. Palate Slightly chewy.

Palate Like biting into crudités. 46 vol Colour Pale gold. Finish Robust. fruity seaweed. and decisive. James MacArthur. Score 78 186 . Finish Peppery. Score 82 Another 1989 Clynelish. Cask No 1122. Signatory. Marzipan. Sweet. Palate Oily. at a mere 1. Almost iridescent. SCORE 85 Signatory Palate CLYNELISH 1983. and appetizing. coriander seed. Celery. Perfect with salmon. spinach. mustardy dryness. Nose Light seaweed and sea air. Extraordinarily spicy. long. Almonds. Very appetizing. Salty. Spice-shop aromas. acid tang. Body Lightly silky. Very lively. cilantro. refreshing. Body Medium to full.1% stronger in alcohol. and heat. becoming grassy and mustardy. Strawberry jam. clean. 43 vol Colour Very pale white wine. Light. light. Body Silky. Finish Slightly sour. greeny gold.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CLYNELISH 1989. sea salt. Nose Hint of the sea. Mustard. textured. is milder in flavours. Very late. Peppery. developing some peppery notes. Score 80 Murray MCDavid Clynelish 1972. palm hearts. Mission Range Series. artichokes. but crisp. cumin seeds. Nose Very aromatic. pepper. weak in the middle. 58 vol Colour Pale.

Woody. Prunes encased in chocolate. Score 75 The Whisky Shop BRORA 1972. Caramel-ish. Nose Sweet. Nose Slight cellar character. Score 79 187 . 47. A very unusual expression of Clynelish. restrained. Score 79 BRORA 1981. Buttery sweetness in the aroma. 58. Then smoky. Nose A hint of sweetish smoke. Or for collectors. Cask Strength. Finish Intensely vegetal. a 1989 Clynelish at 56.4 vol Colour Dark mahogany. Finish Cigar boxes. Palate Chewy. Tasty. Nettle soup with the sting intact. Body Creamier. Signatory. Body Lightly creamy. Smooth. Signatory Unchillfiltered Collection. spicy finish. like a pancake that has burned slightly. For those who like woody whiskies. 30-year-old. The Whisky Shop. Dry.CLYNELISH BRORA 1982. Earthy. Finish Late. 21 year-old. Palate A gentle approach to the sea. Score 79 Also from Signatory. Cask No 278. Juicy. Vegetal. Vanilla. Across the grassy dunes to the sandy. seaweed.7 vol. Palate suggests banana liqueur. salty shore. Grassy sweetness. Palate Creamy. Treacle toffee. Body Firm. maritime notes. 46 vol Colour Fractionally greener. finished in South African “sherry” casks. Some fruity-vegetal Brora character squeaks through.6 vol Colour Vinho verde. Butt No 1422.

did official bottlings. Aberdeenshire. this is rendered as “Knockdhu”. Only after its acquisition by its present owners. both in the 1890s. AB5 5LJ website www. begin to be issued in the 1990s. is Cnoc Dubh (“black hill”).inverhouse. in Gaelic. not to be confused with another wholly unrelated distillery. A dessert malt? 188 . Knockdhu was built in 1894 to supply malt for the Haig blends. as their original purpose was to produce whisky for blending.com email enquiries@inverhouse. and the most distinctively simple among a confusing variety of styles used on labels. In English. There was probably no thought of confusion when these two distilleries were established. and closed in 1983.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS AN CNOC Inver House Distillers Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Isla/Deveron) address Knock by Huntly.com Region Producer A for “the hill”. albeit on a small scale. N CNOC IS SCOTTISH GAELIC House style Creamy and fruity. Knockando (“little black hill”). The full name of the distillery. and its reopening. rather than as single malt.

creamy vanilla notes. Finish Creamy. Pineapple? Body Light but very smooth. and peat-smoke fragrance. Palate Lightly syrupy. Slight burnt grass. oaty. 57. Given the monosyllabic name. darker whisky. Spicy.5 vol This was a limited release. Warming. Body Light but smooth. shimmery gold. Marshmallow maltiness. Score 75 AN CNOC 13-year-old. Then lemon grass and mint. Superseded by the 23-year-old. Nose Light. 40 vol Colour Pale gold. could be a flavoured spirit from a little known. 46 vol Colour Pale. but enjoyable. Slightly odd. Colour Fractionally fuller gold. restrained fruit. dry. Highland Selection. minty. Flavours that one expects from a bigger. Score 77 189 . smooth. rummy. Limited Edition. herbal. now hard to find. Palate Smooth. with some chalkiness. Limited Edition. Very soft note of fruit. Finish Fruit zest. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Nose Appetizingly perfumy. Sweet herbs. newly independent republic in Central Asia.AN CNOC AN CNOC 12-year-old. Nose Very aromatic. Very long. Finish Hint of cloves. Beautifully balanced. Soothing. Smoky fragrance. grass. Score 76 CNOC DHU/KNOCKDHU 21-year-old. fruity.

Clotted cream. Score 78 AN CNOC 1975. Delicious. 26-year-old. Textured. Body Smooth. Very attractive indeed. soft and sweet. Dessert apples. Finish Long. Perhaps slightly more flowery and perfumy. Finish Lemony. Body Medium. Very smooth. Body Fuller. pour it over the ice cream.4 vol Colour Refractive. Delicious. No. Finish Lingering sweetness. Nose Mint toffee.6 vol Colour Deep gold to bronze. Limited Edition. Cinder toffee. Oat cookies with raisins. Cask No 286. 12-year-old. The lightest touch of peat. Marshmallow. Score 79 Knockdhu 1989. Sweet grass. Nose Softly sweet lemon grass. Sun-dried grass? And a late surge of spiciness. Very smooth. Adelphi.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS KNOCKDHU 23-year-old. Nose Again. Palate The typical lemon grass arrives late. 57. Meadow flowers. 48. greeny gold. warming. Highland Selection. 56. Sweet without being cloying.2 vol Colour Fractionally paler. balanced by grassy dryness. Unchillfiltered. Beautifully rounded. Palate Butterscotch sauce. Serve it with dessert. Score 77 190 . Hint of fragrant smoke. Palate Toffeeish. Rounded. Ginger snaps. Full of flavour.

COLEBURN 21. The Rare Malts. Score 73 191 . Leafy. fruity. was never destined for solo stardom. Soothing. Warming. once relied heavily upon malt from this distillery. and is unlikely to work again. Medicinal. It closed in the grim 1980s.COLEBURN COLEBURN Region address Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside (Lossie) Longmorn by Elgin. 59. House style T HE USHER’S WHISKIES. dry. Oil of peppermint. Mint toffee. Palate Peppery. Zest of lemon. Spicy.4 vol Colour Bright primrose. IV38 8GN pioneer blends. Aperitif. Body Lightly viscous. The Coleburn distillery still stands. There have been sporadic proposals to redevelop the site for other uses. but has not been licensed since 1992. the year before its owners DCL were subsumed into United Distillers. Oily. Dry. always intended for blending. Resiny. Coleburn was built in the booming 1890s. Moray. Hint of peat. which in turn became part of Diageo. Its whisky. A valedictory Rare Malts vintage was as enjoyable as any Coleburn to have been bottled in recent decades. Finish Ginger. Nose Flowery.

Their successors. In 1992. For much of its life. 192 . AB55 4BD Producer A Convalmore from Diageo in 2003 was something of a surprise – and a very pleasant one. but purely as warehousing. but mothballed a couple of decades later by its owners at the time. fruity. the premises were acquired by William Grant & Sons. Convalmore contributed malt whisky to the Buchanan/Black & White blends. The pagodas of Dufftown make an impressive congregation of landmarks. Banffshire. seriously damaged by fire. Sadly. modernized in 1964–65. and rebuilt in 1910. syrupy. After dinner. The distillery was built in the 1870s. the distillery no longer operates. still have the right to issue bottlings of Convalmore whisky from stock.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CONVALMORE Region William Grant & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Dufftown) address Dufftown. RARE MALT OF House style Malty. given the quality of the whisky. owners of nearby Glenfiddich and Balvenie. biggish. Diageo. DCL. and Convalmore’s is one of the most strikingly visible.

Distinctly oily. Warming. Oily. Passion fruit. Again. A fresh day on Speyside. Lemon pith. 40 vol Released in 1999 as part of a new Rare Old series. Long. Slightly woody. Very “clean” smoke. Nose Gently sweet. 59. lightly smoky. lemony gold. Body Medium. stinging. Body Very silky. Dry. Cadenhead. Finish Big. Palate Chocolate cream in a cookie sandwich. Yet more oiliness. Palate Gritty. SCORE 70 193 . Lavender. After dinner. Nose Oily. Alcoholic. 64. Mint chocolates.4 vol Colour Old gold. Perfumy. Pralines. Body Medium. rummy. SCORE 79 CONVALMORE 1977. long. Creamy. Oily cereal character. Dusty. Clean. Iron-ish. Clean peatiness. Palate Begins with a good malt background. but sweet. Clinging syrupiness. SCORE 71 CONVALMORE 1978.4 vol Colour Shimmery pale gold. Finish Fresh. Syrupy. Gordon & MacPhail. SCORE 75 CONVALMORE 1960. Musky. Sherbety. with a little smoke wafting quickly past. more biscuity and drier. Becoming less chocolatey.C O N VA L M O R E CONVALMORE 1981. Hint of sulphur. 43 vol Colour Eau-de-nil. Warming. Oily. Palate Fleshy. Finish Light malt. Rare Malt. Long. Nose Aromatic. warming syrupiness. Signatory. Colour Rich. Finish Fruity. White rum. Powerful. Nose Aromatic. 21-year-old. Peppery. Body Drying on the tongue. Cocoa butter. Wild mint. 24-year-old. Hint of honey. clean. full gold.

Nose The most complex aroma of any malt. WONDERFULLY COMPLEX SPECIAL RELEASE House style Austere. restrained. These two elements may be factors in the complexity of the malt.com Region A in 2003 demonstrated what a great malt this is. Cragganmore. is very pretty. After dinner.malts. 40 vol Colour Golden. AB37 9AB tel 01479 8747000 website www. is still less widely known than might be expected. stonily dry. but very firm and smooth. from refill sherry casks. founded in 1869–70. clean. some more sherried independent bottlings. Score 90 194 . from nearby springs. Finish Long. Body Light to medium. Cragganmore is a component of Old Parr.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CRAGGANMORE Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside address Ballindalloch. are each in their own ways almost equal delights. with sweetish notes of cut grass and herbs (thyme perhaps?). flat-topped shape. and the port finish. hidden in a hollow high on the Spey. The usual version. and its spirit stills have an unusual. Banffshire. Palate Delicate. with a huge range of herbal. aromatic. Its bouquet is astonishingly fragrant and delicate. is relatively hard. Its water.discovering-distilleries. one of Diageo’s six “Classic Malts”. flowery notes.com/www. The distillery. CRAGGANMORE 12-year-old.

herbal. Finish Long. white pepper and a grassy note. Fuller. smooth.CRAGGANMORE CRAGGANMORE 1984. Scented. A 1989 bottling from Blackadder at 59. Hessian. is light gold with a nose of powdered almond. Score 83 195 . Soothing. flowery. but lacks the depth of the official bottlings. Palate Dry notes like bison grass. Beeswax. Double Matured. Cherries. dried apple. Finish Flowery.7 vol. Body Firm. Special Release Issued 2003. with both dryness and sweetness. Medium weight. 40 vol Finished in ruby port. mandarin. Warming. with a faint green tinge. winey sweetness. Palate Flowery. A subtle refined nose hinting at berry fruits. the palate is soft and sweet with good character. cleansing. 29-year-old. Score 70 Signatory’s 1989. Nose Fragrant. thyme and pepper. but also sweeter flavours like liquorice and orange blossom. Body Soft.5 vol Colour Gold. Port. The palate and body shows a light whisky which has had little interaction with the cask. Nose Heather honey. dry. grassy. Sweet oranges. Score 80. Score 92 Some independent bottlings of Cragganmore: Murray McDavid’s bottling of a cask from 1990 at 46 vol is pale straw in colour. Orange blossom. Colour Pale amber. Connoisseurs might miss the austerity of the original – or enjoy the added layer of fruity. The palate is slightly flat. Score 90 CRAGGANMORE 1973. water brings out slightly grubby wood. sultana.6 vol is light gold in colour. 55. dry. and suggestions of weight. slightly oily. 52. balancing dryness.

Nose Fragrant. then becomes nutty. Plenty of sweet. the Craigellachie Hotel. developing a very fruity. It also has the Speyside Cooperage. Score 75 196 . and Rothes – is at the very heart of Speyside distillery country.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS CRAIGELLACHIE Producer Region address John Dewar & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside Craigellachie. Finish Orangey. warming. malty-nutty. aromatic. with its renowned whisky bar. Aberlour. Flora and Fauna. designed by the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. lightly smoky. Body Medium. fruity. After dinner. The distillery was founded in 1891 and remodelled in 1965. went for the first time to the local distillery. the Fiddich meets the Spey. Palate Starts sweet. CRAIGELLACHIE 14-year-old. and the latter is crossed by a bridge. Seville-orange character. The village of Craigellachie – between Dufftown. Here. perhaps it will rediscover itself under Dewar’s. 43 vol Colour Old gold. Banffshire. slightly syrupy. Craigellachie is pronounced “Craig-ella-ki” – the “i” is short. crushed-barley maltiness. and malty. OR ITS House style Sweet. Lightly smoky. The whisky of Craigellachie had a very low profile under the ownership of Diageo. AB38 9ST tel 01340 881212 F 2003/04 selection.

at cask strength. 60 vol Colour Pale. Pastry fresh out of the oven. Lacks complexity. Nose Very evocative. Apricots. and fragrant smokiness. Slight accent towards maltiness. Fruit pies. Fresh earthiness. Score 75 A 40 vol from the same year. nutty. Body Oily. 59. bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. bright gold. but delicious. 43 vol Colour White wine. Body Medium but rich. buttery. grass. Palate Creamy. Perfumy. Apple. Dessert apples again.2 vol Colour Bright gold. but very well balanced. Restrained dessert apples. Palate Cereal-grain oiliness. with a more peaty smokiness and the faintest suggestion of sherry. Adelphi. Starts sweet. Signatory. Quick. The forest floor. Shortbread. Score Nose 75 Other versions of Craigellachie A 1973 22-year-old Rare Malts edition. Body Firm. Wild mushrooms. Nose Sweet. Finish Soothing warmth. Smooth.CRAIGELLACHIE CRAIGELLACHIE 1982. Finish Light. clean fruitiness. nutty. Score 77 197 . Orange zest. moving to fudgey nuttiness and peanut brittle. Lightly syrupy. Fragrant. Finish Flowery. especially. 2003 Single Cask Bottling for the Craigellachie Hotel. Palate Creamy. Flavours tightly bound together. Score 78 CRAIGELLACHIE 13-year-old. Very oily. was superbly balanced. Chanterelle vol-au-vents. malty. Soapy. begins with crushed barley. Cask No 3783. Score 78 CRAIGELLACHIE 1981. Warm. but develops some fruity acidity. Almost iridescent.

at the hamlet of Carron. at the Aviemore ski resort. Aberlour. A small part of the Speyside line still runs trains for hobbyists and visitors. and later in a Cask Strength Limited Edition. 198 . Dailuaine’s whisky has long been a component of the Johnnie Walker blends. It was made available as a single malt in the Flora and Fauna series in 1991.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Dailuaine Region address Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside Carron. not far from Aberlour. It was founded in 1852. It is one of several distilleries along the Spey valley that once had its own railway halt for workers and visitors – and as a means of shipping in barley or malt and despatching the whisky. fruity. a distillery formerly in the same group. as the Speyside Way. ETWEEN THE MOUNTAIN BEN RINNES House style Firmly malty. and has been rebuilt several times since. After dinner. AB38 7RE tel 01340 872500 B and the river Spey. the Dailuaine (“Dal-oo-ayn”) distillery is hidden in a hollow. Most of the route from the mountains to the sea is now preserved for walkers. and that accurately describes the setting. The name means “green vale”. but is now preserved at Aberfeldy. fragrant. Banffshire. and Dailuaine’s own shunting locomotive has appeared there under steam.

Flora and Fauna. Nose Distinctly peaty. Violets? Score 77 Some independent bottlings of Dailuaine A 22-year-old Adelphi bottling at 55. Smooth. but with more distillery character. Body Medium to full. Sherry. ripe fruit. Body Medium to full. with barley-sugar maltiness.2 vol. long. vanilla oak cream. peppery. Very smooth. soft depth. Score 75 A 1975 Connoisseurs Choice from Gordon and MacPhail at 40 vol is malty and rich with more European oak influence: leather. Score 77 199 . and menthol. Finish Sherryish. 63 vol Colour Bright deep orange. the body is quite light and the palate has grassy notes mixed with soft creaminess. Score 77 DAILUAINE 1973. but balanced by a dry cedar or oak background. Less sherried and big than the above. Plenty of chocolate in here. Score 80 The 21-year-old (1979 distillation. Finish Oaky. sweet soft body and a palate that delivers soft vanilla fruits. Finish Fruity. perfumy. Palate Sherryish. stewed orange. Nose Lightly smoky. Surge of peat smoke. nut. earthy. Very distinctive. Oak. A heavier-bodied dram with an oozy. Oak. 43 vol Colour Emphatically reddish amber. 60. cask no 4151. 43 vol) from Cooper’s Choice has a perfumed nose akin to geranium and with water soft cooked fruits. Orange marmalade. smooth. Deep. Palate Long-lasting flavours. blackberry. dry. Palate Sherryish. A gentle giant. Body Light to medium. Firm maltiness. Bottled 1997. very warming. grilled nut fruit. Score 76 DAILUAINE 1980. Cask Strength Limited Edition. 22-year-old. Nose Sherryish but dry. smooth. Tightly combined barley-sugar sweetness and flowery dryness. has a nose of Olde English marmalade. Rare Malts.DAILUAINE DAILUAINE 16-year-old. perfumy.92 vol Colour Full gold.

its whisky appeared in the Benmore blends and vattings. Dallas Dhu 1980. There are no plans to restart production. Morayshire. HE NAME MEANS House style Silky. sometimes chocolatey. IV36 2RR tel 01309 676548 VC T “black water valley”. lush and sweet. The Dallas Dhu distillery was established in 1899. Cox s apple. Nose Some oak. flowers. who seems to have been of Scottish origin). After dinner. Score 83 200 .A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS DALLAS DHU Region Producer DCL Highlands District Speyside (Findhorn) address Forres. 40 vol Colour Gold. The distillery closed in 1983 and reopened to the public in 1988. Heavy perfumed greenhouse aromas: tomato. Despite a fire in 1939. Gordon & MacPhail. Spice. it does not appear to have changed greatly. Finish Spices. Body Round and soft. honeyish. Latterly. and as Dallas Mhor single malt. Palate Ripe fruits. but the later batches continue to appear in independent bottlings. This Dallas accommodates a hamlet rather smaller than its indirect descendant in Texas (named after US Vice-president George Mifflin Dallas. under the aegis of Scotland’s Historic Buildings and Monument Directorate.

Quite full. Body Soft and rich. Rich. pleasantly grassy and smoky. Palate Sweet. Score 81 DALLAS DHU 1978. 43 vol Colour Amber. complex. Palate Sticky toffee pudding. Fruity. Elegant and soft. Score 80 201 .7 vol Colour Bright greeny gold. Creamy in the middle. date. syrupy. 32-year-old. with a suggestion of white chocolate. Distilled 1975. Finish Powerful. Body Light. Caramelized fruits. Apricot. voluptuous. Long. Peat smoke. Finish Nutmeg.9 vol Colour Old gold. Finish Slightly chewy. Murray McDavid Mission Range. date. Textured. Score 83 Dallas Dhu 1978. Finish Light spice. Body Smooth. Palate Orange zest. Fruitcake. Score 75 DALLAS DHU 1970. Becoming more floral. treacle toffee. dried mango. Then smoky again. crème brûlée. 46 vol Colour Rich gold. Musk. dried peach. Nose Dried sweet fruits. Signatory. toffee. Coopers Choice. long. singed notes. Nose Quick hit of intense syrupy fruit. Warming. Great balance. Rare Malts. Signatory. Cinnamon. 59. light on the tongue. Ginger cookies. Chewy. Honey. Nose Soft orchard fruit. Body Silky and chewy.DALLAS DHU Dallas Dhu 1979. Score 80 DALLAS DHU 21-year-old. 46 vol Colour Old Gold to dull bronze. toffee. Finish Quite hot. 61. Palate Thick. Firm. and elegant. Nose Orange blossom. Nose Soft. juicy fruits. Buttery. Orange. Body Syrupy. Malty. Heathery. Palate Very appetizingly. Late warmth. burnt sugar. perfumy and soapy.

The management buy-out of Jim Beam’s Scottish distilleries led to the restoration of the Whyte and Mackay name. was once owned by a distinguished local family. Dalmore. The panels previously graced a shooting lodge. It is easy to imagine the finest cigars being smoked in the oak-panelled offices at Dalmore. The warehouses are by the waters of the Cromarty Firth. who created a famous name in blended Scotch. IV17 0UT 01349 882362 website www. flavourful. Latterly. He may well have celebrated with a cigar. the proprietor was Jim Beam. said to have been founded in 1839. but it is all married in sherry butts. Dalmore has an unusual still-house. There are two pairs of stills. The record-breaking sale took place at McTear’s. 202 . Morayshire.co. not long returned to Scottish ownership. the rest in sweet oloroso and amontillado. mainly first-fill. The whisky was vatted from vintages of 1868. of Kentucky. orange marmalade. the Mackenzies. it had been racked several times. About 85 per cent of the whisky is matured in bourbon casks.000. the Glasgow auction house. is one of the industry’s extroverts.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE DALMORE Region tel Whyte and MacKay Ltd Highlands District Northern Highlands address Alness. Richard Patterson. The wash stills have a conical upper chamber and the spirit stills are cooled with a water jacket – another distinctive feature. a rich whisky intended to accompany a fine Havana. when a Dalmore 62-year-old single malt was sold at auction to an anonymous bidder for just over £25. The man who makes the vattings and blendings for Whyte and Mackay. latterly in an oloroso sherry butt from Gonzalez Byass. After dinner. identical in shape but different sizes. Over the years. but this was a timely boost to the distillery.dalmoredistillery. and 1939. Records are made to be broken. One of his creations is Dalmore The Cigar Malt. 1926.000/$38. friends of James Whyte and Charles Mackay.uk Producer was established in 2002. 1878. RECORD PRICE FOR A BOTTLE OF WHISKY House style A Rich.

and soda bread. SCORE 81 203 . Body Medium. ground almonds. malt loaf. 12-year old. SCORE 80 THE DALMORE Cigar Malt. Hint of burnt sugar. Long SCORE 79 THE DALMORE “Black Isle”. Body Velvety. Nose Arousing. orange jelly beans. perfuminess. Palate Rich. Copper. with rum butter. Scores points for originality and for balance. Finish Rooty. Morello cherries. Liquorice. Silky smooth. smoky. Palate Seville oranges. Malty sweetness. rounded. 40 vol Colour An attractive amber hue. With the cigar. wood bark. Nose More obvious sherry. Finish Light. a complement rather than a contrast. 40 vol A marriage of Dalmore whiskies between ten and 20 years old. Faint smoke. light peat Even a faint. Pipe tobacco. mainly in the-mid teens. Colour Dark orange. Suggestions of black chocolate and orange creams. Lingering. dryness. heather. Palate Gradual flavour development. Grainy. Candied orange peels in mincemeat. Hard caramel toffee. Body Firm. A hint of rum butter. Nose A soft smokiness.THE DALMORE THE DALMORE 12-year-old. Apricot jam. 43 vol Colour Slightly darker and redder. Mince pies. then dryish and firm. spiciness (anise?). salty tang of the sea. Never cloying. Finish Toasty.

Curaçao orange peels. flowers. fruity. Colour Tangerine Musky. Score 81 Nose THE DALMORE 30-year-old Stillman’s Dram. at 23 years and 54. Very well combined.9 vol (cask no 5883) has a smoother start and a much more mature middle palate. Palate A distinctly finessed and elegant interpretation. 43 vol Colour Pale orange. Orange. Body Lightly creamy. Finish Light touch of citrus. Dalmore flavours. spicy. complex flavours. Palate Very sustained flavour development. Body Silky. 21-year-old. cinnamon. Salt. at 28 years old. Whiff of smoke.8 vol (cask no 595) has more fruit – albeit rather tannic apples. Very spicy. chocolate. with typically rich. Tomatoes in a hothouse. Nutmeg. but ends abruptly and rather woodily. SCORE 81 THREE BOTTLINGS FOR JAPAN A 1980. hint of smoke. Geraniums. has suggestions of pastry.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE DALMORE 1978. Score 80 A 1974. Nose Soft. at 22 years old and 60. and 57. Score 79 A 1979. SCORE 81 204 . apple pie (a little too long in the oven) and a dousing with calvados.8 vol (cask no 158). late spices. Christmas spices. 45 vol Releases under this rubric vary in age and style. perfumy. Finish Dusted pastry.

Body As sensuous as a massage. SCORE 85 THE DALMORE 62-year-old. Finish Biscuity. sap. creamy. Menthol. 40. Body Has lost some fullness with age. Palate Sweet. Finish Caramelized charred oak. oak. poured over nectarines. polished oak. with dark flavours.5 vol Colour Dark oak. Perfumy. Palate Orange. dating to 1868. Palate Orange. Surprising lack of woody astringency. A whisky of this age has more memory than muscle. Pipe tobacco. Nose Hickory smoke. Mesquite. SCORE 82 THE DALMORE 50-year-old. 52. Tawny. The big Dalmore flavours have settled down in harmonious maturity. caramelized flavours. Or perhaps apple wood. Crème brûlée.) Colour Chestnut. Mint. Body Beeswax oiliness. Edinburgh. the fruit is still discernible. There is even some sweetness. 42 vol Colour Full amber.6 vol Occasional bottlings.THE DALMORE THE DALMORE 30-year-old Special Cask Finish (Gonzalez Byass). flowering currant. Some have contained proportions of far older whiskies. Nose Astonishingly. smoke. Finish Mild. lemon pith. The enjoyment is in the pleasure of tasting history. SCORE 86 205 . Like tiramisu with lots of espresso and no vanilla sugar. (Available at the Sheraton Hotel. Very appetizing. Nose Clotted cream stirred with honey. but still some substance. Quickly moving to surprisingly fresh smokiness and oakiness.

Aperitif. It is near the upper reaches of the Spey. NE OF THE HIGHEST DISTILLERIES House style o Lightly peaty. malty sweetness.com/www. The distillery was called Strathspey when it opened in 1897.discovering-distilleries. Finish A long crescendo. heather-honey notes give way to cut-grass. Its name is Gaelic for “meeting place”. Aromatic. Score 76 206 . Body Firm. The village of the same name stands at the junction of old cattle-droving routes from the west and north down to the central Lowlands. lightly peaty. dry. long-lasting flavour development. and the Grampians to the other. slightly oily. Cut grass and heather honey. Palate Remarkably smooth. the Cairngorms.malts. Clear flavours against a very clean background. although Dalwhinnie represents the Highlands in Diageo’s Classic Malts range. at 326 metres (1073 feet). DALWHINNIE 15-year-old. Dalwhinnie has the Monadhlaith Mountains to one side. Much whisky smuggling went on along this route. Inverness-shire. which intensifies to a sudden burst of peat.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS DALwhinnie Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside address Dalwhinnie. 43 vol Colour Bright gold. Nose Very aromatic.com Region in Scotland. faintly phenolic. and the Forest of Atholl. PH19 1AB tel 01540 672219 VC website www.

Alcohol. The sherry sweetness seems. coconut cream. Finish Refreshing. Textured. Finish Crisp. toffeeish start. rooty. Lemon grass. Palate Bursts with fruitiness. Apples. 57. Score 79 DALWHINNIE 1973. More about feel than aroma. 56. appetizing moorland grass and faint smokiness. Honey. Nose Hard to get much on nose: sulphur. Colour Sunny gold to bronze. Score 79 207 . rounded. Nose Oloroso. oak. grassy. Some grassy. Scenty. Slowly developing lively. Tropical fruit. Special Release of 2003. Hint of bronze. and fresh oak. Bottled 2002.DALWHINNIE Dalwhinnie 15-year-old. Score 78 DALWHINNIE 1966. Honey-glazed biscuits. warm gold. Lemons. Palate Delicate. Orange juice on breakfast pancakes.9 vol Colour Light gold. Limited Bottling of 1500. Double Matured. 29-year-old. Nose Aromatic. Palate Very sweet. guava. Long flavour development to peatiness. smoke. Cut grass. Palate Clean. liquorice. 36-year-old. bananas? Against cereal-grain background. vanilla. cut grass. Pronounced vanilla.2 vol Colour Full gold. Finish Very long and warming. Body Smooth. Friends of the Classic Malts Bottling. As fresh as spring water. Oaky. Restrained peat.8 vol Colour Restrained. Score 70 77 DALWHINNIE 1980. by contrast. Body Light and delicate. Finish Very long. but better weight than the nose suggests. Body Firm. moorland aromas. peat. Body Very light. 43 vol Oloroso finish. Oily. Beautiful interplay and balance. to accentuate the usually light peatiness of Dalwhinnie. very firm maltiness. Lively. 47. Nose Appetizingly fruity.

It opened as the Deanston distillery in 1965–66. Deanston was bought by the blenders. Angostura. owners of the town’s Deanston distillery. It is housed in a cotton mill. with the vaulted weaving shed serving as a warehouse. and more versions of this pleasant whisky became available. House style T Light. Restorative. The Trinidadian drinks company.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS deanston Burn Stewart Distillers plc Highlands District Eastern Highlands address Deanston. designed in 1785 by Richard Arkwright and extended in 1836. Burn Stewart. nutty.com enquiries@burnstewartdistillers. With the growth of interest in single malts in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 208 . has acquired Burn Stewart. some of which may have seen service on the Spanish main. The mill was driven by the waters of the river Teith. At the time it was owned by Invergordon. That enterprise itself has an interesting history. near Doune.com Region Producer HE TOWN OF DOUNE was known in the 17th century for the manufacture of pistols. slightly oily.burnstewartdistillers. The supply of good water apparently contributed to the decision to turn the building into a distillery at a time when the whisky industry was doing very well. malty sweetness. Now the old empire strikes back. Perthshire. FK16 6AG tel 01786 841422 website www. accented toward a notably clean. The distillery prospered during the 1970s. but closed during the difficult mid-1980s.

Signatory. Slightly creamy. dry sherry. Cashew. Finish Nutty. Body Soft and gentle. cream. Slightly hard. Fino sherry. Body Soft and light. coconut. Dry oak and dry malt.DEANSTON Deanston 6-year-old. Immaturity still there. muesli. Palate Oaky. Nose Linseed oil. Body Light to medium. Score 75 Palate Deanston 1992. Body Fir and dry. very light. Bright bronze. 40 vol Markedly fuller. 46 vol Colour Rich gold. Score 67 209 . In character. dry oak. basil. Colour Light gold. clean juicy malt. Body Light. Slight bitter note. Palate Cereal grain. slightly nutty. cereal grain. Nose Sweet. Cashew nut. 43 vol Colour Copper. Finish Nutty. Limited Edition Decanter. Nose Linseed oil. Finish Dry. Again. smooth. 40 vol Mainly for the French market. Colour Score 71 Deanston 21-year-old. grass. clotted cream. Score 70 Palate Finish DEANSTON 12-year-old. more emphatically nutty. Reminiscent of a lightly nutty. Nose Shows good maturity. 40 vol Very pale. Finish Green grape. grass. box tree. soothing. Palate Cereal-like with a soft mid-palate and a malty note. drying in finish. appetizing. greeny gold. strawberry. light orange notes. estery. less of a Highland malt than a very good Lowlander. spicy. Colour Score 70 DEANSTON 17-year-old. short. Privet. becoming very dry. Nose Lightly perfumed. Malty. barley sugar. but a touch of nuttiness. fruitcake.

but also from a distillery by that name that operated in nearby Kingussie between 1895 and 1910. PH21 1HS tel 01540 661060 website www. rich. cookies. Grain mustard. A bit abrupt. and caramel. soft. Nose Flowery. Christie’s distillery is at Drumguish. Finish Lightly dry. dry fruitiness. lightly peaty. Speyside. Passion fruit. under the name Glentromie. takes its name not only from its location. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Nose Pronounced oily nuttiness. having made its first spirit in 1991. and now beginning to develop a portfolio of more mature whiskies. Body Medium. Sweet.speysidedistillers. Ltd Highlands District Speyside address Tromie Mills.uk VC By appointment Region Producer O in Scotland. Kingussie. long Score 75 210 . George Christie. Glentromie. His company. NE OF THE NEWEST DISTILLERIES House style Oily. Jasmine. gabled stone building intentionally looks a hundred years old. where the tiny river Tromie flows into the highest reaches of the Spey. One of his earlier essays was a vatted malt. Some cream toffee.co. Cookies. popular in the United States. buttery. Leafy. Body Very light and soft. Its opening was the realization of a dream for its owner. The handsome. Score 73 Palate SPEYSIDE 10-year-old. Aperitif. Toasted marshmallows. DRUMGUISH No Age Statement. Palate Cashew nuts and a sweetish dried-grass note that recalls great Scotch whiskies of the past. who had planned it for three or four decades. Finish Faintly kirsch-like. nutty.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Drumguish Speyside Distillers Co. his progress on the project ebbing and flowing with the fortunes of the industry. 43 vol Colour Golden satin.

A ninth. the biggest selling blend in the UK. They now comprise one of Diageo’s larger distilleries. Body Lightly syrupy. James Duff. Banffshire. hilly little town of stone buildings in 1817.DUFFTOWN dufftown Region Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside (Dufftown) address Dufftown. were both owned by Bell’s until that company was acquired by United Distillers. but they have since sprouted a pagoda. malty. Finish Lingers. AB55 4BR tel 01340 822100 website www. its erstwhile next-door neighbour. House style Aromatic. has recently been bulldozed. but very light. DUFFTOWN 15-year-old. now Diageo. a further two survive as buildings but are highly unlikely ever to operate again. There are six active malt distilleries in the town. Palate Malty. on the dry side. Dufftown’s stone-built premises were a meal mill until 1896. Pittyvaich. This distillery and Pittyvaich. and were twice expanded in the 1970s. score 71 211 . Dufftown lies at the confluence of the rivers Fiddich and Dullan on their way to the Spey. Nose Assertively aromatic.com T HE EARL OF FIFE. becoming flowery. Only one of the distilleries appropriates Dufftown as its name. Flora and Fauna. dry. The town’s name is pronounced “duff-ton”. Aperitif. but most of its output goes into Bell’s. laid out this handsome.malts. 43 vol colour Pale golden. Keith.

Refill Sherry. Slightly burnt and astringent. Very honeyish. Body Creamy. Lipstick. Nose Honey. Colour White wine. Body Medium. 20-year-old. Bottled 1997.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Palate DUFFTOWN 1979. Finish Very gingery. honey. SCORE 72 212 . SCORE 74 A version distilled and bottled in those years. at 57. and a very fruity palate. firm. Flapjacks. a syrupy body. Finish Ginger cookies. toast. Toasty and grainy.8 vol Colour Vinho verde. Rare Malts. oily. Score 72 Dufftown 1976. Honeydew melon. firm.1 vol. “leafy bonfires” smokiness. finishing with dry malt and lots of sappy oak. Nose Heather honey. but with more sherry. Butter. Cask Strength. Sesame-seed bagels. oranges. Waxy. 46 vol Colour Full amber. DUFFTOWN 1975. Palate Remarkably fudgey. orange. Fudge. Nose Toast. fruity. Palate Lively. Marmaladey sherry. Shortbread. and cinnamon. 54. 21-year-old. firm. perfumy. dark orange colour. had an attractive. Sweetish smokiness. Cask Strength. from Cadenhead. Body Medium. Sweet. Glace cherries. Murray McDavid. Treacle toffee. Rare Malts Tasted as a work in progress. Finish Smoky. a big aroma of oak.

uk Region Producer VC T was returned to Scottish – and independent – ownership in 2002. Creamy. The creation of a new range is still in its early stages.co. It is near the inland resort of Pitlochry.fsbusiness. 213 . Aberlour. with the assistance of Iain Henderson. House style HE COUNTRY’S SMALLEST DISTILLERY Spicy.EDRADOUR Edradour Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co. it had for some years been a Scottish outpost of Pernod Ricard. The distillery. the function of which is easy to understand – a bonus for the visitor. renowned manager of Laphroaig until his reluctant retirement.uk email info@edradour. Ltd Highlands District Eastern Highlands address Pitlochry. Edradour is a working commercial distillery on a farmhouse scale. is secreted by the hills. It was sold to Andrew Symington. With the acquisition of Chivas Brothers’ ten distilleries. Perthshire.co. although the present distillery is believed to have been founded in 1837. the French found their hands full. They had looked after Edradour well. PH16 5JP tel 01796 472095 website www. With the much bigger Speyside distillery. at the hamlet of Balnauld.edradour. but such a small distillery might benefit from ownership by an individual. The change in the ownership of Edradour was greeted with widespread goodwill. Minty. After dinner. open equipment. the enterprising founder of the independent bottler Signatory. and within easy reach of Edinburgh and Glasgow. above Pitlochry. using very old. Edradour likes to trace its history back to the beginning of legal whisky production in the Highlands in 1825.

and peat. Smoky. SCORE 81 Colour EDRADOUR 1992. lively. “Straight from the Cask”. Hot. Vanilla. 11-year-old. Almonds. Nose Garden mint. Finish Barbecue. with pink highlights. Palate Lovely balance of creaminess and toasty dryness. the brightest of the flight. SCORE 81 214 . Nutty. Cherry blossom. SCORE 81 EDRADOUR 1976. Body Soft. Palate Very creamy-tasting. Peppermint. Body Decidedly creamy. Toffee. Soothing. 60. smooth. Vegetal.2 vol Colour Mahogany. The embers of a fire. 58 vol Colour Dark amber. Body Fudgey creaminess. Paradoxically. Nose Minty. Charcoal. grass. Nose Applewood. 40 vol colour Dark gold to pale amber. Palate Syrupy. Medicinal. score 79 EDRADOUR 1991. Finish Very spicy ginger marmalade and burnt toast. Finish Gentle. Palate Lots of sherry. Finish Cloves. Pepper. 54 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. Leafy. Finish Late. Firm. SCORE 80 EDRADOUR Cask Strength. Palate Creamy. Nose Perfumy.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS EDRADOUR 10-year-old. Raisins. Body Syrupy. Unchillfiltered. Nose Leafy. Signatory Cask Strength Series. 48 vol Bright gold. spiciness. Slightly buttery. Body On the thin side.

near Laurencekirk. and that date is now incorporated in the names of the whiskies. Distant sherry note. Recent bottlings seem to have more (positive) wood extract. Fettercairn. Palate Clean and crisp. palate. wet earth. House style HE ESTATE OF THE GLADSTONE FAMILY. Tasted as a work in progress. Nose Fresh. cream-painted distillery is amid farmers’ fields on the edge of the village of attractive Georgian cottages from which it takes its name. slight bitterness. Soft spiciness. This new version will probably emerge with a similar score. accommodates Old Fettercairn. spicy. Scottish tablet. This pretty. Body Smooth and light. AB30 1YE tel 01561 340244 VC Region Producer T who provided Queen Victoria with a famous Prime Minister. Lightly earthy. Finish Dry. it seemed slightly paler in colour. Kincardineshire. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Resiny. nutty. nutty. A malt called Fettercairn 1824. Toffee notes. Old Fettercairn 10-year-old. Easy drinking or aperitif. with a Riesling aroma and a syrupy. score 77 215 . Honey. Freshly cut wood.FETTERCAIRN Fettercairn Whyte and Mackay Ltd Highlands District Eastern Highlands address Distillery Road. The distillery was founded in 1824. is being introduced to replace the 10year-old below. at 12 years old.

Nose Sherry. Beeswax. Colour Deep gold. warm.3 vol Mainly for Japan. Cask No 1966. Colour Bright gold. SCORE 77 Old Fettercairn 1966. Body Light to medium. Colour SCORE 79 216 . Delicate fudgey touch. Touch of burnt wood. with an oaky background. 54. Nose Creamy sherry. the promise of the aroma is not fulfilled. Body Medium. then quickly fading away. Body Light. shimmering gold. Body Medium. ginger. raisins. Then the fruit and oak elegantly combine. Dry hazelnut. Toffee. Hint of peat. Elegant sweetness. The palate seems sweetly mellow and soft. peppery. Rich fruit. vanilla. 30-year-old. Finish Dry. Soft spices in aftertaste. Stillman’s Dram. 49. Cask No 2895. Colour Bright.6 vol Mainly for Japan. SCORE 79 Old Fettercairn 1973. warm and tingling. Sultanas. Cinnamon. 45 vol This replaces the 26-year-old Stillman’s Dram. gently spicy.6 vol Autumn gold (or blazing gold ?). lingering. Nose Superb.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Old Fettercairn 30-year-old. Stewed apples. then an outburst of spices. Cedary. Flowery. Spices. and lingering. Finish Dry. almost tangy . silky. Palate At first. Finish Dry. dried apricots. Toffeeish. but to the point of seeming tired. Finish Warm. Toasted almonds. Palate Sherry sweetness. 53. silky. SCORE 78 Old Fettercairn 1972. Palate Assertively spicy (fresh ginger). Palate Smooth and surprisingly fresh. Opulent sherry. Nose Malty and fruity. Cedary. 29-year-old.

or Mhor). old names applied to Scotland. Aperitif. More. Fruity. There is still whisky. The Caley. the sensuous pleasure. 217 . the Caledonian Canal. nutty. the dream of James Watt and Thomas Telford. but for how long? House style Light. The canal links the North Sea with the Atlantic by joining Loch Ness with a series of further lochs in the Great Glen (also known in parts as Glen Albyn or Glen Mor. a distillery for 140 years. Before the distillery. There is an unconnected Glen Albyn pub in the centre of Inverness. The site is alongside one of Scotland’s great feats of engineering. founded by a Provost (Mayor) of the city (generally regarded as the capital of the Highlands). dry. The shopping strip from nowhere (or everywhere?) has not yet buried the individuality.GLEN ALBYN glEn albyn DCL Speyside (Inverness) site of former distillery Telford Street. There is still a small pub. Albyn is a variation on Albion or Alba. IV3 5LD Region Producer Highlands District A COMPUTER SUPERSTORE AND a home-improvement store now stand on the site in Inverness once occupied by Glen Albyn. Inverness-shire. and the Scottish pride afforded by a local distillery. Inverness. there was a brewery on the site. especially the Highlands.

Linen. nutty. Distilled 1975.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLEN ALBYN 26-year-old. Cloves. Fresh hazelnuts. Coopers Choice. Candied chestnut. Burnt wood. The Old Malt Cask. A touch of harshness. Dried fruit. Palate Warm and fizzy. Gordon & MacPhail. Beautifully balanced. Earthy (wet soil after rain). Nose Very aromatic. Nose Sherry. Hint of cold smoke. Signatory. Finish Dry. Briefly syrupy. 40 vol Colour Lemony gold. Body Light. Palate Smooth and soft. Nose Fragrant. Body Light to medium. Douglas Laing. Palate A warm roundness. Score 70 Glen Albyn 1974. Finish Bitter. Quite explosive. oaky. Score 71 218 . herbal. Nose Citrusy. Soapy. Malty. Slippery. Palate Cedary. 47 vol Colour Amber. Body Light. Suede Body Light but firm. Finish Dry. Nose Sherry. Finish Soft and gentle but elusive. 46 vol Colour Deep amber. 54. Creamy fudge. Dry. Score 70 Glen Albyn 34 year-old. Finish Soft. Score 70 Glen Albyn 1974. Rare Malts. Almond milk. Restrained nuttiness. Slightly musty. Open spiciness. Seems to want a cigar. Body Light. Creamy maltiness. silky. elegant. 58 vol Colour Lemony gold. and almondy. Biting spices. Dry hay. Brimstone. quite lingering. slightly astringent. Beeswax.8 vol Colour Full primrose. Tangy. Palate Lightly buttery. Hint of cherry. Score 74 Glen Albyn 1974. 28 year-old. Smooth.

Glen Deveron will be accorded a higher profile. is part of Bacardi. now the principal product. this is the western edge of Speyside. They still do. through the international Martini & Rossi group. Glen Deveron was built during the optimistic 1960s. Its clean. 219 . The distillery’s output has largely gone into the Lawson blends. Banff. (Both the distillery and its whiskies are sometimes known by the name Macduff. Malty. Banffshire. Restorative or after dinner. At a stretch. though not obviously a malt distillery. which also owns Dewars. when distillers could not keep up with demand. House style A WELL-KEPT. uncluttered interior has in general been mirrored in the character of its whiskies. but a newish 10-year-old. The distillery is at the point where the glen of the Deveron reaches the sea. too. Not only is it a fringe location geographically – Glen Deveron was for years somewhat lonely as the sole distillery of the William Lawson company.) On the other side of the river is the town of Banff. have been clean and uncluttered – whiskies that tasted of malt. Perhaps when Bacardi eventually settles into the whisky business. This distillery has a more workaday appearance than some of the architectural landmarks built by the whisky industry around that time. They. has a strong wood influence too. Sweet limes in older versions. at the old fishing town and former spa of Macduff. AB45 3JT tel 01261 812612 Producer smart premises that at first sight clearly accommodates some kind of agricultural industry. Now Lawson.GLEN D E V E RO N GLEN DEVERON Region address John Dewar & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Deveron) Macduff Distillery.

Cedar-like. Surprisingly assertive. A nutty touch. 1992. Nose Fragrant and lively. score 72 Glen Deveron 12-year-old. pleasantly warm. Nose Faint hints of sherry. SCORE 75 A very malty 15-year-old. Citrusy. Fig toffee. but notably smooth. 40 vol Colour Greeny gold. Colour Gold. Restrained sherry notes.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glen Deveron 10-year-old. Fresh lime juice. Rich. Notably smooth. sweet. Palate Mellow. Lemony Finish Crisp. lime-like freshness. Hint of honey. 40. fresh maltiness. Butterscotch. 40 vol This version is now very hard to find. Finish Malty dryness. Nose Freshly cut wood. delicious maltiness. very clean. Quick but pleasantly warming. Malty and citrusy. Body Light to medium. Body Dense. Condensed milk. SCORE 74 220 . Body Smoothly flowing. Cinder toffee. 40 vol Colour Deep gold. Palate Full. Sweet barley sugar. Body Light to medium. Duncan Taylor. Nose Complex.3 vol Colour Bright. greeny gold. Score 76 Independent bottlings (as Macduff) Palate Macduff 1988. Thick yogurt. Gordon & MacPhail. Fulfilling maltiness. Finish Mellow. is also hard to find. with a good balance of oak. SCORE 73 Macduff 1969. soothing. Palate Malted milk. Slightly sour. velvety. Finish Lingering but in a whispering tone. Toffee.

Restorative or after dinner. but without an age statement. There had previously been a version at around the same level of maturity. there are no fewer than eight distilleries within a few miles.GLEN ELGIN Glen Elgin Region address Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside (Lossie) Longmorn. while the previous version was more winey. Where the River Lossie approaches the town of Elgin. 221 . at 12 years old. The newer expression seems more flowery and complex. Elgin. and reflects the classic DCL still-house design of the period. is a welcome response to those who have urged that this classic Speyside whisky be more readily available as a single. IV30 3SL tel 01343 862000 “HIDDEN MALTS” BOTTLING. Elgin is also worth a visit for Gordon & MacPhail’s whisky shop as well as 13th-century cathedral ruins. This had been marketed mainly in Japan. The Glen Elgin distillery is very visible on one of the main roads into the town whose name it bears. The distillery itself has never been hidden. Although it is just over a hundred years old. House style A Honey and tangerines. Morayshire. but it was for some years heavily branded with the name White Horse. in recognition of its contribution to that blend. its façade dates from 1964.

Body Soft. Long and creamy. Honeyed. Crunchy. Body Light but firm. Toasted nuts. oaky notes. Body Medium. A touch of cinnamon. 43 vol Colour Deep gold. A lovely whisky. 40 vol Colour Deep old gold. Rich sweetness. Cereal grain. Finish Gently drying. Clean. velvety. Delicate smokiness. with spicy. Crème brûlée. Intense heather honey. Oak and fruit elegantly mingled. Candied orange. Hint of bitter chocolate. Nose Distinctively sherry. A hint of Seville orange. Cedary. Score 77 222 . Distilled 1971. Exotic wood. Colour Pale amber. Score 77 Glen Elgin Centenary. Palate Lusciously smooth. Palate Warm honey. Heather honey. Palate Fresh and crisp. Seductive. 42. Nose Fragrant. Beautifully rounded. Special Release 2003. flowery.3 vol Colour Full gold. Gordon & MacPhail. A touch of mandarin. 19-year-old. pinkish tinge. and gingery. Pears poached in spices. Finish Fragrant. Finish Dry but rich and long. Nose Fruity and flowery. Hidden Malts. Score 81 Glen Elgin 1968. cedary. Finish Dry and spicy. Shortbread. Hint of coffee beans. Body Textured. 60 vol Bottle 297 of 750 to commemorate the first distillation on 1 May 1900. tongue-coating. rich. Nose Flowery heather honey.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glen Elgin 12 year-old. Score 82 Palate GLEN ELGIN 32-year-old. Seville orange. sweet. Elegant.

retail: £425/$680 and £899/$1500 respectively. The collectibility of these bottles is indicated by the asking price. The warehouses were retained. Airdrie. Lanarkshire. and a management buyout created Inver House (see p. in former paper mills. under the names Glen Flagler and Killyloch. but was hit by one of the industry’s cyclical downturns.inverhouse. 223 . ML6 8PL website www. SECOND MANIFESTATION House style Glen Flagler is a spicy. In the 1990s.com Region Producer A of these ghostly spirits has occurred in the new millennium. in different sets of stills – and a grain whisky called Garnheath in a third – at a complex at Moffat. Both it and Killyloch later manifested themselves as vatted malts. the independent bottler Signatory located very small stocks of both malts. 76). and issued them as singles. These were some of the shortest lived distilleries in the history of Scotch whisky. perfumy restorative or aperitif – or. with dessert. then owned by Publicker. Killyloch ceased production in the early 1970s. but do ghosts respect such sanctions? Two malt whiskies were produced.GLEN FLAGLER GLEN FLAGLER Inver House Distillers Ltd Lowlands District Central Lowlands address Towers Road. there were official bottlings of both. The modern complex.com email enquiries@inverhouse. These were from the last five casks of Glen Flagler (yielding 931 bottles) held by Inver House and the last six casks of Killyloch (371 bottles). Glen Flagler was briefly marketed as a single malt. was intended to support the Inver House blends. In 2003. They were reviewed in the fourth edition of this book. now Thai-owned. the 1973 edition. This is officially their last appearance. with cheese? Killyloch is grainier and sweeter. and the distilleries were dismantled. Both have Lowland characters. Glen Flagler and Garnheath in the mid-1980s. though these are more obvious in Killyloch. Moffat. from 1965. when they seemed to have been lost for ever. near Airdrie. of Philadelphia.

Linseed. Sourness remarkably like fresh lemon juice. 40 vol Colour Lemony yellow. SCORE 70 GLEN FLAGLER 24-year-old. Palate Oily. Nose Pronounced aroma of new leather. warming. Body Light. Bottled 2003. 46 vol Colour Old gold. Finish Dry. Palate Lemony. Score 70 KILLYLOCH 1967. peaty. Palate Lemon sweets. Bottled 1997. Floral. Crisp. Bottled 2003. muscular. SCORE 68 224 . oily. pepperiness. Nose Grassy. firm.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLEN FLAGLER 1973. Strong. Soapy dryness. Young leather. Finish Dry. Sherbet. slippery. Nose Very aromatic. Body Light but smooth. Finish Spicy dryness. Refreshing. Distilled 1972. Smoked cheese. 52 vol Colour Bright yellow. creamy. Body Medium. Late. Drier and more intense than the earlier bottling. Sweet vanilla. A lamented Lowlander. Sharper and less creamy than the earlier bottling.

They have thus far not materialized. decorated with a clock that might grace a municipal building. there is the question of peat. 225 . Finally. faces on to the small town of Old Meldrum. The building’s stonework. fragrant. The proprietors have highlighted traditional aspects of both their other distilleries. but distillation restarted in 1997.com Region Producer would reopen its maltings were kindled when the distillery was refurbished five or six years ago. spicy. was relatively heavyhanded with the peat. OPES THAT GLENGARIOCH House style H Lightly peaty. Production stopped in 1995. trained on Islay. on the road from Aberdeen to Banff. Then there is location. First. When the distillery was acquired by its present owners. there is the distillery’s antiquity. in 1970. Aperitif in younger ages.glengarioch. AB51 0ES tel 01651 873450 website www. their maltster.GLEN GARIOCH Glen garioch Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd Highlands District Eastern Highlands address Old Meldrum. Aberdeenshire. and have a good story to tell at Glen Garioch. The glen grows some of Scotland’s finest barley – and here is one of the few distilleries with its own malting floors. This makes it Scotland’s oldest licence holder. Digestif when older. An announcement in The Aberdeen Journal in 1785 refers to a licensed distillery on the same site. but should not be abandoned. flowery. Inverurie. The result was a whisky with the “oldfashioned”. smoky flavour that the Highland/Speyside region had largely forgotten. The revival of smoky Highlander could be popular at a time when the island whiskies seem to have seized the initiative.

nutty. buttery. Nose Aromatic and citric. 40 vol (Mainly for Asian markets. 40 vol colour Gold. Palate Cereal with a creamy note playing off the firm maltiness. malty. Attractive. 40 vol Colour Full gold.) Colour Bronze. New carpets. mandarin zest. but very clean. honey. and heather. hint of peat. leafy peatiness. Malty. 40 vol Colour Gold. Body Medium. SCORE 76 Glen Garioch 10-year-old. grass. Finish Short but refreshing. Lively summer fruits. Simple but charming. Nose Fragrant. Finish Late surge of ginger. Body Light Palate Fresh and direct. Drier with water. Palate Interlocked heather-honey sweetness and peat-smoky dryness. Nose Autumn leaves. lively flavours. Fresh. bran. Lemon icing. Finish Nutty. SCORE 75 Palate GLEN GARIOCH 8-year-old. Quick and warming. SCORE 75 GLEN GARIOCH 12 year-old. Short. Score 77 226 . Then flapjack. Body Rounded but crisp. Touch of dry oloroso? Body Medium. firm. smooth.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Nose Glen Garioch Highland Tradition. tinned peach. Malty start. Finish Echoes of both elements.

raisins. flowery. Full of character. gingery cake. Score 79 Nose Glen Garioch 12-year-old. and sherry than earlier versions at this age. liquorice-like. Score 75 GLEN GARIOCH 21-year-old. A superb Highland malt. Finish Hay loft. perfumy smokiness. Butter. Body Medium. leafy. Body Medium. but smooth. warming. rooty notes through heathery. Palate Very gradual development from malty. treacly. maltings. Palate Bran provides a crisp frame. peaty. Nutty. Score 81 227 . 40 vol Special bottling for National Trust of Scotland. smoky. juicy oak. Dried fruits with some richness. Currants.GLEN GARIOCH GLEN GARIOCH 15-year-old. 43 vol Colour Full gold. Colour Rich gold Tea bread. Finish Big and very smoky. Nose Leathery. Colour Burnished amber. Palate Sweet. 43 vol The most recent bottlings have more peat. spicy. oak. Very aromatic. Lots of lingering toffee and fruit. Finish Very long. Lunchtime. oily smoke. phenolic. Chocolate. some sweetness. Flowering currant. Body Medium to full. Nose Good whiff of earthy peat. rich.

250 Bottles Only. Score 80 GLEN GARIOCH 27-year-old. Body Rich and rounded. boot polish. Selected Cask Vatting. still with a hint of phenol. black banana. Body Medium. floral. Body Surprisingly rich. clean. oloroso. Palate Rich. Treacle toffee. sweet. Score 80 Glen Garioch 1986. Colour Bright amber. 49. The lavender perfume unbalances things. gentle. Nose Fresh.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLEN GARIOCH 18-year-old. 59.6 vol This bottling is now hard to find. sweet perfumed and resinous. Selected Cask Vatting. Palate Interplay of malty sweetness and dryness. Finish Lightly smoky. Individual Cask Bottling. Clove.4 vol Colour Deep. Palate Rich. 54. Nose Fig roll. fragrant. syrupy maltiness. Rooty dryness.4 vol Colour Reddish. Finish Spicy. Gingery spiciness. With water an artificial lavender note. Finish Very long. Peat-tinged. Pepper and earthy saltiness. warm gold. Cask No 3065. Score 70 228 . Nose Softly peaty. Extremely late echo of phenolic peat. Very warming.

exclusive to The Whisky Exchange. Distilled April 1968. 43 vol Distilled in 1961. Almost menthol-like. treacle toffee in the palate and liquorice in the finish. Colour Very dark orange to chestnut. Matured in first-fill American oak. Straw coloured with a nose as soft as American cream soda. A 16-year-old single cask no 1585. Hogshead. at 56. and when the stills were heated by coal rather than steam. 56. warming. Remarkably gentle. at 51. has an aroma reminiscent of Darjeeling tea. Individual Cask Bottling. Some tasters have found flavours reminiscent of starfruit. Palate Freshly soft and clean.6 vol Strictly for the lover of long-matured. developing late mint notes. developing to a leafier. light and soft with clover honey sweetening the maltiness. Nose Charred oak. Score 81 GLEN GARIOCH 200th Anniversary Limited Edition. deep gold. oaky whiskies. Body Medium. Finish Extraordinarily long. Cask No 626.6 vol. against a lightly syrupy malt background. Phenol. it develops an attractive floral quality with water. Finish Long. Dryish. firm.9 vol. when Glen Garioch was scarcely peated. rounded. Body Big. Cough sweets. Score 81 Independent bottlings Cadenhead bottles an 11-year-old. distilled 1990.GLEN GARIOCH GLEN GARIOCH 29-year-old. Extra-strong peppermints. Earthy saltiness again. Very drying on the tongue. Score 80 229 . Score 76. Colour Bright. Palate Black-treacle toffee. The palate is summery. garden-mint note. Dryish hints of vanilla pod. Nose Astonishingly fresh for a whisky of such age. firm. minty. Remarkably minty.

AB38 7BS tel 01340 832118 VC A and a Victorian classic in Scotland. where it has been marketed at five years. which is the principal Glen Grant in Britain. Glen Grant itself remains among the world’s big-selling whiskies. Older vintages can still be found bearing in small type the name of bottlers Gordon & MacPhail. For the greater part of its history. with sherry age. Glen Grant was the lone single malt in many a bar from Glasgow to Genoa in the days when this form of whisky was scarcely known outside the Highlands. played a big part in bringing railways to the area. contains malt less than 10 years old. The distillery. after dinner. and they in turn distributed his product. the enterprise has been owned by Chivas. with notes of hazelnut.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glen grant Region address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Rothes) Rothes. The turreted and gabled offices in the “Scottish baronial” style. House style CHIC SUCCESS IN ITALY. are set around a small courtyard. The whisky has long been a contributor to Chivas Regal. especially in the important Italian market. and created a garden in the glen behind the distillery. and is highly regarded by most blenders. brought plants from his travels in India and Africa. In younger ages. The version with no age statement. Herbal. an aperitif. but much of its volume is in the younger ages. founded in 1840 by John and James Grant. the garden was restored and is open to visitors. a military major. Since 1977. Much the same classic label is now used under the name Glen Grant Distillery. In 1995. James Grant. Glen Grant has won its renown as a single malt in versions bottled by merchants. Morayshire. quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its whisky. who was a prominent local politician. 230 . and until the last couple of decades. and the distillery. James Grant’s son.

becoming soft and nutty. Score 80 231 . Nose Light. slightly sticky. Finish Herbal. Palate Lightly sweet start. Body Light. 40 vol colour Very pale. spirity. white wine. score 65 GLEN GRANT No Age Statement. soft and nutty. Nose Some sherry. dry. Pear brandy. 40 vol Colour Medium amber. with no obvious intervention of sherry. but much softer. nutty. flowery. Body Light but firm. quick. Score 76 GLEN GRANT 15-year-old. Score 74 GLEN GRANT 10-year-old. Palate Dry. Palate Spirity. 43 vol Colour Full gold.GLEN GRANT GLEN GRANT 5-year-old. Finish Fruity. slightly astringent at first. Nose Still dry. Nose Fruity. Body Light to medium. faintly spirity. Palate Sherryish. Gordon & MacPhail. quickly becoming nutty and very dry. Body Light to medium. Finish Mellow. with herbal notes. with some sweetness. 40 vol Colour Gold. dry fruitiness. warming. Finish Very dry. almost resiny.

Colour Full amber red. flowery. Finish Deep. Gordon & MacPhail. finally the nutty Glen Grant dryness. with the sherry coming out on top. Score 81 GLEN GRANT 25-year-old. peaty. soft. Some equally durable Glen Grants slumber among the 7000 casks in the warehouse of the Urquhart’s little shop.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLEN GRANT 21-year-old. and appreciate the subtlety and development.. 232 . A robust version. Each is more than 50 years old. Score 81 Good to go. then malt and grassy-peaty notes. Palate Sherryish sweetness at first. On the facing page is a trio that got away . Nose Lots of sherry. Gordon & MacPhail. firm.. Gordon & MacPhail. 40 vol Take it slowly. Nose Lots of sherry. flowery. 40 vol Not so much chess as wrist wrestling. Body Medium. went on the bottle. Colour Dark. at 50-plus The Grants of Rothes and the Urquharts of Elgin were both Victorian entrepreneurs in the durable Scottish mould. Body Medium. Finish Lingering. Palate Dry oloroso character at first. A lot of depth. then nutty dryness.

Herbal. black tobacco. Body Delicate. and gentle. 40 vol Colour Gold with copper glints. stewed fruit. green fern. sandalwood. Palate Ethereal. Nose Chicory coffee. Score 86 Glen Grant 1953. Complex slightly faded. Nose Gentle. smoky. Bitter. tannic. Nose Very perfumed. Oak. beechnut. 45 vol Colour Mahogany with dull yellow/green rim. Nutmeg. Body Soft. Score 73 233 . rounded. bitter chocolate. Old. Still sweet. chestnut paste. Score 83 Palate Glen Grant 1952. walnut. Finish Smoke. Gordon & MacPhail. Body Tight and firm. Gordon & MacPhail.GLEN GRANT Glen Grant 1950. and fragrant. Autumn bonfires. 40 vol Colour Gold. Finish Espresso. Rooty. Heather. a lacy texture. nutty. Violet. rhubarb. Gordon & MacPhail. Soft smoke in background. acorn. Palate Dry. a rich complex body. Very dry. sweet. light smoke. nuts. lanolin. Finish Lightly smoky. resin.

It was one of the first of a new generation of malt distilleries at that time. 43 vol colour Solid gold. Some 1960s’ distillates were bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in the 1980s. Cedar. Finish Very late. made its debut in 1993–94. rooty. Keith. tart. Banffshire. AB55 3BS next door to one another in the town of Keith. One simply takes the name of the district. which was built on the site of a corn mill in 1957–60. Palate Sweet. Ginger. Lemon grass. Body Medium. the other is Glen Keith. chewy. A less chewy official bottling. The branding on the building has the feel of a late 1950s time warp. fruity tartness. Nose GLEN KEITH 10-year-old. The whisky is now simply identified as being 10 years old. Before dinner. Flower petals. HIVAS OWNS TWO DISTILLERIES House style C Gingery. Rooty. Score 73 234 . and was intended as a showpiece for a blend called Passport. on the River Isla. and pioneered the use of computers in the industry. initially with a 1983 vintage date. Oak.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glen keith Region address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Strathisla) Station Road. ginger cake. Strathisla. Glen Keith had the first gas-fired still in Scotland.

GLEN MHOR Glen mhor Producer DCL Highlands District Speyside (Inverness) site of former distillery Telford Street. and pioneering whisky writer. Glen Mhor could be found as a single malt. SCORE 78 235 . Even in Gunn’s day. Nose Surprisingly fresh. 61 vol Colour Shimmery old gold. The distillery. Inverness-shire. “Glen Vawr”. Finish Distinctly leafy and grassy. minty. Body Lightly syrupy. Distilled 1979. novelist. Quite sweet. Meringue on a shortbread base. House style Aromatic. and casks still find their way into independent bottlings. 22-year-old. Brian Townsend writes that Gunn was inspired by Glen Mhor to let slip his observation that “until a man has had the luck to chance upon a perfectly matured malt. Bottled 2001. treacly. In his book. Scotch Missed. built in 1892 in Inverness and demolished in 1986. Rose-water. sherbet. Neil Gunn. Rare Malts. Inverness. to rhyme with “law”. Texture reminiscent of whipped cream. was one of several at which the poet. worked as an exciseman. IV3 5LU Region P URISTS PRONOUNCE IT the Gaelic way. and herbal. he does not really know what whisky is”. With dessert or after dinner. GLEN MHOR.

Body Syrupy but gritty (like a golden. Spicy warmth. Nose Soft liquorice. Distilled 1976. Developing to lemon grass. madeira. Nose Light lipstick. lemon character. perfumy. Lime. Waxy. 66. Mint imperials. Light oak. Gordon & MacPhail. Finish Sherbety. Fruit gums. Cadenhead.9 vol Colour Primrose. Body Light but smooth. Finish Sugar. Signatory. Warming. Finish Limes. Then a lemon-pith dryness. and oily. SCORE 77 GLEN MHOR Vintage 1977. Wins points for balance. Distilled 1976. “Cask” Series. 43 vol Colour Greeny gold.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS some independent bottlings GLEN MHOR 1979. Body Light to medium. Hessian. especially in that late dryness. Finish Winey acidity. palate Liquorice. Spicy. Cask No 1546.7 vol Colour Deep gold to peach. SCORE 74 GLEN MHOR 21-year-old. sweet molasses). Hart Brothers. Quite sweet. Strong peppermint sweets. Rooty. SCORE 73 236 . Chilli. Warming. SCORE 72 GLEN MHOR 20-year-old. Nose Fruit gums. treacle toffee. Flowery. Body Rich. Palate Sugary. Syrupy. Toast. 43 vol Colour Pale greeny gold. Nose Liquorice. 57. Lemon jelly. Lemon. Palate Liquorice. becoming drier. Grassy. Lemony. Lemony. Digestif. Palate Sugary. Long.

HE GRAPEY NOTE House style Grassy. seemed to be aimed at ladies who lunch. which pioneered the notion of “wine” finishes but with reds. most recently Vallée du Rhône. Morayshire.glenmoray. It preceded the distillery’s enthusiasm for wine finishes. Elgin. but have never enjoyed great glamour.GLEN M O R AY Glen Moray Glenmorangie plc Highlands District Speyside (Lossie) address Bruceland Road. Glen Moray was converted into a distillery in 1897. Aperitif. Glen Moray shares owners with the more northerly Glenmorangie distillery. The use of whites was an innovation in the industry. port. Its whiskies are admired. The two distilleries’ similar names pre-date their common ownership. and madeira. The smartly kept distillery is in boggy land near the river Lossie.co. Now they sport a change of orientation: skirts instead of kilts – the distillery previously favoured gift tins decorated with the liveries of Highland regiments. 237 . and extended in 1958. with barley notes.com email tdavidson@glenmorangieplc. The earlier Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc finishes. IV30 1YE tel 01343 542577 website www. launched in 1999. just outside Elgin. acquired by its present owners in the 1920s. It is a second coincidence that both were formerly breweries.uk Region Producer T that some devotees find in Glen Moray is a house characteristic.

very light. Late. Colour Very pale gold. scented. Body Very light. Hay. Lightly creamy. No Age Statement. Palate Very light indeed. textured. peachy fruitiness. Very light hint of the sea. Gin-like. Nose Pears. Fresh oak. Sweet. Body Very soft. 40 vol Six to ten years in bourbon casks. Soothing warmth. 40 vol Colour Softer. Like an unpeeled dessert grape. Finish Raisiny. Shortbread. fruity. oily hint of peat. lively. Palate Watermelon. Light touch of cereal-grain firmness.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Finish GLEN MORAY 8-year-old. Late. Walnuts. but smooth and oily. Honeyed. Body Smooth. then “mellowed” in Chardonnay. Colour Very pale. Also resiny. with a late. Oily. Perhaps a suggestion of banana. more yellowy. Garden mint. smoky warmth. Fresh oak. “Mellowed” in Chenin Blanc. Apple cores. Score 76 238 . Nose Fresh. Nose Fresh but soft. Lightly dry and very crisp. White chocolate. Banana. Score 78 GLEN MORAY 12-year-old. Palate Pears in cream. satiny gold. Finish Grape skins. oily. 43 vol Mainly available in Italy. Cereal grains. Score 71 GLEN MORAY Single Speyside Malt. Beeswax.

Creamy. Cedar. Toffee. Bruised plum. “Mellowed” in Chenin Blanc. Rich but mature. Milk pudding. Finish Long. apple. Finish Slightly burnt. Finish Winey. Leafy. Orange peel. A hint of garden mint. Hint of cloves. Nougat. SCORE 77 239 . plum cake and crackerbread. 57. Slightly rooty and woody. Finish Slightly sharp. Resiny. Smoke. Tannin. Grassy. Nose Very aromatic. vanilla. caramelized fruit. Nose Honeydew melon. Body Smooth and very firm. Palate Slick and soft. Palate More assertive. soft. Vallée du Rhône. Cask No 3661.GLEN M O R AY GLEN MORAY 16-year-old. Joss sticks. 53. malty. Score 75 Glen Moray Distillery Manager’s Choice 1974. oak. Body Oily. Score 76 GLEN MORAY 1981. Hints of peat. Some toffeeish chewiness. Caramel. Nose Perfumed candles. Wax. Plum cake. 46 vol Colour Pinky sunset. Provocative.2 vol Colour Old gold. dried orange peel. Spicy. Sultanas. Palate Drying. Palate Creamy.7 vol Colour Chestnut. Single Sherry Butt. Nose Soft and ripe. Spicy. Apples. Peppery. SCORE 82 Glen Moray 1976. 40 vol Colour Old gold.

Nose Lovely. Nose Nutty. Palate Nutty dryness. soft. and a hint of grassy peatiness. malt and chocolate). Body Very creamy indeed. Finish Sweetness and dryness. Port Wood Aged. oaky but fresh. Developing a touch of charred oak. Body Very smooth indeed. Palate Rich. beautifully balanced and rounded. Nose Rich fruitcake steeped in sherry. 43 vol Colour Pale gold. Body Smooth. Touches of sappy oakiness.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS SOME vintage editions of Glen Moray GLEN MORAY 1974. Finish Light sweetness and light peatiness. elegant malt. juicy. Chewy. 43 vol Colour Solid amber. Finish Light. marzipan development. Score 80 GLEN MORAY 1973. Score 79 240 . perfumy complexity.4 vol Colour Full amber. A curiously spicy lift at the very end. The dryness of burnt currants. but still extremely clean. Honey-roast nuts. Beautiful balance of distillery character and port. with lots of development of sweet (barley. with a tinge of green. Long and lingering. Sugared almonds. Limited Edition. Fruitcake. with surges of flavour. Long. almondy. Score 78 GLEN MORAY 1966. Score 80 GLEN MORAY 1959. Palate Oily cereal grain. Body Far richer than other versions. nutty dryness. An after-dinner malt of extraordinary delicacy. Intensely nutty. Bottled 1997 Colour Full gold. malty sweetness. Bottled 1999. Nose Very sweet. Finish Perfumy again. delicately spicy notes. Palate Very complex. A confident. with the latter eventually winning. 48.

malts. Fresh. It has even sported different names: Glenordie. Resiny. Muir of Ord. body Medium. but begged a question. Glen Ord also has a maltings (of the drum type). warm cinnamon. its whisky has occupied endless different positions in the marketing portfolio. Ordie. rose-like. Good punch. Finish Malt and oak. Ross-shire. was made (see also Ben Wyvis). malt. Sultana. then toffee. Ord. with a dry finish. daffodil. HE LAUNCH IN House style T Flavoursome. Hidden Malt. IV6 7UJ tel 01463 872004 website www. just to the west and north of Inverness. the first famous whisky. and malty.com/www.com VC Region 2003 of a 12-year-old “Hidden Malt” from Glen Ord was very welcome. SCORE 78 241 . This is the region where Ferintosh. Nose Glen Ord 12-year-old. spicy (cinnamon?). 43 vol Colour Full gold. It is at a village called Muir of Ord (“the moor by the hill”). firm.discovering-distilleries.GLEN ORD Glen Ord Producer Diageo Highlands District Northern Highlands address Muir of Ord. Hint of sulphur. Turned earth. Palate Dry grass. The distillery and maltings look over the barley-growing country of the Black Isle. After dinner. Why was it hidden in the first place? Why has this distillery been obliged to play hide-andseek over the years? Under different managements.

Flowery. Red fruits. Rare Malts. SCORE 80 242 . Oranges. Spicy. perhaps. 58. Signatory. Expressive. Body Silky. soft.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLEN ORD 1974. Meadow grass. Palate Assertive. flowery. Unusually lively. Stewed orange. SCORE 82 Nose Glen Ord 1983. Finish Spicy. 23-year-old.3 vol Colour Gold. Fresh malt. Palate Nutty malt. Body Big. Honeyed. cedar. Attractive. Liqueur-like. Palate French patisserie.8 vol Colour Very pale primrose. Nose Very fresh. slightly syrupy. Distilled 1975. ginger. Sweeter than ordinary bread. Toasty wood. Finish Extraordinary explosion of sweet-and-sour flavours. vanilla. 58. Body Medium. lightly peaty. Spicy.3 vol Colour Primrose. SCORE 78 Glen Ord 28-year-old. raisins. brioche. assertive. Lemon juice. Finish Grassy. Leafy. roses. Fragrant smoke. Vanilla. Leafy. peaty. Special Release 2003. Crusty bread baking. Nose The slightest hint of smokiness. 60. lemon peel.

Ltd Campbeltown address 12 High Street.com Region Producer will be pleased to learn that a new bottling of Glen Scotia is envisaged around the middle of this decade. it is likely to be an eight-year-old. Glen Scotia has been in full production since 1999. Palate Dry maltiness. coconut. Glen Scotia. or with salty foods. Nose Aromatic. 40 vol colour Full. GLEN SCOTIA 14-year-old. much of the vatting must comprise older whiskies. piney. OVERS OF CAMPBELTOWN MALTS House style L Fresh. Argyll. Finish Long and robust. then quickly becomes oily and smooth. If it materializes. saltiness. is known for more than one manifestation of spirit: it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former proprietor who drowned himself in Campbeltown Loch. waxy. By now. This would account for a slightly rounder. The only official bottling for some years has been a 14-year-old. less fresh character. after being acquired by the Loch Lomond company. Very appetite-arousing. Body Seems light on the tongue. founded around 1832. Production had been very sporadic for more than a decade before that.GLEN SCOTIA Glen scotia Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Aperitif. and there are still stocks available. refractive gold. salty. but that is not yet certain. PA28 6DS tel 01586 552288 Visits by appointment only email mail@lochlomonddistillery. score 86 243 . Campbeltown.

50 vol Colour White. Intense and zesty. Palate A raw edge. Signatory. Dry.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS independent bottlings Glen Scotia is hard to find. 40 vol Colour Gold. SCORE 70 244 . SCORE 60 Glen Scotia 1990. Finish Short. sulphury. Falls apart in the mouth. Nose Harsh. Finish Short. Stewed fruit. Body Light. judging from the quality of independent bottlings. Body Dry. Lombard Brands. Palate Malty. Drying. Lacks substance. Body Thin. vegetal. Nose A little metallic. Lacks maturity. Finish Short. SCORE 67 Glen Scotia 1990. 43 vol Colour Pale gold. dry. Glen Scotia 1991. Gordon & MacPhail. and good casks even more elusive. Nose A touch of smoke. Palate Hot with raw edges.

the merchant is Justerini & Brooks. By 1779. but Justerini meanwhile worked in Britain as a maker of liqueurs. grassy eight-year-old Glen Spey. In the case of Glen Spey.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS glen spey Region address Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside (Rothes) Rothes. AB38 7AU tel 01340 882000 A launched in 2002 renders this distillery slightly more visible. The business was for a time part of Gilbeys. Much of its whisky is destined for the house blend of an aristocratic wine and spirits merchant in St James’s. 245 . but not on the river. nutty. grassy. in 1749. Aberlour. whose house blend is J&B. Aperitif. at which point there was for a time a nutty. dating from the 1880s. Glen Spey. He emigrated to Britain in pursuit of an opera singer. he was already selling Scotch whisky. London. (It is coincidence that neighbour Glenrothes follows a parallel path). The romance does not seem to have come to fruition. from Bologna. Giacomo Justerini was an Italian. Banffshire. Brooks was a later partner in the firm. is in Rothes. Margherita Bellion. FLORA AND FAUNA BOTTLING House style Light. It is in the heart of Speyside.

Pith. dry grass. cream light and grassy. Lemon zest. Body Medium. Cask No 792. Score 75 246 . Score 75 GLEN SPEY 19-year-old. Kumquat. Some lime leaf. green grapes.4 vol Colour Straw. Finish Crisp. 57 vol Colour Light gold. Palate Vivacious. Finish Sweet and light. oak. Touch of mint. with light citrus notes. Nose Very light. then becomes dramatically drier. Body Thin. 50. 26-year-old. Finish Cayenne and citrus. 43 vol Colour Full gold. Leafy. Palate Light residual sweetness but overall dry. Garden mint. dusty floor. Cadenhead.GLEN SPEY GLEN SPEY 12 year-old. green walnut. cream. Score 70 Glen Spey 1974. Oily. Flora and Fauna. Palate Tiger nuts. Body Fluffy. apple sponge. Nose Corn husks. Starts intensely sweet. Signatory. Nose Cookie-like maltiness (rich tea biscuit).

delicate. T and Glenallachie (pronounced “glen-alec-y”) is certainly worth tasting. Despite their proximity. more luscious. Body Light but firm. Aberlour richer. A dam and a small waterfall soften the exterior of the functional. RUE WHISKY LOVERS LIKE TO SAMPLE House style Clean. The distillery was built in 1967 primarily to contribute malt to the Mackinlay blends. 40 vol A Mackinlay bottling that is now difficult to find. Banffshire. SCORE 76 247 . their water is different. Colour Very pale. Aberlour. perfumy finish. flowery Speyside malt. smooth. modern distillery building. sweeter. It takes its water from a spring on Ben Rinnes.GLENALLACHIE GLENALLACHIE Producer Region address Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside Aberlour. subtle. and delicate. and so is their whisky: Glenallachie lighter. delicate. then acquired and reopened by Campbell Distillers at the end of the decade. Although it has only a modest reputation. just over the hill from its senior partner. Palate Beautifully clean. Fragrant. GLENALLACHIE 12-year-old. A graceful pre-dinner companion. drier. more delicate. It was temporarily closed in the late 1980s. AB38 9LR EVERYTHING. Lightly malty. Aperitif. Finish Starts sweet and develops towards a long. maltier. Nose Hint of peat. it is a good example of a subtle. more acidic.

produced an oilier. in his case at Glenburgie. Aperitif. At that time. It is in the watershed of the Findhorn. Morayshire. to extend their range. RARE RELEASE OF GLENBURGIE House style Oily. herbal. A less romantic. more technical claim to the noteworthiness of this distillery is its second malt whisky. IV36 0QX tel 01343 850258 A as a single malt came in 2002. between Forres and Elgin. fruity. one of the company’s senior managers. The distillery traces its history to 1810. These 15-year-olds are primarily for sale at the group’s distilleries. A noted admirer of Glenburgie’s herbal. when proprietors Allied launched their range of Special Distillery Bottlings. Those stills were removed in the early 1980s. writer Walsh had a “day job” as an exciseman. but will no doubt find their way farther afield. The whisky from Glenburgie’s Lomond stills was named after Willie Craig. fruitier malt. 248 . Like Robert Burns and Neil Gunn. fruity whisky was writer Maurice Walsh. with a column-shaped neck. These “Lomond” stills. but Glencraig can still be found in independent bottlings. some Allied distilleries were being given additional stills of a different design. at a time when many whiskies were in short supply. and on its present site to 1829. whose story The Quiet Man was made into a movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. This example is a long overdue reminder of an enjoyable malt.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENBURGIE Region Address Producer Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands district Speyside (Findhorn) Forres. Glenburgie was extended after the Second World War. at Alves.

Palate Rich. Assertive. Douglas Laing. oily. clinging. Signatory. Palate Smooth. Finish Quick. The Old Malt Cask. Malty and fruity. Gordon & MacPhail Colour Full gold. lemon zest. toffeeish. Score 67 Glenburgie 1967. SCORE 76 Some independent bottlings of Glenburgie Glenburgie 12 year-old. Tangy without water. Finish Dry. Body Oily. lingering. Buttery fudge. Walnut. Nose Oaky.G L E N BU RG I E Glenburgie 15 year-old. leafy. 46 vol Colour Bright gold. Citrus touch. 53 vol Colour Bright. Finish Dry. Nose Touch of sour cream. Praline. velvety. SCORE 74 249 . fragrant. Fruity. Coating. SCORE 72 Glenburgie 10-year-old. Body Velvety. Palate Round. Fresh oak. Body Light and smooth. touch of orange peel. Touch of cinnamon. Beeswax. firm. firm. Nose Quite complex. Fermentation flavours. sweet then oaky. Finish Spicy followed by a soothing sweetness. sparkling gold. Palate Sweet and soft. medium. Nose Attractive sweetness. Body Medium. 50 vol Colour Pale gold. Developing fruit and cream. Hint of liquorice. Fruity. 40 vol. gingery.

Nose Complex. Strong coffee. Almonds. Toffee. oily. Seems everlasting. Hint of smoke. Rich fruit. Duncan Taylor. A touch of smoke. oily.7 vol Colour Light gold. round. Definitely sherry. 21 year-old. 56. Finish Warming and fulfilling.2 vol Colour Full gold. Nourishing. Resiny. Palate Appetizing spiciness. with a slight bitter touch. Slow fade to soft spiciness. Nose Intense. Palate Delicate smoothness. Juicy fruitiness. Finish Very warm. Smooth to start then develops lively spiciness. Palate Powerful. Apricot.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenburgie 1966. Dried fruit. Finish Sensuous. kiwi. Liquorice. Lighthearted sherry. Body Round. lasting. 40 vol Colour Deep gold. Cloves. Nose Aromatic elegancy. Score 68 Glencraig 1975. Gordon & MacPhail. Leafy. SCORE 73 250 . Cadenhead. pears. SCORE 76 Some independent bottlings of Glencraig Glencraig 1981. Rich. Body Firm. 40. Flowery. honey. Body Very oily. Pipe tobacco. charming.

Body Full. have not aggressively promoted their distilleries. Glencadam is a lonely survivor on this stretch of coastline. Floral. Score 73 251 . silky. With neighbour North Port now gone. With dessert. was founded in 1825 and modernized in 1959. Finish A little shy but sweet and satisfying. HEN MERCHANT AND INDEPENDENT House style Creamy. Appropriately. Nose Glencadam 15-year-old. Angus. Perfumy.GLENCADAM GLENCADAM Producer Region address Angus Dundee Distillers plc Highlands District Eastern Highlands Brechin. though the 15-year-old Glencadam reviewed below was from their series of Special Distillery Bottlings. mouth-coating. at the head of Glen Esk. Palate Smooth. but popular in Belfast. The neat little distillery. elegant. peach melba. So creamy. originally blended in Dundee. there were no dramatic changes. Strawberry yogurt. Glencadam is a notably creamy malt. The same may be true of this one. Ripe summer fruit. Plum pudding. either. 46 vol Colour Old gold. or after dinner. at Brechin. DD9 7PA tel 01356 622217 W bottler Angus Dundee acquired its first distillery. its second acquisition. Rounded and appealing. The very soft water is piped an astonishing 48 km (30 miles) from Loch Lee. Tomintoul. much of the distillery’s output has over the years gone into “Cream of the Barley”. Allied. Glencadam’s previous owners. with a suggestion of berry fruits.

but a pagoda is hard to conceal. The whiskies are greatly appreciated by malt lovers. as though it were a small estate. and in 1960 was acquired to help provide the malty background to the well-known blend Teacher’s. is credited with having encouraged local farmers to establish this distillery. Sherry-friendly. now owned by Allied. flower beds and kitchen garden. with plans for a new bottling at 12 years old. with a teasing sweet-and-dry maltiness. but much affection is also felt for the place. 252 . AB5 6DB tel 01466 730202 VC T for malt lovers in 2002 was the restarting of production at Glendronach. Teacher’s own principal distillery was Ardmore. HE BEST NEWS House style Smooth. the glen of the Dronac Burn almost hides the cluster of buildings. and was also coal-fired until recently. This new version will have a light touch of sherry. which is itself now becoming hard to find. A flourish of tradition that has been rekindled is the use of coalfired. Over the years. Glendronach 12 has appeared in a confusion of styles. rounded with a reracking in bourbon barrels. which can promote a caramel-ish. Stock problems led to this being replaced by a 15-year-old. there was a welcome choice between “The Original” (second-fill. which attempted to marry their virtues. but there have been suggestions that they might. toffee-like maltiness. direct-flame stills. At one stage. mainly bourbon) and a version labelled “100 per cent matured in sherry casks”. the distillery’s owners took a new interest in making its products available. (Domaine Dronac?) The fifth Duke of Gordon. big. flame creates hot spots. The floor maltings have not restarted. At the same time. After dinner. by Huntly. Aberdeenshire. As that is nearby in Aberdeenshire. Deep in Aberdeenshire’s fertile barley-growing country. These two were then replaced by “Traditional”. The distillery has its own small mansion house. While steam heats more evenly. It was later run by a member of the William Grant (Glenfiddich) family. the man behind the legalization of distilling in the Highlands in the 1820s.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENDRONACH Region address Producer Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Deveron) Forgue. after six years’ silence.

Body Rich and smooth. with some toffeeish dryness. Charred oak. balanced by polished oak and sweetish. Body Smooth. Nose Mince pies. warming.G L E N D RO NAC H GLENDRONACH 15-year-old. Hint of smoke. 40 vol 100% sherry maturation. Sappy. Palate Crème de menthe. raisiny sherry. being phased out. Score 78 GLENDRONACH 1968 Vintage. sherry notes. Dry maltiness. Palate Oaky. 43 vol There has also been a peatier limited edition at 19 years old. Colour Full amber. Nose Sweet. fragrant peat smoke. Nose Very heavily sherried. Finish Long. Colour Chestnut. Buttery. Drying. Body Firm. very limited availability. doused in spirit and served with black coffee. moves to malty sweetness. Finish Liquorice-toffee. extremely deep amber. Crunchy toffee. Woody. smooth. then to sherry. Burnt-toffee dryness. 43 vol 100% matured in sherry casks. Score 79 GLENDRONACH 18-year-old. Colour A bright. Score 78 253 . warming. Cedary notes. slightly drying. Palate Starts with burnt-toffee dryness. Finish Long.

Nutmeg. 51. Nose Sherry. tasty. Finish Dry. Score 74 254 . Murray McDavid. bananas and dates.7 vol Colour Full gold. Score 72 Glendronach 1976. Palate Sweet nuttiness. Palate Round and creamy. almost viscous. raisins. Leafy. Roasted nuts. drying out on oak. Body Full. 46 vol Colour Chardonnay-like. Minty leaves. Hint of burnt wood. Opulent display of fruit and spices. Orange chocolate. nutty. Signatory. Finish Warm. Nose Creamy malt. Body Syrupy.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Independent bottlings of Glendronach Glendronach 1990. Rich dried fruit. Cloves.

Put it in a hip flask. Nose Light. oily. Finish Extraordinarily perfumy and long. an honour that was for some years proclaimed on its casks. becoming buttery. big. nutty. fruity. Glendullan has in recent years been offered in a flora and fauna edition. SCORE 75 255 . dry. on which Dufftown stands. then silky. Palate Dry start. dry maltiness. established in 1897–98. 43 vol Colour Almost white. has had its moments of glory. Body A hard edge. Hint of fruit. malty. This distillery. OW A CONTRIBUTOR House style N Perfumy. perfumy. As a single malt. GLENDULLAN 12-year-old. Glendullan has the highest volume production among Diageo’s distilleries. Flora and Fauna.GLENDULLAN GLENDULLAN Region Producer Diageo Highland District Speyside (Dufftown) address Dufftown. The reference is to the river Dullan. despite a name so unjustly close to “dull one”. Today. and no fewer than four Rare Malts versions. with just a tinge of gold. Banffshire. and traditionally to the blend Old Parr. which is popular in Japan. AB55 4DJ tel 01340 822100 to the vatted adaptation of Cardhu. and lightly fruity. chilli-like. notably the supply of its whisky in the early 1900s to King Edward VII.

At one later stage it made only grain whisky. Its career was intermittent. made by William Sanderson. Fresh. there have been several bottlings under the Hillside name in the Rare Malts series. Crisp.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENESK /hillside DCL Eastern Highlands site of former distillery Kinnaber Road. Rare Malts. and salty. clean. Palate Sweetish start. Angus. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. fresh maltiness. The distillery closed in 1985. but these are now very hard to find. There were for a short time William Sanderson bottlings of Glenesk Single Malt at 12 years old. dry. Distilled 1969. 61. Nose Vanilla. pale greeny gold. but still operates. it was again a significant malt distillery. lies Glenesk. At times it has also been known as Hillside. herbal. employing various prefixes to the word Esk. It began as a flax mill. dry. Score 69 256 . Aperitif.9 vol Colour Bright. converted in 1897 to become a malt distillery. Montrose. Then dry maltiness. contributing to the famous blend VAT 69. even by the standards of a cyclical industry. a confusion of names have been used for this establishment. In recent years. part of DCL and later United Distilleries. HILLSIDE 25-year-old. clean. Over the years. Body Light. Dried apricot and dried banana. Finish Slightly resiny. DD10 9EP Region Producer Highlands District South Esk river. Its relatively modern maltings on an adjacent site was sold. Hillside. T THE MOUTH OF THE House style A Fresh. at Montrose. They had a distinctly aromatic. firm.

co. the equipment is modern. Barley is grown in the surrounding area.co. The distillery is near the village of Marypark. Behind it. Banffshire. Grant. Glenfarclas whiskies are in the top flight among Speysiders. and the reception room has panelling from an ocean liner. and does not own any other distilleries or bottlers. 257 . The family is not connected (except perhaps distantly) to any of the other whisky-making Grants. and has been in the family since 1865. Grant Highlands District Speyside address Ballindalloch. malty.uk VC Region Producer W of the family now active in the business. ITH A SIXTH GENERATION House style Big. it is about a mile to Glenfarclas (“valley of the green grass”). prospects look good for this most independent of distilleries. Glenfarclas traces its history to 1836.G L E N FA RC L A S Glenfarclas J. & G. & G. complex.uk email enquiries@glenfarclas. Although some of the buildings date from that period. heather-covered hills rise towards Ben Rinnes. The distillery belongs to a private. though they are not as widely known as some similar examples from this region. J. family-owned company. from which the distillery’s water flows. AB37 9BD tel 01807 500257 website www. and its stills are the biggest in Speyside. From the river Spey. After dinner.glenfarclas. sherryish.

Body Firm. Certainly the best-balanced Glenfarclas. rich nectar. rounded. Palate Plenty of flavour. and 8 to 10 years old. but also smokiness at the back of the nose. 60 vol Known as 105º. Finish Sweet and long. Rounded. Finish Long and smooth. Finish Long. with oaky notes. Crisp and dry at first. with notes of peat smoke. even at this relatively young age. Body Firm. with some sherry sweetness and nuttiness. A very youthful version for such a big malt. slightly oily. with the flavour filling out as it develops. but it wins points for firm-muscled individuality. heavy. big attack. Nose Plenty of sherry. Score 87 GLENFARCLAS 15-year-old. Colour Full gold. 43 vol For many devotees. mixed bouquet. Finish Long. and a hint of smokiness – all the elements of a lovely. oak. Palate Very sweet. 46 vol Many enthusiasts feel that this age most deftly demonstrates the complexity of this malt. Nose Robust: butterscotch and raisins. the most familiar face of Glenfarclas. 40 vol Elegant and quite dry for a Glenfarclas. Body Full. Colour Bronze. Score 88 Palate GLENFARCLAS 10-year-old. maltiness. Colour Amber. Palate Assertive. with a quick. Score 86 GLENFARCLAS 12-year-old. Colour Full gold to bronze. Score 88 258 . again with all the elements beautifully melded. Body Characteristically firm.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENFARCLAS 105. Nose Big. and warmed by the high proof. Nose Drier. No Age Statement. with some honeyish dryness.

Extra points out of respect for idiosyncratic age. sappy. Butter. spicy. then a surge of buttery notes in the middle. All the components gradually emerge. Colour Full amber. Sultana-like fruitiness. Body Big. Finish Remarkably long. Sweet lemon juice on a pancake. Score 89 GLENFARCLAS 25-year-old. gingery. sappy. All slowly emerges as distinct notes.G L E N FA RC L A S GLENFARCLAS 17-year-old. firm. Colour Dark amber. Raisiny. but a remorselessly serious after-dinner malt for others. Palate Immense flavour development. fragrant smokiness. Nose Fuller sherry. oaky. rounded. Score 88 259 . Palate Firm at first. Very slow. 43 vol More of everything. becoming sweetish and perfumy. 43 vol Colour Amber. but in a drier mood. moving to fruity dryness. with lots of sherry. Clean oak. Light. Nose More sherry. with some dryness of texture. Body Big. 43 vol Mainly available in the Far East. Greater smokiness. Palate The flavours are so tightly interlocked at first that the whisky appears reluctant to give up its secrets. Nose Pungent. as well as a dash of oak. Finish Touch of almonds and bitter chocolate. Body Firm. insistent flavour development. Finish Long. Perhaps a touch woody for purists. Score 88 GLENFARCLAS 21-year-old.

Attractive. Nose Oaky. bright amber. Finish A little hard. 43 vol Colour Refractive. Nose Good weight. rich fruit and nut. Tightly locked flavours open with a dash of water. peaty. Colour Score 87 Glenfarclas 8-year-old. Nose Oaky. slightly woody. with a yellowy suggestion of a gibbous moon. Nutty and has the distillery’s rich mouth feel. Score 87 GLENFARCLAS 40-year-old. Body Very firm. Score 78 260 . Colour Amber. Oak. Finish Peat.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENFARCLAS 30-year-old. Millennium Edition. Log fires. with nutty maltiness and raisiny sweetness fighting through. Slightly rigid. Very firm. 40 vol Exclusive to Dutch market. sappy.7 vol Deep amber. Body Light. Finish Oaky. butterscotch. Body Medium to full. Palate Oaky start. 54. Palate Tongue-coating. Lightly honeyed. Malt. Young. Palate Nutty and oaky.




Glenfarclas 8-year-old, 40 vol Exclusive to Swiss/Austrian market. Colour Rich amber. Dry. Bracken, balsa wood, peanut. Little honey. Young. Body Light to medium. Firm. Clean, nutty maltiness. Ripe fruits in centre. Good feel. Finish Hard and young.


Glenfarclas 1990, Family Malt Collection, 43 vol Exclusive to Spanish market. Colour Copper. Nose Dense and thick. Syrup, membrillo, red fruit, runny toffee, orange. Bracken-like maltiness. Body Full, soft, and rich. Palate Sweet and chewy. Toffee, walnut, soft fruit. Dries towards finish. Great balance. Finish Nut, cedar.


Glenfarclas 1979, Port Vintage, 40 vol Colour Gold. Nose Malt mixed with crème de framboise, floral notes, and fruitcake. Body Sweet and full-bodied. Palate Honey glazes the tongue. Hint of smoke, yellow wine gums, hazelnut. Exotic. Finish Long, fragrant.








Some other exclusive bottlings

A bottling of 1990 at 46 vol, exclusive to Bernard Massard of Luxembourg, has a copper colour; a nose of bung cloth, treacle toffee; raisins and dates on the palate; and a slightly tannic finish. Score 80 A cask from the same year, 1990, was also bottled for Mähler-Besse in Bordeaux at 46 vol. Amber hued with a roasted meat/figgy nose; the full-bodied palate shows damson, raisin, and clove and cedar on the finish. Score 80 The distillery has also bottled a series exclusively for Hanseatische of Bremen: A 1989 at 43 vol from first-fill oloroso has an earthy, fungal nose; the palate shows treacle, dusty tannins, and a firm structure; the finish is figgy. Score 78

A 1986 at 43 vol from a fino cask shows lifted, crisp notes on the nose reminiscent of olive, planed wood, and lime. A medium-bodied example with a palate that has dry coriander, malt, and a sweet centre; the finish hints at flowers. Score 83 A 1983 at 43 vol had an aroma of wholemeal flour with hints of hazelnut and chamois leather. The lightest of the range, the palate was sweet with touches of almond with charred notes behind. Intriguing. Score 80 A 1959 at 46 vol (The Historic Reserve No.1), which was distilled on Christmas Day of that year, has a nose, appropriately enough, reminiscent of Christmas cake: raisin, sultana, treacle. There is also violet, apple and a hint of rancio. Medium-bodied with a soft mouth feel; there are notes of bitter chocolate on the palate as well. Complex. Score 90 262


Region tel

William Grant & Sons Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Dufftown) address Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4DH 01340 820373 VC website www.glenfiddich.com


as ever, the stag has been raising its antlers in the glen of the river Fiddich. Not only has the world’s biggest selling single malt whisky increased the age of its principal expression (see pp. 67–69), it has also introduced controversial innovations like Havana Reserve and Caoran. The Glenfiddich distillery lies on the small river whose name it bears, in Dufftown. The name Fiddich indicates that the river runs through the valley of the deer. Hence the company’s stag emblem. This justifiably famous distillery was founded in 1886–87, and is still controlled by the original family. As a relatively small enterprise, it faced intense competition from bigger companies during the economic boom after the Second World War. Rather than relying on supplying whisky to blenders owned by the giants, it decided in 1963 to widen the availability of its whisky as a bottled single malt. An industry dominated at the time by blended Scotches regarded this as foolishness. The widely held view was that single malts were too intense, flavoursome, or complex for the English and other foreigners. This independent spirit was an example without which few of its rivals would have been emboldened to offer themselves as bottled single malts. Devotees of the genre owe a debt of gratitude to Glenfiddich. The early start laid the foundations for the success of Glenfiddich. Its fortunes were no doubt further assisted by its being, among malts, very easily drinkable. Devotees of malts who are ready for a greater challenge will find much more complexity in the longer matured versions, including the one that is aged for 15 years then vatted in a solera system. The Glenfiddich distillery is full of character. Much of the original structure, in honey-and-grey stone, remains beautifully maintained, and the style has been followed in considerable new construction. Glenfiddich also led the way in the industry by being the first to have a visitor centre. Some may be argue that this is for tourists rather than purists, but no visitor to this part of the Highlands should miss it.








A truly traditional element is the use of coal firing in one of the two still-houses. The stills are small, and the whisky is principally aged in “plain oak” (refill bourbon), although about 10 per cent goes into sherry casks. Whisky aged in different woods is married in plain oak. Adjoining the Glenfiddich site, William Grant also owns The Balvenie (established 1892), with a small floor maltings, and the newish (1990) Kininvie malt distilleries. Kininvie is little more than a basic still-house. Its rich, creamy malt goes into the Grant’s blends, but has not been bottled as a single. Elsewhere in Scotland, it has the Girvan grain distillery (see Ladyburn).
When young, a dry, fruity aperitif; when more mature, a raisiny, chocolatey after-dinner malt.
House style

GLENFIDDICH Special Reserve, 12-year-old, 40 vol Colour Slightly fuller gold than it used to be. Faint green tinge. Nose Fresh but sweet, appetizing, fruity, pear-like, juicy grass. Body Lean. Smooth. Oily maltiness. Palate Malty sweetness. White chocolate. Good flavour development. Toasted hazelnuts. Finish Fragrant suggestion of peat smoke.




GLENFIDDICH Caoran Reserve, 12-year-old, 40 vol Caoran refers in Gaelic to the embers of a peat fire. A very gently smoky, dryish background is achieved by the use of casks that previously contained whisky from the peaty island of Islay. Colour Deep gold. Nose Treacle toffee slightly burned. Sweet, cedary logs on a slow fire. Body Light to medium. Oily. Scented. Palate White chocolate. Cassata ice cream. Strega. Finish Thick chocolate wafers. Dark caramel. Gently warming alcohol.


GLENFIDDICH Solera Reserve, 15-year-old, 40 vol Colour Bright gold. Nose Chocolate. Toast. Hint of peat. Body Light but very smooth indeed. Palate Suave. Silky. White chocolate. Pears in cream. Cardamom. Finish Cream. Hint of ginger.








GLENFIDDICH 15-year-old, Cask Strength, 51 vol Especially available in duty-free. Colour Full gold. Nose Soft, light peat smoke. Body Smooth, lightly creamy. Palate Smooth. Hazelnut. Light cream. Dry maltiness. Finish Tasty, appetizing. Grassy notes and peat smoke.


GLENFIDDICH Ancient Reserve, 18-year-old, 40 vol A proportion of the whisky in this version is older than the age on the label, with a slight accent toward first-fill sherry (butts, rather than hogsheads, and made from Spanish oak rather than American), and earth-floored, traditional warehouses. Colour Old gold. Nose Richer. Body Softer. Palate More mellow and rounded, soft, and restrained. Scores points for sophistication and sherry character. Finish Nutty. A flowery hint of peat.


GLENFIDDICH Havana Reserve, 40 vol To be renamed Gran Reserva. Colour Apricot. Nose Toasty. Biscuity. Petit fours. The aroma when a box of chocolates is opened. Body Soft. Lightly creamy. Palate Vanilla flan. Sweet Cuban coffee. Finish Juicy. A hint of dried tropical fruits.


GLENFIDDICH 30-year-old, 43 vol Colour Full gold, fractionally darker still. Nose Notes of sherry, fruit, chocolate, and ginger. Body Soft, full, some viscosity. Palate More sherry, raisins, chocolate, ginger. Luxurious. Finish Unhurried, with chocolatey notes and gingery dryness.




GLENFIDDICH Rare Collection, 40-year-old, 43.6 vol Colour Deep, greeny gold. Ripening plum. Nose Deliciously appetizing. A real depth of honey aromas, which seem to emerge in layers, as though each were extracted from a different flower. Then beeswax. Finally, a balancing flowery dryness and faint burnt-heather smokiness. Body Lean but silky smooth. Palate Very slow, sustained emergence of flavours. Firm, dryish, restrained, honey, becoming scenty. Gradually giving way to biscuity maltiness. A hint of bitter chocolate. Finally a surge of soft, oily smokiness, with some peaty dryness. Finish Hint of anis. Satisfying. Long.



GLENFIDDICH 1937, Vintage, 64-year-old, 44 vol Beautiful. Like a green fruit that has ripened to pink, then bronze. Nose Huge bouquet. Newly dug peat. Burnt heather. Dried flowers. Old books. Leather. Oak. Palate Smooth, silky. Wraps round the tongue. Sweet. Perfumy. Toffee in icing sugar. Then treacle toffee. Crème brûlée. Toasted almonds. Finish Long and warming, but very woody.









1974 In the aroma: pastry out of a hot oven. Fresh pears in butterscotch sauce. The palate suggests milk chocolate first, then dark. Chocolate limes, then mint crèmes. The finish is liqueur-ish but also slightly sharp. Score 83 1973 Soft, “box of chocolates” aroma. Silky smooth body. Palate suggests chocolate-coated dates. Balancing, cocoa-powder bitterness in finish. Score 87 1967 Touch of sweetness in the aroma. Coconut ice? Nougat? Garden mint in the palate. Slightly gritty. Moroccan mint tea. Score 82 1965 Aroma of chocolate soufflé. Syrup-sweet in the mid-palate. Remarkably chocolatey in the finish. Like eating that soufflé. Score 86

1961, 43.2 vol Gentle fragrance of pine needles, cypress, box trees, grass, peat, very faint smokiness. Palate has bitter chocolate, orange zest and lemon fudge. Very deftly balanced. Score 92



GLENFIDDICH Classic, No Age Statement, 43 vol This version is no longer bottled, but may still be found. Colour Pale gold. Softer. Dry maltiness, pear skins, slight sherry, and faint smokiness. Body Firm, smooth. Smooth. Dry maltiness balanced by restrained sweetness, with slight smokiness. Flavours tightly combined. Finish Smooth, dry.





The Edrington Group Highlands District Speyside (Deveron) address Portsoy, Banffshire, AB45 2SQ


“FAMILY SILVER” bottling from the owners, Highland Distillers (now Edrington), was a welcome morsel from Glenglassaugh. This distillery, founded in 1875 and completely rebuilt in 1959–60, has been mothballed since 1986, and shows no sign of being reopened. The whisky has contributed to highly regarded blends such as The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, and Laing’s, but its distinctiveness has always seemed a mixed blessing. “Sackcloth … hessian,” proclaimed one taster, admiring the distinctive aroma of this malt. “Flax, perhaps?” says another admirer. Maybe it is the aroma of seaside sand dunes covered with rough grass and gorse. This is a coastal malt, produced near Portsoy, between the mouths of the rivers Spey and the Deveron.
House style


Grassy maltiness. Restorative or refresher.







GLENGLASSAUGH 1973 Vintage Reserve, The Family Silver, 40 vol Now hard to find and of interest to collectors. Colour Deep, old gold. Nose Fresh, starched linen. Sea air. Body Light to medium. Firm, smooth. Palate Smooth, grassy. Slightly leathery and oily. Finish Linseed. Soothing. Warming.


GLENGLASSAUGH, No Age Statement, 40 vol This version, bottled by Highland Distillers, is labelled 12-year-old in some markets. It is now hard to find. Colour Gold. Nose Fresh linen. Body Light, but firm and smooth. Palate Grassy, sweetish. Finish Gentle, drying slightly.


GLENGLASSAUGH 1986, MacPhail’s Collection, 40 vol Colour Bright lemony yellow. Nose Light. Perfumy. Lemon. Gorse. Body Light. Silky smooth. Palate Clean. Oily. Hint of cedar. Very slight rooty liquorice. Finish Gentle, warming. Slight lemon zest.


GLENGLASSAUGH 1974, Scott’s Selection, 56.9 vol Colour Deep old gold. Nose Cream. Gorse. Oily. Salty. Body Viscous. Palate Dry, oily. Sherbety. Finish Lemony. Hot lemon juice. Warming.




Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd Highlands District Highlands (Southwest) address Dumgoyne (by Glasgow), Stirlingshire, G63 9LV tel 01360 550254 website www.glengoyne.com email reception@glengoyne.com VC
Region Producer


It has never been an especially well known distillery, but it has one of the prettiest locations (complete with waterfall), and it is only a dozen miles from the centre of Glasgow. Future marketing is likely to give more emphasis to the claim that Glengoyne is the local whisky of Glasgow, and distillery tours will be promoted as an essential feature of a visit to the city. The distillery is said to have been established in 1833. It is now felt the previous emphasis on the use of unpeated malt could have been construed as a negative claim, and perhaps too technical to appeal to the lay consumer. Nor is it unique to Glengoyne. If this theme is continued in future advertising, it may be presented in a more positive context: that the lack of peat unmasks the true taste of the malt. Glengoyne does have a clean, creamy malt accent.
House style


Easily drinkable, but full of malty flavour. Restorative, with dessert, or after dinner.







GLENGOYNE 10-year-old, 40 vol Colour Yellowy gold. Nose A fresh but very soft, warm fruitiness (Cox’s apples?), with rich malty dryness, very light sherry, and a touch of juicy oak. Body Light to medium. Smooth, rounded. Palate Clean, grassy, fruity, with more apple notes. Tasty, very pleasant. Finish Still sweet, but drying slightly. Clean, appetizing.


A Glengoyne 12-year-old, at 43 vol, now hard to find is very similar to the 10-year-old. A dash more of everything. Score 75 GLENGOYNE 16-year-old, Scottish Oak Finish, 53.5 vol Colour Slightly dull gold. Nose Very Aromatic. Smells like a freshly cut tree. Resiny. Lemon skins. Body Oily, creamy. Palate Toffeeish. Paw-paw. Vanilla Pods. Cinnamon. Finish Like biting into a tree bark. Hot, Spicy, flavours. Cloves?


GLENGOYNE 17-year-old, 43 vol Full gold, with an orange tinge. Nose Warm, dry. Maltiness and fruitiness. Palo cortado sherry. Cedar and fresh oak. Body Medium, very firm and smooth. Palate Deep, rich flavours. Malt, clean fruitiness (hints of apple), nuttiness, cedar, more oak. Really hitting its stride as a mature, sophisticated whisky. Finish Long and allusively sherryish.
Colour SCORE


GLENGOYNE 21-year-old, 43 vol A very well balanced edition. Colour Full gold, with a darker orange tinge. Nose Fragrant. Hints of apple, oak, and earth. Body Firm, smooth. Palate Very firm maltiness. Dry creaminess. Clean fruit (hints of orange) and oak. Finish Cream. Vanilla pods. Cinnamon.




GLENGOYNE 30-year-old, 50 vol An interestingly oaky interpretation. Colour Deep, shining gold to bronze. Nose Polished oak. Body Medium to full. Rounded. Palate Soft, complex. Hints of apple and orange. Dryish spiciness. Finish Firm dry. Hint of charred oak.


GLENGOYNE Millennium, 50 vol A delicious example of maltiness in a whisky. Comprises Glengoynes of more than 30 years old. Colour Very full gold, with orange tinge. Nose Very aromatic, appetizing, and softly spicy. Body Creamy. Palate Very malty. Long and unfolding. Clean. Sweet start. Creamy flavours, becoming cookie-like and nutty. Finish Chewy, malty. Very soft, restrained, dessert apple.



rich. and nuts in the finish. very fresh. arousing interplay of sherry. fresh aroma. creamy. light body. with charred oak and earth in the finish. Score 79 1969. bottled unfiltered at 47 vol: deep gold. fresh dessert apple. at about 25 years old and cask strength. Score 79 Winter 1967 Christmas Day Reserve. firm. creamy. ginger. tangerines. oily. creamy flavours. beautifully rounded. with a hint of fruity dryness in the finish. Score 77 1968 (labelled as being from a single day’s distillation. fragrant aroma. more oiliness in the creamy flavour. very sweet. matured only in sherry casks) at 50.8 vol: amber colour. 57. sweet. Score 80 274 . identified as a Golden Promise varietal grown in Northumberland. and juicy oak. was fractionally richer. and less dry. creamy. maltier. condensed milk in the palate. chewy maltiness. polished oak aroma. with hint of charred oak.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Some vintage-dated editions of Glengoyne (Released each August. 43 vol: gold. and grassy maltiness in the aroma. with surprisingly fresh. resiny. Score 78 An earlier release of a 1970.3 vol: gold with orange tinge. exceptionally smooth.5 vol: full gold. 48. and nutty. sherry. oak and sherry in the beautifully balanced aroma. Score 79 1970.) 1972. with hint of honeysuckle and clean apple.

grassy. oaky aroma. Score 77 Cask no 3525. cask no 4617. A 1989 matured in a fino cask and bottled in 1998 had a dark walnut colour. honeyish. Score 76 1969. but more honeyish and medicinal (cough sweets). cask no 4855. oaky. clean. at 52 vol: deep yellowy gold.4 vol: pale-walnut colour. Score 78 Sherry variations of Glengoyne The following very limited editions. almonds. at 56. Cask no 4606. at 51. Score 76 1968. and sherry in the aroma. very sweet. then resiny dryness. very drying in the finish. Score 76. with ginger and especially cinnamon. with buttery notes of zesty lemon. very rich sherry flavours. barley-sugar maltiness. nutty oloroso. Score 77 275 . offered a treat for lovers of very heavily sherried whiskies. cask no 583. cask no 1186. perfumy maltiness. fruity. Score 77. buttery palate. oily. at 54. developing some spiciness in the finish. polishedoak aroma. had similar characteristics but was notably spicier. at 56 vol: golden. a fat. more sherry and creamy malt in the palate. Score 78 1970. cask no 4464.5 vol: dark-walnut colour. a polished oak aroma. Score 78 Cask no 4678. at 55. and a nutty dryness.6 vol: reddish copper. at 57 vol: dark copper. crisp finish. juicy oak. apple-like. apples. but the weight of the wine seriously challenged the Glengoyne malt character. Score 78. Score 76. also buttery. a big body. brandy butter. at 53. sweet apple flavours. orange.4 vol: chestnut colour.2 vol: dark-orange colour. apple-like aroma. late malty liquorice and estery spiciness. wine gums. was dark and reddish.7 vol: sunny gold. and bitter chocolate. Cask no 4605. slight charred oak in the finish.3 vol: paler. at 51. hints of apple and vanilla. soft. very sweet. from old amontillado. orangey fruit.GLENGOYNE Some single-cask bottlings of Glengoyne 1972.9 vol: reddish. at 60. cloves. sappy. Score 77 Another 1985. oily. bottled in 1997. resiny. Score 78 A 1985 from palo cortado. and nutty sherry in the aroma. Cask no 1428. oak finish. sweet apple and butter. bottled in the upper 50s by volume. very fruity. earthy (peaty?) aroma. bronze. resiny aroma. Cask no 3854. Score 78 1971. at 54.

it was launched as a single in the Classic Malts range.com/www. the distillery manager bred prize-winning cattle. and near the village of Pencaitland. feeding them on the spent grain.discovering-distilleries. House style A CCORDING TO ITS LABEL. especially after a walk in the hills. It traces its origins to at least the 1820s and 1830s. EH34 5ET tel 01875 342005 website www. about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the capital. In 1988–89. East Lothian. The buildings resemble those of a Borders woollen mill.com VC Region “The Edinburgh Malt”. better known for their miniature steam engines. and a dry finish. the whisky was largely used in the Haig blends. Tranent. complex flavours.malts. and in 1997 an amontillado finish was added. A restorative. to a farm in barley-growing country in the glen of the Kinchie burn. Delphiniums and roses grow outside the manager’s office. This is an eminently visitable distillery. 276 . and the distillery has its own bowling green. and flows toward the small coastal resorts where the Firth of Forth meets the sea. Flowery start.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENKINCHIE Producer Diageo Lowlands District Eastern Lowlands address Pencaitland. In the same year a new visitor centre was opened. For much of the distillery’s history. This rises in the green Lammermuir hills. Among the exhibits is a 75-year-old model of the distillery which was built by the firm of Basset-Lowke. In the 1940s and 1950s. which provide medium-hard water.

spicy. Sweet lemons. Big. Body Light but rounded. Distillers Edition. Finish Sweet. Lemon grass. Nose Softly aromatic. oaky dryness. Dryish. Score 76 GLENKINCHIE 12-year-old. Colour Full gold. Body Well-rounded. Score 80 GLENKINCHIE 1986. 43 vol Finished in amontillado sherry. Lime jelly. Long. then gingery dryness. An extraordinary interplay. Sweet lemon. Spices. Body Lightly creamy. Double Matured.7 vol Colour Bright gold. Crème brûlée. Marshmallow. Palate The amontillado seems to heighten the interplay between sweetness and dryness. 43 vol Colour Gold. Nose Lightly floral aroma of polished oak. 58. Friends of Classic Malts. Melons. Straw. and soothing. Root ginger. Finish Fragrant. First comes brown sugar and butter. Palate Soft. Nutmeg. spicy. Nose Grass. Finish Finely grated lemon peel. astonishingly long. Cinnamon and demerara. Lemon grass. Palate Smooth. Spicy. then suddenly dry nuttiness and surprising saltiness. Score 79 277 .GLENKINCHIE GLENKINCHIE 10-year-old.

The Lowland distillers. it was known as Braes of Glenlivet. Among the distilling districts. but this practice is now in decline as the greater interest in single malts focuses attention on the issue of origin. just across the hills in adjoining Avon valley. After legalization in 1824. and it now has an international reputation. subtle. Only one distillery in the area is permitted to call itself The Glenlivet. and elegant. Chivas. in the most famous glen in Scotland: that of the small river Livet. in the period when different legislation and duties were applied to distilling in the Lowlands and Highlands. The definite article is restricted even further in that it appears on only the official bottlings from the owning company of The Glenlivet distillery. and in a climate to match. very clean. Distillers absurdly far from the glen have used the geographical allusion. These carry the legend “Distilled by George & J. the more distant. Until recently. The glen of the Livet was a famous nest of illicit distillation. and it produces a honeyish. Its water frequently flows underground for many miles. as if it were a synonym for Speyside in general. the glen of the Livet is the one most deeply set into the mountains. flowery. This is the distillery that was the first to become legal.com Region VC 2001 was this distillery. referring to the father and son who established the original business. the condensers work most effectively if cooled by very cold water. The malt whiskies made in the area are on the lighter side. The Livet’s fame also has historical origins. is lighter in palate). See entries for each. the legendary spirit “from Glenlivet” was greatly in demand among merchants in the cities to the south. The mountain setting also provides the weather that whisky makers like. zesty whisky. 278 T HE GLITTERING PRIZE IN the great whisky takeover of . Smith” in small type at the bottom of the label. When distilling is in progress. The distillery at the highest elevation in the glen (and perhaps in Scotland) is the one now known as Braeval. thinly populated Highlands were perceived as having illegal distillers and smugglers in every glen. were treated as a legitimate industry.theglenlivet.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS the GLENLIVET Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands District Speyside (Livet) address Ballindalloch. which flows into the Spey. AB37 9DB tel 01340 821720 website www. G. which has a notably light-bodied malt (though Tomintoul’s. Slightly lower is Tamnavulin. nearer to the big cities. Banffshire.

but it is a whisky of structure and complexity. About a third of the casks used have at some stage held sherry. and Longmorn. When the legalization of distillers was proposed by the Duke of Gordon. These very old and sometimes vintage-dated versions are identified as George and J. It is distilled from water with a dash of hardness. leading to subsequent bottlings by them. By virtue of it being the biggest selling single malt in the large American market. In the 1960s. when it came under the same ownership as Glen Grant. The Glenlivet might be deemed commonplace. assisted and succeeded him. George Smith. fruity. House style Flowery. pronounced “gow” (as in typically Scottish names like McGowan) translates to Smith. His son. The distillery stands at a point where the grassy valley is already beginning to steepen towards the mountains. In 1880. Smith’s Glenlivet Whisky. considerable quantities of the whisky were acquired by Gordon & MacPhail. near the confluence of the Livet and Avon. one of his tenants.THE GLENLIVET The Gaelic word “gobha”. The company remained independent until 1953. though the proportion of first fill is considerably smaller than that. but this is open to question. It has been argued that the Gow family had supported Bonnie Prince Charlie and later found it politic to change their name to Smith. and the blenders Chivas. After distilling on two sites nearby. Glen Grant. John Gordon Smith. peachy. The Glenlivet. 279 . G. in 1858 the Smiths moved to the present location. already an illicit whisky maker. since when the official bottlings have been energetically promoted. were acquired by the North American and worldwide drinks group Seagram in 1977. and the peating of the malt is on the light side. the exclusive designation “The Glenlivet” was granted in a test case. Aperitif. was the first to apply for a licence. Minmore.

Nose Remarkably flowery. notes of vanilla. Score 85 Nose The Glenlivet 15-year-old. Cooked peaches. honey. Nose Lots of flowery. Finish Crisp. Body Firm.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE GLENLIVET 12-year-old. Rounded. Some burnt-grass bitterness. Oak extract. hot sawdust. 40 vol Colour Deep. Body Light to medium. 40 vol Colour Pale gold. aromatic. Palate Flowery. good grip. smooth. 40 vol Colour Warm gold to bronze. with more peat smoke than usual. dried apple/apple skin. clean oakiness. Body Soft. Palate Firm. freesia. clean and soft. peaches. 43 vol Mainly in duty-free/travel retail. Desert apples. Colour Old gold. refractive yellow. delicate balance. Body Light-bodied. fruity. Palate Clean and nutty with a floral lift. Very smooth. Score 85 THE GLENLIVET 12-year-old. Palate Rich and fruity. gently warming. Vanilla. peachy. blackcurrants. Finish Hint of smoke. firm. Medium to full. Score 87 THE GLENLIVET 12-year-old. French Oak Finish. Nose The typically peachy bouquet seems to be accentuated. Finish Restrained. fresh apple. Nutty. Finish Creamy tastes. long. Score 80 280 . American Oak Finish. Oak. rich rounded.

then developing peach-stone nuttiness. Peaty. The bottlings were reviewed in the previous edition of this book. Depth of flowery aromas. Orange oil. Palate Flowery and sweet at first. 21-year-old. Very light touch of fresh peatiness. cereal grain maltiness. with interplay of sweet and bitter flavours. 43 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. Some sweetness and a hint of sherryish oak. Finish Sweet grass. Finish Dry. and was released in the late 1990s. nuttier flavours. Fruity. Lightly appetizing. Some macaroon-like sweetness. Nose Lively. Special editions are now released under the rubric The Cellar Collection. 281 . These were from years with very limited stocks. Palate Light. Nose Elements beautifully combined. Developing toastier. too.THE GLENLIVET thE GLENLIVET 18-year-old. Smoky fragrance. Score 87 THE GLENLIVET Archive. and are now hard to find. Score 85 CELLAR NOTES The first range of vintage-dated Glenlivets was drawn from batches distilled in the early 1970s. Body Very firm and smooth. Body Firm. smooth. appetizing. 43 vol Colour Deep gold to amber. Very long. clean. which are now exhausted. They are collector’s items.

Warm aroma. Body Firm. American Oak Finish. beautifully rounded. Nose Peach cobbler. Palate Thick-cut marmalade. Nose Well-done toast. being cooked. Belgian wafers. Score 85 282 . appetizing. Very long.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE GLENLIVET 30-year-old. Palate Like biting into a really good praline. biscuity malt. lively. Fruity and sweet. Limited Edition. smooth. The Cellar Collection. textured. Palate Sweet peaches. buttered. 41. marshmallow. Body Light to medium. Creamy. Polished oak. Orange oil. Score 90 THE GLENLIVET 1959. The Cellar Collection. Finish Crunchy. Finish Perfumy. Score 88 THE GLENLIVET 1967. The Cellar Collection. fudge. Hay. with a suggestion of burnt pastry. Nose Sweetly flowery. 48 vol Colour Attractive pinkish bronze. Body Big. Hint of peat. syrupy alcohol. 46 vol Colour Apricot.7 vol Colour Full gold. With apricot jam. Delicious. Black chocolate on the outside. Shortbread. Peachy. Finish Spicy (cinnamon). Bottled 2000. Oily. and raisins on the inside.

Palate Peaches. If the three below were cognacs. honey. Nose Astonishingly fresh. Full gold in colour. French Oak Finish. Only faint hint of age. and brazil nut. Fruity. menthol? and cedary oakiness. Nose Lots of floral. dry oakiness. a hint of spice. Score 90 Gordon & MacPhail’s bottling of a cask from 1955 at 40 vol has a complex. THE GLENLIVET 1943. Hypnotic. Gordon & MacPhail. tannic oak extract. the nose reminds you of Turkish Delight. Score 85 FROM PARADISE The shrewd shopkeepers at Gordon & MacPhail were as keen on The Glenlivet half a century ago as they were on Glen Grant. Palate Astonishingly fresh maltiness. Score 83 Gordon & MacPhail has also bottled a 1951 at 40 vol. Moving to cream toffee. Wonderfully fresh peatiness. chocolate. Avoids usual faults. with notes of old leather. Body Creamy. It is complex and spicy. sweet whisky with delicate wisps of smoke adding to the floral complexity. shading to copper. Finish Crisp. A gentle. They made some excellent purchases. Score 85 283 . 40 vol Colour Old gold. bright orange. in astonishing quantities. and are said to have had more Glenlivet maturing in their cellars than the distillery itself had laid down. cut flowers. 46 vol Colour Distinctively deep. Like Horlicks (malted milk). Finish Sherry. The Cellar Collection. perfumed nose quality alongside a slightly oily texture. the palate is firm and concentrated. Mint toffee. Heady. anis.THE GLENLIVET THE GLENLIVET 1983. they would be in the inner cellar that the French call Paradise. potpourri.

The very impressive pagoda still stands. with a similar bottling the following year.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENLOCHY DCL/UDV Western Highlands Site of former distillery North Road. lost its railway spur in the 1970s. and the premises are now used as offices by unrelated businesses. Inverness-shire. In addition to the Ben Nevis malt distillery. PH33 6TQ Region Producer Highlands District HE LOCHY IS A RIVER that flows through the town of Fort William. Fort William. One sophisticated and geographically precise taster was reminded of Lebanese hashish by a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling of Glenlochy in the mid-1990s. at the foot of the mountain Ben Nevis. and changed little over the decades. 284 . In 1995. This was built in 1898–1900. The smokiness is less obvious in some recent bottlings. Fort William for many years had another. and can be seen from the train. The equipment has gone. and was closed in 1983. United Distillers released a Rare Malts edition. creamy. fruity. called Glenlochy. House style T Peaty. in which the wood seems tired but more oxidation and ester notes emerge. which is still very much in operation. With dessert or a book at bedtime. It passed to DCL in 1953.

smooth. ripe fruits. Finish Dry. perfumy sweetness. firm. Body Much fuller. soothing peatiness. Nose Vanilla-flavoured tobacco. Long. the nose is filled with polished oak. Rare Malts. big. raisin. at 40 vol. Distilled 1969. caramelized fruit. Bottled 1998. blackberry.GLENLOCHY GLENLOCHY 25-year-old. Malty. on its books. Nose Attractive. Very light on the nose with hints of peat smoke. Cadenhead. white chocolate. Palate Vanilla. Nose Charred oak and roasted chestnuts. The palate has wisps of flavour floating through. Score 71 Some independent bottlings: Douglas Laing has a 26-year-old. banana. Slight sweet smoke. Body Firm. Finish Lemony. A sweet palate with light. and a slight antiseptic note. Finish Light lemon zest. coconut. Score 70 GLENLOCHY 20-year-old. Soft. Distilled 1977.8 vol Colour Full gold. but falls away in middle.3 vol. attractive flavours. Bottled 1995. Cedar. Score 70 GLENLOCHY 1977. Palate Marron glacé and clotted cream. peaty. which shows more distillery character: light smoke. Score 70 A 1965 from Gordon & MacPhail. the palate is nutty and – as with the other examples – all the action is concentrated in the centre of the mouth. Connoisseurs Choice. is gold in colour. oily. Lemon zest and pepper.2 vol Colour Old gold. 40 vol Colour Full gold to peach. 62. at 50 vol. Palate Marshmallowy maltiness. 55. syrup. Score 70 285 . Individual Cask. and toasty oak. and nut. grassy. smooth. Body Light. demerara sugar. at 53. oily. Score 70 Signatory has bottled a 1974 vintage.

Soft. reconstructed 20 years later. Morayshire. The nose is dry. The distillery. smooth. 43 vol Colour Fino sherry. Aperitif. Flora and Fauna. Body Light to medium. Finish Spicy. Next door is the Mannochmore distillery. then a range of sweeter. IV30 3SF tel 01343 862000 (its whisky was once an important element in Haig blends). and extended in 1962. malty. built in 1971. grassy. Score 75 286 . was built in 1876. a direct rounded dram with a lightly chewy palate and a finish of dry grass. perfumy. Score 76 Some independent bottlings: Coopers Choice has bottled a 22-year-old at 43 vol. ESPECTED IN THE INDUSTRY House style R Flowery. Nose Fresh. A Flora and Fauna edition introduced in the early 1990s has made more connoisseurs aware of it. Palate GLENLOSSIE 10-year-old. south of Elgin.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenlossie Region Producer Diageo Highlands District Speyside (Lossie) address By Elgin. clean. Grass. in the valley of the Lossie. oaty and biscuity with a rounded malty core. sandalwood. spicy notes. dryish at first. heather. and there have since been bottlings from Signatory and Hart. this distillery has a much lower profile among lovers of malts. Malty.

and sandalwood. creamy. peat. grassy finish. Clean maltiness and light touch of butter. gentle touch of grass. Score 77 GLENLOSSIE 16-year-old. 40 vol Colour Full gold to amber. Score 77 GLENLOSSIE 1974. with a hint of sherry and some butteriness. Finish Nutty sherry and a hint of fresh peatiness. Nose Very light sherry. rich feel that has been slightly dulled by time. Smooth. Body Lightly creamy. Score 73 GLENLOSSIE Vintage 1981. Palate Fresh. Finish Fresh. Dryish sherry. Nose Very attractive interplay of sherry. Nose Malt. Bottle 588 of 595. European oak leads a softness to the body balancing out what is a pretty crunchy dram with a dry. Body Slightly lighter and firmer. Cereal grains. malt. was sherryish. Rich amber in colour the nose is reminiscent of stewed tea and Seville orange. medium-bodied with fine tannins. Butt No 1680. as part of its Connoisseurs Choice range.3 vol. Score 76 A Scotch Malt Whisky Society 1981. Connoisseurs Choice. at 55. rounded. Finish Fudge. was somewhere between the two. at 40 vol. florist shop. 43 vol Colour Gold. grassy peatiness. Cereal grains. Score 77 Earlier bottlings of Glenlossie A Gordon & MacPhail 1971. but with light floral notes. Palate Nutty sweetness. Palate Notably clean maltiness. Bottled 1998. buttery notes. Some honeyish. orange. Body Firm.GLENLOSSIE Gordon & MacPhail has released a 1975 at 40 vol. Sweet maltiness. then very late. and floweriness. Sherry Cask Edition. Signatory. Sandalwood. Hart Brothers. Distilled 1981. 43 vol Colour Gold. the palate has a mature. Score 76 287 . Hint of peat. but still with plenty of distillery character. Grass. at 40 vol. again with an interplay of dryness and sweetness. smooth. has retained a youthful lift on the nose: nutmeg. Score 75 A 1961 from Gordon & MacPhail.

still. No obvious island character. Kentucky. has its wood seasoned by air drying (rather than kilning). as a company.uk VC in Scotland. TILL THE BIGGEST SELLING MALT WHISKY HOUSE STYLE S Creamy. (A French perfume house identified 26 aromas.glenmorangie. The sandstone surely contributes to the whisky’s firmness of body. in Bardstown. From the A9 road. 4000). IV19 1PZ 01862 892477 website www. a New York fragrance company managed only 22). In the middle of that decade.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenmorangie Region tel Producer Glenmorangie plc Highlands district Northern Highlands address Tain. Glenmorangie pioneered “official” cask-strength bottlings at the beginning of the 1990s. and French wines. Ross-shire. port. from almond. is styled Head of Distilleries and Maturation. The distillery is near the pretty sandstone town of Tain (pop. leafy. vanilla. much respected and admired. the flowers perhaps to its famously scenty character. from sherry variations such as fino to madeira. Tennessee. Glenmorangie is one of the smaller companies in the industry. and loans its casks for four years to the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg. For all its achievements.com email visitors@glenmorangieplc. More recently. until the Bourbon distillery lost substantial amounts of wood in a fire. Bill Lumsden. It is significant that the man who developed them. A similar arrangement existed with Heaven Hill. and cinnamon to verbena. Restorative or with dessert. 288 . before emerging in a sandy pond about half a mile from the distillery.co. More recently. it began introducing wood finishes. The wood policies at Glenmorangie are some of the most highly developed in the industry. still dividing opinion by its devotion to wood finishes (which offend some whisky conservatives). The company selects its own trees in the Ozark mountains of Missouri. The town and distillery are on the coast about 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of Inverness. bergamot. the short private drive passes between an assortment of trees and a dam shaped like a millpond. The distilling water rises on sandstone hills and flows over heather and clover. Beyond can be seen the waters of the Dornoch firth. and wild mint. it has introduced into some vattings of virgin American oak.

More breezy. Finish Appetizingly spicy. Palate Spicy. walnuts. A suggestion of bananas? Finish Long and rounded. walnut. fleshier. Body Smooth. then the whole potpourri of spiciness. Lovely balance of sweet creaminess and herbal notes. slightly syrupy. Nose Fresh sea air. with age statements Nose GLENMORANGIE 10-year-old. more walnuts. Colour Deep gold. Spicy (cinnamon. A whiff of the sea. Fresh. nutty. mint. sappy. Nose Vanilla. Clean hit of salt. Colour Pale gold.GLENMORANGIE Regular bottlings. smooth. flowery. and malty-sweet tones that are creamy. sandalwood?). Body Medium. with some flowery sweetness. Palate Cookie-like and sweet at first. but with some viscosity. almost buttery. lightly oaky. Body On the light side of medium. Score 81 289 . Enticing. Finish Aromatic. Score 80 Palate GLENMORANGIE 15-year-old. oaky. 43 vol Finished in virgin oak. 43 vol Colour Full reddish amber. SCORE 81 GLENMORANGIE 18-year-old. 40 vol The principal version.

Finish Late. with fresh sandalwood. A handsome whisky. then late. Fuller flavours. and honey. Intensely salty. slightly oily. Finish Buttercups. Palate Cakey. but without chill filtering and at cask strength (in the British version of the old proof system. and brass. more substantial. slightly gritty. Juicy. Palate Richer. and wild mint. Body Light to medium. Score 81 GLENMORANGIE Traditional. Colour Primrose. Oily. firm. 43 vol Mainly for the Asian/Pacific market. Finish Robust. 57. 43 vol Among the distillery’s 14 cellars. An old shop. Sandy-salty notes. Beeswax. Palate Notably soft and malty sweet. Body Smooth.2 vol In the same style as the two above. with butterscotch. Soothing. leather. Score 83 290 . vanilla. Very long. this one is nearest to the sea. The whiskies in this bottling are in the range of 10 to 12 years and more. with fittings in polished oak. Body Big. Colour Dark polished oak. Slippery. all matured in first-fill bourbon barrels. Colour Primrose. Score 80 Other regularly available expressions GLENMORANGIE Cellar 13. gingery spiciness. Very smooth. Nose Soft.6–57. 100º proof. Very long indeed.1 vol). 100° equalled 56. emphatic saltiness. vanilla.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Nose GLENMORANGIE 25-year-old. Nose Very aromatic and spicy.

Garden mint. cerebral whisky. firm. but somewhat overpowers the usual spiciness. Very lively flavours. slippery. Nose Light. 46 vol Colour Very full gold. Salty. Full of fresh flavours. Cask No 1740. Fudge. its quick. 21-year-old. Palate Very nutty. Lightly dry. moving to spice and salt. This is a confident. Palate Beautifully balanced. The fresh oak character combines with the typical walnut. 40 vol Colour Lemony gold. fragrant dryness adding an appetizing full-point. Nose Lightly peaty. Very appetizing. Finish Perfectly pitched balancing dryness. Finish Peaty. cracker-like. Nose A hit of oaky vanilla and spice. Bottled 1995. smoky. Crisp.GLENMORANGIE Some vintage-dated limited bottlings GLENMORANGIE 1979. Slightly oily. Grassy. then lemon and burnt toast. A very malty expression. with some butteriness. Dry. Palate Sweet and juicy. in a gift box. Finish Gentle. Vintage. Score 85 291 . Finish That very slight peat again. 54. Grassy. Slightly sandy or stony. fragrant. then very spicy. greeny gold. then grassy peat. 43 vol Colour Bright. (Bottle 066. hint of peat. Score 84 GLENMORANGIE 1975. The maltiness becomes buttery. and finally a surprisingly emphatic whiff of sea air. Body Light to medium but smooth and textured. a burst of late spiciness and saltiness. flowery. Body Light but smooth and firm. Just when it all seems over. Malty. Palate Firm maltiness. Body Surprisingly rich. 1993). Nose Scottish tablet. Score 84 GLENMORANGIE 1977.2 vol Colour Full amber. soothing.Then big flavour development. Faint smoke. Score 85 GLENMORANGIE 1972. Lots of cinnamon. Body Light.

Score 87 GLENMORANGIE Madeira Wood Finish. Score 86 292 . Score 86 Wood finishes regularly available GLENMORANGIE Port Wood Finish. Aniseed. Similar regimes for the other wood finishes. Very spicy. Body Soft. with pinkish blush. Spices. It also adds sweeter. In no hurry to go. Nose Sweet. complex. relaxing. Then nutty and seed-like as it dries.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENMORANGIE 1971. 43 vol Colour Deep. cakey. chewy. soporific. Salty. Nose Soft. Palate The port seems to bring out butterscotch notes. Nose Pronouncedly fruity and winey. Palate Unusually buttery. Some rummy warmth. and melds beautifully with the spiciness of Glenmorangie. Liquorice. Finish Short and sweet. and smooth. but typically 12 years in bourbon wood and up to two in port pipes. Soothing. Cakey. Barley-sugar sweetness at first: toffeeish. Treacly malt. but becoming almost grainy as it dries on the tongue. winey notes. Body Very soft indeed. Finish Soothing. Lemony. lemony gold. Cinnamon and spices. Colour Orange. 43 vol Colour Amber. Finish Rooty. citrus and spices. Body Rich. A teasing interplay of the madeira and the distillery character. Palate Soft. 43 vol No age statement. Warming.

Released 1997. Palate Very clean toffee and vanilla. and emerging gradually. Finish Lurking behind. Very lively. Released 1995. Body Creamy. Nose Toasty. sustained development of barley-sugar sweetness. spicy flavours. Very fruity. Finish Dry. with a slightly cookie-like. Finish Astonishingly lean and winey. Winey. Score 88 GLENMORANGIE Claret Wood Finish. Palate Sweetish. Cedary. A hint of the sea. 43 vol Colour Warm bronze. Full of fruity. Boxed dates. Late. Faint peat. Palate Dry. Easily drinkable. 43 vol Colour Orangey amber. Dry. cedary start. Finish Liquorice. Score 83. Soft. Limited edition wood finishes (Or. Score 87 293 . coconut. Score 85 GLENMORANGIE Burgundy Wood Finish. developing to nuttiness and remarkably dry fruitiness. Sea air. Nose Very fruity and sweet. Syrupy.) GLENMORANGIE Tain L’Hermitage (Rhône Wine). Nose Fragrant.GLENMORANGIE Palate GLENMORANGIE Sherry Wood Finish. restrained saltiness. Long development of more spicy notes. balancing. where indicated. Long. Nose Nutty. 43 vol The sherry is dry oloroso. winey. Body Soft and curvaceous. sweetness and fruity perfuminess. Colour Darkish gold. tongue-coating. 43 vol Colour Distinctively elegant orange. restrained. Rooty. Great length. dryness of toast and oak. wholly matured in the wood shown. Voluptuous. almost overpowers the distillery character. Becoming slightly raisiny. Body Big. Body Firm.

Palate Very delicate and teasing. body Light but firm. sweet. creamy. Nose Sandalwood. Score 82 GLENMORANGIE Côte de Nuits. with cinnamon and later ginger. Body Smooth. Finish The coastal whisky and near-coastal sherry combine in a clinching hug of saltiness and oakiness.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENMORANGIE Fino Sherry Finish. Body Slightly chewy. smooth. Lightly toasty. Released 2001. Lots of flavour development. Palate Hint of soft. crisp. Extraordinarily long. clean. herbal. refractive. Nose Perfumy. Finish Figs in cream. Body Light. Nose Gentle sea fragrance. Released 1999. An astonishing interplay of flavours. Prunes. lemony. firm. A wonderfully stylish whisky. then lots of typical Glenmorangie spiciness. Released 1999. 43 vol Colour Lemon beginning to ripen. Finish Hint of icing sugar. penetrating. Faintly rhubarby fruitiness and wineyness. balance. Scores for delicacy. two in fino butts. 43 vol Colour Apricot to pale orange. Becoming spicy. Very long. Green peppercorns. Tinge of sourish acidity. Marzipan. Candied plums. Prunes. 43 vol Thirteen years in bourbon barrels. Cinnamon toast. then very light and dry. Nougat. Almonds. Slightly weak. and especially complexity. greeny gold. Finish Firm. Dried raisins. SCORE 87 294 . A touch of iron tonic. Textured. winey. Palate Soft berry fruits. Palate Dry. Score 91 GLENMORANGIE Côte de Beaune. Released 2000. Score 89 GLENMORANGIE Cognac Matured. dusty lemon. Delicate. Colour Pale. 46 vol Nose Sweetish. Very appetizing.

Heavy. Finish Stinging saltiness. Tropical garden. Body Quite rich and toffeeish. Body Softly sweet. sweet. Orange flower water. salt. winey. Score 83 GLENMORANGIE Malaga Wood Finish. Nose Creamy. Palate Dried citrus peel.6 vol Colour Dark walnut. Cask No 3078. 45.9 vol Mainly for the French market. Creamy. but quickly drying. Body Lightly textured. Score 87 GLENMORANGIE Rum Wood. Sexy. complex.GLENMORANGIE GLENMORANGIE Sauternes Wood Finish. greeny gold. Playful. madeira. Introduced 2002. Palate Luscious and toffeeish. 46 vol Colour Yellow-green plum. Colour Shimmery. buttery. Yee. The more raisiny notes of malaga seem to play hide-and-seek in the background. and oak. Palate Cedary. Finish Gentle. Musk. 43 vol Colour Deepish greeny gold. Nose Hessian. Finish The characteristic Glenmorangie salt comes through very late. Nose Rich. 56. Very nutty indeed. Finish Slightly almondy bitterness. Palate Delicate. Curaçao. rich. Lemon blossom. Sacks of dried fruits. Citrus zest. Score 85 295 . Body Silky. then sudden explosion of sand. Nose Distinctive. Released 2002. Score 88 GLENMORANGIE Madeira Matured. sackcloth.

Finish Firm resolution of flavours. earthy. 53. walnut. Becomes rooty and slightly bitter. Impeccably assembled. Port Wood. Nonchillfiltered. Scores for robustness and joie-de-vivre. Nose “Rough”. Score 83 296 . Nose Fragrant. Cask Strength. Palate Fruity. rather than elegance or sophistication. Finish Sandalwood.2 vol Colour Gold.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Other Limited Editions GLENMORANGIE Manager’s Choice 200l. smooth. Unfolds through a long development of flavours.2 vol Colour Bronze. Very port-tasting and curiously unrefined. All the Glenmorangie flavours come powering through. Rosé tinge. Becoming marshmallow-like and malty. salt. Body Relatively big. Score 86 GLENMORANGIE Manager’s Choice 2000. Brought to mind fruit skins and almondy cherry pits. fruity. Body Big. fresh. 57. Pronounced sandalwood. with suggestions of anis and liquorice. Palate Starts sweet.

40 vol The earlier of two millennium bottlings. Leafy. Introduced 2001. and rioja. Scores points for eccentricity. Some tannins. spicy top notes. for the British supermarket Sainsbury’s. Very slow development of flavours. Colour Full gold. (Or even tamarind?) Nose Assam tea. Score 84 GLENMORANGIE Three Cask. Missouri Cask Reserve. all are now very hard to find. smooth. Underlying vanilla sweetness. bourbon. Body Slightly syrupy. Nose Fragrant. Hint of brown sugar. Distilled 1991. dryish. from first-fill bourbon barrels. Finish Late surge of warmth.GLENMORANGIE GLENMORANGIE. Palate Restrained. Big and robust all round. Finish Light. Body Biting into fruit. 55. Body Medium. Palate Malty-sweet start. spicy. Glenmorangie has produced a wealth of special editions. Dessert apples. Palate Similar to the Cellar 13.7 vol Colour Dark. Below are some examples. walnut. Score 80 297 . Score 79 Collectable Glenmorangie Over the years. with some acidity and bitterness. Creamy. 12-year-old. crunchy. More rioja and less vanilla than might be expected. salty. Palate Scented.6 vol Colour Bright. Nose Blackberry pie dusted with icing sugar. Juicy. 40 vol Plain charred oak. warm gold. herbal. The Native Ross-shire GLENMORANGIE 10-year-old. but perhaps more buttery. sandalwood. Finish Blackberry juice. Colour Soft. refreshing. then butterscotch. burnished orange. Score 80 GLENMORANGIE Millennium Malt. An almost spritzy. toasty dryness. 57. but the whisky character is masked or muddled. Body Soft. Released 2002. Finish Robust. Nose Lightly oaky. pale gold.

Score 85 GLENMORANGIE Original. grassy. spicy and remarkably warming. Score 82 GLENMORANGIE 21-year-old. Very oily. 21-year-old. This version. fleshy. Finish Firm. This character is in the background throughout. and oily. Then toasty and peaty. Very firm. Palate Toffeeish. then big development of spices. Issued in 1993 to mark the company’s 150th anniversary. Lemon grass and pronounced peat. Earthy. Sweet. Nose Intensely spicy. Fudgey. with walnut. Nose Soft. restrained spiciness. Body Medium. 43 vol Presented in a Caithness Glass decanter in the shape of Glenmorangie’s stills. dating from the time when the distillery operated its own maltings.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENMORANGIE Elegance. in a hand-thrown stoneware “lemonade” bottle. 43 vol Sesquicentennial bottling. almost mustardy. Score 86 298 . very soft. Lightly oaky. oaky peatiness. is now hard to find. Finish Peaty. Finish Juicy oakiness. Palate More oak and vanilla. oily. Then long. warming. then a surprisingly fresh surge of peatiness. juicy. Very soft. clean (almost crisp) peatiness. Toffeeish. Body Medium. Colour Greeny gold. very satisfying. Nose Very distinctive. salty. Colour Deep gold. Palate Flowery. 24-year-old. A hint of peat. Colour Walnut. Nutty. 43 vol An “extra special” millennium edition. clean. Rounded. Body Soft. Very soothing.

have in recent years showcased Glenrothes (rendered variously as one or two words) as their house malt. London. under the rubric “Berrys’ Own Selection”. but also in the company’s stores at London’s Heathrow airport (terminals 3 and 4). After dinner. These are the principal bottlings of Glenrothes.G L E N ROT H E S GLENROTHES Region address The Edrington Group Highlands District Speyside (Rothes) Burnside Street. which was built in Scotland. complex. 299 . spicy-fruity. AB38 7AA Producer T of London’s wine and spirit merchants. established in 1878. In 2002. Both Glenrothes and Cutty Sark are sold. It also represents a return to tradition. and they are always vintage dated. with a partially “handwritten” label. is one of five in the small town of Rothes. The distillery. sweet. groceries. and a favourite among blenders. and wine. The vintages described below have been released since the fourth edition of this book. This reflects the new appreciation of Scotland’s finest whiskies. selling tea. the company also introduced its own range of bottlings from other distilleries. Berry Brothers & Rudd. not only in Berrys’ 1730s premises in stately St James’s. Aberlour. as well as combining them in house blends. It is named after the famously fast tea clipper Cutty Sark. The firm of Berrys’ began in the 1690s. Cutty Sark was launched in the 1920s. Once. many respected wine merchants in England as well as Scotland offered their own bottlings of single malts. HE MOST ARISTOCRATIC House style Perfumy. Rothes. Glenrothes’ quietly noble whisky has traditionally been a component of Berrys’ internationally known Cutty Sark.

Gently warming. old. 43 vol Colour Amber. SCORE 85 Glenrothes 1966. Develops juicy. cough sweet. 41 vol Copper with a greeny rim. Everlasting. Supple. 52. soft. 43 vol colour Old gold. spice. floral. light. Fine tannins. Berrys’ Own Selection. Body Gentle. Heather and sweet fruits. Colour SCORE 87 Glenrothes 1967. subtle yet rich. allspice. as in Pontefract cakes. dry wood.3 vol Colour Old gold. Finish Soothing. SCORE 82 300 . Sweet tobacco. and elegant. Drying. Palate Complex. Body Big. Palate Slightly tannic. anis. and walnut. Berrys’ Own Selection. prune. SCORE 82 Glenrothes 1973. nutmeg. Rich. Fine ash. Spanish root. floral. Palate The liquorice more emphatic now. woody. Mushroom. Nose A subtle suggestion of soft liquorice. and raisin flowing together. 46. Berry fruits. Nose More fine and long. Palate Cedar. mouthwatering flavours. sophisticated. Coffee bean. Vanilla. Body Generous. chewy fruit. Coconut. Body Generous. fig. Nose Lean. cooked fruits. SCORE 90 Nose Glenrothes 1971. Palate Layers of orange. Good balance between savoury notes and dried fruits. Finish Long.8 vol Colour Mahogany. Lots of flavour development. complex. spice. Finish Long. apple. Body Dry. drying.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenrothes 1989. Aniseed. soft. Madeira cake. Flowers and spices galore. Finish Long. Quintessential Glenrothes. relaxing. Nose Dark. liquorice. Finish Nutty.

Score 78 A 1975 from the same bottler has concentrated flavours: rose-like. and full-bodied. A 1985. is lean and lemony. had a juniper note. Score 89 A 1990 from Signatory. A madeira finish from the same year had a dusty note. at 46. shows its age. Classic Glenrothes. is fresh and mouth-filling. and wood. ripe. vanilla. at 46 vol. hard cookies.1 vol. cherries. Sweet but short in the finish. cereal grains.8 vol. or crackers. is rich. and bran coated with buttery toffee. has fondant icing. Both tasted as work in progress. at 57 vol.G L E N ROT H E S Some independent bottlings A 10-year-old from Adelphi. leafy bonfires. Score 70 A 33-year-old. Score 85 A 1987. with citrus. Score 85 A 25-year-old from Old Malt Cask. Peanut brittle. from Hart Brothers. MacKillop’s Choice. Coopers Choice. The palate is slightly faded. Luxurious and elegant. A little flat and numb in the palate. sweet charm. with some charred oak. and sweet oak. walnuts. with suggestions of desiccated coconut and hazelnut. coconut. like dried fruits. Score 87 A 1968 from Duncan Taylor. earthy. at 57. at 56 vol. Score 77 A 1961 from Gordon & MacPhail is fragrant with a hint of camp fires. sweet almonds. is plummy. but with a discreet. Tartness in the aroma. Score 79 301 . at 50 vol.

Palate Apple cake. With no visitor centre and few bottlings. it has not had the attention it merits. With Auchroisk (“The Singleton”) as a neighbour. 46 vol Colour Amber. Glentauchers was founded in 1898 and rebuilt in 1965. Score 72 302 . SPECIAL DISTILLERY BOTTLING House style Clovey dryness and malty sweetness. Doesn’t deliver promise on nose. Score 68 Palate Glentauchers 1990. Finish Short. A touch of heather. it is in the countryside near the village of Mulben. Raisins. Glentauchers 15-year-old. Fruity and flowery. in a long corridor. Keith. Gloss paint. Gordon & MacPhail. Soothing at its best. Body Light and dry. This is one of a handful of bottlings in recent years.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glentauchers Producer Region address Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands District Speyside Mulben. 40 vol Colour Amber. Finish Short. Hazelnut and chocolate spread. Full cream milk. Cloves. Body Light and dry. AB5 2YL tel 01542 860272 A launched in 2000 is the most recent official expression from Glentauchers. Banffshire. Nose Fat. between the distilling towns of Rothes and Keith. Nose Polished oak.

A visit to Glenturret is now marketed as The Famous Grouse Experience. it must be a very a small amount. tucked in a pretty glen just an hour by road from Edinburgh or Glasgow. flowery. Glenturret also has a restaurant providing Scottish dishes (no reservations necessary for lunch. the French liqueur company. There is no monument to his alleged 28. in Perthshire. Towser’s successor is called Amber. There are records of whisky making in the neighbourhood at least as early as 1717. which was very extensive and idiosyncratic. These attributes proved irresistible to its owners The Edrington Group. he is remembered in a statue.co.uk VC Producer A an “experience”? Glenturret is certainly a distillery: the most visitable. James Fairlie.899 victims (who documented them so precisely on behalf of the Guinness Book of Records?). older after dinner. The distillery is on the banks of the River Turret.famousgrouse. one of the smallest. and a claimant to being Scotland’s oldest. A proportion of Glenturret is said to be included in the “recipe” for The Famous Grouse. Given the size of the distillery and the sales of Grouse. Although its world-famous cat Towser is now hunting mice in the heavens. fresh. though this sits oddly in the location: one of the most rustic and traditional distilleries. DISTILLERY OR House style Dry. and became part of Highland Distillers (now Edrington) in 1990. Glenturret’s new role has led to a rationalization in the number of bottlings. Given the amount of mouse-tempting grain on the premises. The distillery itself was dismantled in the 1920s. this blend has been linked to the distillery. PH7 4HA tel 01764 656565 website www. near Crieff. by way of a variety of hi-tech means. Young as an aperitif. then revived in 1959 by a noted whisky enthusiast. Perthshire. It was acquired in 1981 by Cointreau.GLENTURRET GLENTURRET Region address The Edrington Group Highlands District Eastern Highlands Crieff. The visitor is presented with a very imaginative and entertaining range of experiences. As their biggest selling product is The Famous Grouse. and some of the buildings on the present site date from 1775. who have made it their principal visitor centre. 303 . most distilleries employ a cat. nutty. dinner for groups only).

Wood comes through on back palate. long. freesia. Cough sweets. Finish Gentle. Palate Nutty. Body Light. Nose Coconut oil. Seems to vanish.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenturret 10-year-old.8 vol Colour Pale gold. warming. Body Marshmallow maltiness. Score 76 Palate Glenturret 1987. Score 85 The Glenturret 1980.2 vol Colour Full gold. Palate Chlorodyne. Limited Edition. Heavy. Vanilla. Soothing. 40 vol Colour Pale greeny gold. Toffee Finish Minty. Condensed milk. Tangerine. cut flowers. Sweet. Sweet and malty. Finish Clean. nutty. great balance. restrained. 55. Some soft. fresh malt. peaty notes. Score 85 304 . Body Light. Nose Nasturtiums. Nose Beautiful. 54. Cinder toffee.

was the most substantial in this flight.5 per cent. with grassy.1 per cent. and orange-blossom floweriness. Flapjack. at 55. at 51. Nose Peachy. Score 83 Some independent bottlings A 10-year-old from Hart Bros. Palate Honeyed. at 12 years and 43 vol. Body Soft. light malted milk creaminess. It is toasty. Limited Edition of 522 Bottles Colour Warm gold. Coconut oil. honeysuckle. strawberries. bran. bread and butter pudding. is lightly floral. Spiciness and smokiness. juicy malt. drying. Pillow-like. becoming buttery in time.3 vol. score 79 A 1990 Port Finish from Chieftain’s Choice. and some oaky dryness. score 82 A 1985 from Signatory. Stewed orange. Nose Barley sugar. becoming crisp in the finish. lemon. score 76 A 1990 from Gordon & MacPhail. cooking apple. has aromas of fresh wood.GLENTURRET Glenturret 1977. 53. with a nutty maltiness and balancing oak. nutty flavours. Palate Grassy. at 40 per cent. at 57. has a whiff of beechwood smoke. Perfect balance between dessert apple fruitiness. Finish Powerful and soothing. long. Score 86 The Glenturret 1972. fruity. floral. score 89 305 . Slight cereal-grain oiliness. Body Light but creamy. but stumbles in an abrupt. cream. but attractive. sap. pineapple. maltiness. Slighty tight. is winey. score 65 A 17-year-old from Wilson & Morgan.1 per cent. score 70 A 1986 from James MacArthur. at 59. with suggestions of rose-hips. hard finish. with suggestions of malted milk and Terry’s chocolate oranges. and wort. It hits its stride more comfortably in mid-palate. sweet graininess. has the aroma of cut flowers. liqueur-like. Well balanced. and layers of flavours: raisins. gentle. Finish Soft.2 vol Colour Straw.

Aberdeenshire. owners since the 1970s.8 vol Colour Gold. There is still some stock to be found. though fewer than three or four years ago. Nose Light. Long. mandarin. AB42 0XY Region Producer Highlands T the East Coast has lost all its distilleries. Body Sharply fresh. gradually withdrew from the production of spirits during the 1980s. where the river Ugie reaches the sea. Glenugie 1976. resiny. nutmeg. Palate Assertive. Signatory. and the surviving buildings date from the 1870s. Book-at-bedtime. Green grass. The Whitbread brewing company. Can be medicinal. This one was close to the remnants of a fishing village near Peterhead. Finish Lively. 51. Cinnamon. SCORE 74 306 . The site incorporates the stump of a windmill. Its whisky-making equipment was removed. when the whisky industry was suffering one of its cyclical downturns. HE CENTRAL STRETCH OF House style Flowery. and that was Glenugie’s fate in 1982–83. Industrial premises in Aberdeenshire were being snapped up by small engineering firms servicing the oil boom.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS GLENUGIE Whitbread/Long John District Eastern Highlands site of former distillery Peterhead. There had been distilling there since the 1830s. and bottlings are still being made. vanilla pod.

The distillery was founded in 1825. He was also a local Member of Parliament. Nose Smoke. Body Rich. The water for the whisky came from the Cowie. issued as a special release in 2003? This voluptuous malt bore a recommended price tag of almost £1. The distillery’s name derived from the glen that runs through the Ury district. and close to the fishing port of Stonehaven. a river known for salmon and trout. variously filled with coffee and cherry liqueurs Perhaps even peppermint.000 miles in as many hours without a break. The burnt skin of chestnuts roasting. partly to provide a market for barley in a period of agricultural depression.8 vol Colour Dark orange.G L E N U RY ROYA L Glenury Royal Producer Region Highlands site of former distillery DCL Eastern Highlands Stonehaven. Glenury 1953. It was an excellent malt. oaky dryness. Glenury Royal was on the east coast. judging from recent bottlings. The distillery was mothballed in 1985. Kincardineshire. Finish Sappy. spicy. fruity. and through whose influence he was given permission by King William IV to call his whisky “Royal”. 42. AB3 2PY District ever had the impact of Glenury’s 50-year-old. and the site was later sold for a housing development. 50-year-old. Barclay had a friend at court to whom he referred coyly as “Mrs Windsor”. Founder Captain Robert Barclay was an athlete. smooth. AS ANY VALEDICTORY BOTTLING House style H Aromatic. south of Aberdeen. Score 89 307 . known for an odd achievement: he was the first man to walk 1.000/$1. Palate A whole box of liqueur chocolates concentrated into my tasting glass Dark chocolate. Book-at-bedtime. luxurious.600 a bottle.

rounded. Perfect balance. Spicy oak. Body Firm. Body Very firm. Palate Excellent concentration. dry. firm. Complex. plum. tightly combined flavours. Tree-bark woodiness. 50 vol Colour Amber. peanut skin.4 vol Colour Shining gold. Long. elegant. Finish Long and attractive. Finish Long and nutty. Rare Malts. Baked apple. Finish Like biting into a green leaf. Honey and chestnut. sherry. Rare Malts. chocolate spread. Treacle toffee. black cherry. garden mint. Soft and generous: hessian. 40 vol Colour Amber. SCORE 84 GLENURY ROYAL 23-year-old. Hard toffee. SCORE 79 308 . more of an elegant middleweight. Distilled 1971. cedary notes. then an explosion of long. pistachio nuts. lemons. Less sherryish muscle. and polished oak. reddish amber. Nose Nutty.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Glenury Royal 21-year-old. Body Long. almondy. nuts. 58. Finish Very long. Palate The fruit sits heavily on the palate. smooth. Palate Honey. and chewy. 61. autumnal. Nose Peat. warming smokiness. Body Medium. Coffee. Starts oaky. Nose More wood on show. Palate Smooth.3 vol Colour Deep. Fragrant. Distilled 1970. Score 81 Glenury-Royal 1972. A superb example of a Highland malt. Old Malt Cask. SCORE 80 GLENURY ROYAL 28-year-old. Cinnamon. Nose Mellow and mature. angelica. hitting as an oak-fisted heavyweight. oloroso sherry. beautifully rounded. Gordon & MacPhail.

nothing much has happened.uk Region Producer VC HIS GREAT ORCADIAN DISTILLERY is now the only islander in The Edrington Group. but combining all the elements of a classic single malt: smokiness (with its own heather-honey accent). with the sale of Bunnahabhain. and length of finish. with dessert or a cigar. 309 . So far. At 18 or 25 years old.HIGHLAND PA R K highland park Address The Edrington Group Highlands island Orkney Kirkwall. Presumably the idea was to concentrate on Highland Park as the group’s island malt. The yet older vintages with a book at bedtime. It is definitely in an island style. Orkney. It dates from at least 1798.highlandpark. the big. roundness. on Islay. smoothness. Highland Park is the northernmost of Scotland’s distilleries. heathery nature of Orkney’s peat. maltiness. Devotees might expect a clamour of new bottlings from Highland Park: labelled to emphasize the distinctly young. the winds that blow salt on to the shore. and pitch the distinctiveness of Orkney against fashionable Islay.co. Highland Park is the greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky. the simple beauty of the maltings at the distillery. fullness of flavour. bulbous stills. House style T Smoky and full-flavoured. Subject to ambitious plans for the Shetland islands. but no doubt it will. KW15 1SU Tel 01856 874619 Website www.

smoky. heathery. Toasted almond. Palate Lightly salty. delicious. SCORE 92 310 . Very aromatic and appetizing. Squashed apricot. cinnamon. SCORE 87 HIGHLAND PARK 18-year-old. 40 vol Colour Amber.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Nose HIGHLAND PARK 12-year-old. Fudge. honey. Finish Treacle toffee. pine nuts. malty. Thick and sweet. 43 vol Colour Refractive. Heather honey. and maltiness. Leafy (vine leaves?). firm. Palate Succulent. peat. Lots of flavour development: nuts. dryish ginger. hot. Botrytis. 40 vol Colour Amber. Great balance between caramelized fruit. Malt. exceptionally smooth. Finish Teasing. rounded. “garden bonfire” sweetness. fresh oak. Body Chewy. Body Medium. pale gold. sap. smoky fragrance. very dry. Body Remarkably smooth. honey. heather-honey sweetness. notably flowery. Finish Spicy. and heathery smoke. heathery. SCORE 90 Nose Palate HIGHLAND PARK 15-year-old. hint of sherry. with smoky dryness. oaky. Mouth-filling. Smoky. over-ripe pear. Nose Warm. beech nut.

becoming deeper in flavour. honey.7 vol Colour Amber to copper. Palate Minty. Nose Immense complexity. melon. light smoke. roses. Great power. SCORE 93 HIGHLAND PARK 1977. honey. Very bitter black chocolate. 53. white chocolate. scented flavours. Pistachio nuts. SCORE 95 HIGHLAND PARK 25-year-old. Lingering flowery. Nose Polished oak. Orange peels. 43 vol Colour Pale walnut.5 vol An earlier bottling. Fudge. Finish Smooth. smooth. Bicentenary Vintage Reserve. Finish Violets. 43 vol Now very hard to find. Nose Full. SCORE 93 HIGHLAND PARK 25-year-old. Turkish delight. with light fruitiness. Nutty toffee. Fragrant. Leather upholstery. perfumy smokiness. Palate More honey. rounded. Colour Apricot. Cedar. score 94 311 . Creamy. nutty oak. lemon. Palate Starts with smooth honey. honeyish. Colour Amber. Freshly peeled satsumas. Fine tannins. Distilled 1967. slightly chewy. Body Layered. Rum and raisin. Nose Honey. Soothing. oloroso sherry. Dark cherry flavours. Nougat. Astonishing complexity and length. dried heather. with perfect poise. Balancing dryness. with smooth background smokiness. Christmas spices. Finish Lemon. Finish Long and subtle. Palate Mature. Long development of drier flavours. Body Firm. Fruity. 50. with bitter orange and scenty lemon. developing to a smooth. Light smoke. rounded. Body Full. Body Firm satin richness. Chocolate.HIGHLAND PA R K HIGHLAND PARK 24-year-old.

It closed in 1985. 46 vol Colour Golden satin. but was reopened by Allied in 1989. SCORE 71 312 . Slightly floury. Imperial 15-year-old. Finish Gently dry. Slight hint of smoky dryness. Some sweet lemon. then drying. dusty. Imperial’s unusually large stills make it hard to use flexibly. Body Thin but smooth. Palate Lemon skins. Some cellar character. Key lime pie. Slight haze. ALT LOVERS THIRSTING FOR THIS House style Big and (often sweetly) smoky. The Imperial distillery is in Carron. Rounds out with a little water. with which it was historically linked. Not only the fruit filling but also the pastry.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS imperial Producer Region Address Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands district Speyside Carron. AB34 7QP M underrated and rarely bottled Speysider have in recent years been permitted a 15-year-old Special Distillery bottling from proprietors Allied. “You either make a lot of Imperial or none at all. After dinner or at bedtime. Special Distillery Bottlings. Falls away somewhat. It was founded in 1897 and extended in 1965. Nose Lemon meringue pie. then mothballed in 1998. Morayshire. just across the river from Dailuaine.” commented one observer. becoming quite intense.

Flora and Fauna. ASTES MORE LIKE A COASTAL MALT House style Dry. oak. 313 . lingering appetizingly on the tongue. INCHGOWER 14-year-old. Score 78. Score 79. The Inchgower distillery was built in 1871. at 46 vol. A 19-year-old from Cadenhead . and finally a whiff of saltier sea character. Body Light to medium. at cask strength. and resin. Nose An almost chocolatey spiciness. Score 76 Other versions of Inchgower A Rare Malts 1974. in its saltiness. Palate Starts sweet and malty. Restorative or aperitif. but not far from the mouth of the river Spey. nutty (roast chestnuts). AB56 2AB tel 01542 836700 T than a Speysider. and edible-seaweed flavours. Its whisky is an important element in the Bell’s blend. elegant Speyside style. smoke. dry and complex. this can seem assertive. It is both. eventually becoming drier and salty. then sweet notes like edible seaweed. or even astringent. and expanded in 1966.INCHGOWER Inchgower Region Address Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside Buckie. is chocolatey. salty. had sea air in the nose. that can become addictive. Banffshire. 43 vol Colour Pale gold. Finish Very salty. salted cashew. with lots of flavour developing. the distillery being on the coast near the fishing town of Buckie. Smooth. To the palate expecting a more flowery. With familiarity. Overall.

G82 1ND Producer when Ballantine’s distillery complex at Dumbarton was demolished in 2002. Seems young. Palate Summery. Empire biscuits. Dumbarton. Score 72 314 . Lomond-still whisky. The towering 1930s building had stood like a castle at the point where the river Leven flows into the Clyde estuary. One of the malt distilleries. the whisky tastes a little immature. had conventional stills. with nuts at Christmas when older. this complex operated not only a column still making grain whisky. elderflower. called Inverleven. Despite 15 years. Body Light. 58. oily. With a summer salad when young. The malt stills had ceased operation in 1991–92. Cadenhead. LANDMARK VANISHED House style A Perfumy. Inverleven 15-year-old. The other produced a heavier. two more Lowlanders ceding superiority to the Highlands and Islands. but also two pot-still houses to produce malt whisky for the Ballantine blends. Dunbartonshire.1 vol Colour Straw.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Inverleven Region Address Allied Distillers Ltd Lowlands district Western Lowlands 2 Glasgow Road. twine. Finish Sweet. For many years. fruity. nose Tough and hard.

Gordon & MacPhail. Gordon & MacPhail. 40 vol Colour Straw. Palate Juicy. Nose Freshly cut. Score 71 Score 71 A 1979 edition from the same bottler was slightly less fruity and drier. DUMBARTON (Inverleven Stills). Nectarine. with surprisingly fresh. smoky dryness. Cadenhead. Score 67 A 21-year-old from the same bottler was very gingery and orangey. Fragrant. fruity. 51. melon. orangey notes. Body Lightly creamy. Score 71 A 1966 (bottled 1984) from Cadenhead was similar but more cedary and spicy. Soft. Palate Some malt but insubstantial. peaty smokiness.INVERLEVEN Inverleven 1986. Scented. Finish Refreshing. stalky dryness. 40 vol Colour White wine. Nose Distinctly clean. boot polish. Body Flat. Slightly woody. ripe. Orange cream. Stalky. Score 69 315 . Nose Seems artificially sweet. summery. 27-year-old. pear. Finish Dry and hard. stalky woodiness. green plum. but an unusual and very pleasant malt. Score 69 INVERLEVEN 1985. Angelica. Slightly woody. Finish Grassy. sweet pears. Body Firmly creamy. Palate Cream flavour. Nutty. 1969.4 vol Colour Bright orangey amber.

There is a whisky named after him in the Jura range. the distillery has been more active in introducing new products and marketing them with some vigour. were made for the Japanese market. soft. The younger was clean. mature whisky. and rebuilt in 1876. Although a couple of buildings dating back to its early days are still in use. “Superstition” is a sweeter. salty.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Jura Tel Whyte and Mackay Ltd Highlands island Jura Address Craighouse. In the British market. Aperitif. The marginally less young version was more earthy. like its marketing story. but seems a little confected. flowery. Jura. Under new ownership.isleofjura. Jura’s is delicate – but gains power with age. He went there to find a healthy. Argyll. The first distillery on the site seems to have been founded around 1810. among whom its most famous was George Orwell. malty. VERY VISITOR TO ISLAY House style Piney. peaceful place in which to write the novel 1984. and assertive. richer. These outnumber people. PA60 7XT 01496 820240 website www. While Islay has some very assertive whiskies. and enlarged in the 1970s. on an island 55 by 11 kilometres (34 by 7 miles). Jura has about 225 human inhabitants. Both showed considerable potential. the present distillery was built during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The name Jura derives from the Norse word for deer. 316 . at three and four years old. and fruity. with good maritime flavours.com Region Producer VC E also makes the crossing to Jura. While Islay has seven working distilleries. Two extraordinarily young bottlings. Jura has just the one. lightly oily. The two are so close that they tend to be seen as one.

Palate Broad with light smoke all the way playing against central tangerine-flavoured sweetness. Sweet hay. Finish Squeeze of fruit juice. Nose Nutty and malty with a slight metallic note. Nose Very light peat smoke. Opens very slowly. Rhubarb jam. 42 vol Colour Gold. Body Dry. but also some sherryish sweetness. salty. 40 vol The vatting for this version additionally contains substantially older malts. oily-creamy. firm. Finish A little malty sweetness and some saltiness. Score 70 Isle of Jura. lightly piney. Finish Nutty. dry. Orange. Mossy. 45 vol Colour Bronze satin. Heather moor. then malt. Palate Ground coriander. Score 72 Isle of Jura Legacy 10-year-old. marine. Ferns. earthy. 16-year-old. Developing sweet creaminess. 40 vol Colour Full gold to bronze. soft.JURA Isle of Jura Superstition. Body Smooth. SCORE 78 317 . Buttered scones. Some complexity. Palate Piney. with a surprising sting. Colour Amber. rising dough. Nose Oily. Fresh and clean. Body Light. Nose Freshly chopped pine trees. Dryish. Finish Salty. honeyish. slowly developing a slight island dryness and saltiness. Turf and flour sacks. SCORE 77 Isle of Jura Orwell. Sweetish. Nose Quite woody and prickly to start. Forest floor. SCORE 80 Palate ISLE OF JURA 10-year-old. sweet bracken. Body Light. slightly oily. Finish Salty. No Age Statement. Waxy. Lunchtime. 40 vol Colour Bright gold. Palate Firm.

Finish Soft fruit. Old but balanced. SCORE 80 Isle of Jura 27-year-old. melon. old spice cupboard. 55. Body Dryish. Refreshing acidity. bracken. Finish Sweet malt and smoke. is sweet and simple. Palate Quite perfumed. Tunisian spices. Young. Candied peel. Nose Mature. peppery note. and some nutty dryness. wood-derived aromas: porcini mushroom.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Isle of Jura 21-year-old. Finish Long. autumnal. Chocolatey. at 40 vol. Score 71 A 1989 from Gordon & MacPhail. black cherry. Finish Nutty. Nose Mature. Body Luscious. Smoked meat. Stillman’s Dram. Nose Cedary. Nose Wet clay. angelica. SCORE 80 Palate Isle of Jura 33-year-old. with pulpy fruits in the palate. dull rim. Tobacco leaf. 45 vol Colour Amber. but well balanced. Light balsamic note. Then surprisingly fruity and tropical. has reminders of smoky power. Fruitiness becomes more orangey. SCORE 80 Some independent bottlings of Jura A 6-year-old from Adelphi. SCORE 80 Isle of Jura 36-year-old. 63. Body Chewy. at 60.5 vol. Body Chewy. Though faded.6 vol Colour Copper. 43 vol Colour Pale orange. Palate Oak. Palate Rich and sweet with a heathery. Still sweet after all this time. Tinned pineapple.7 vol Colour Old gold. cooked peach. with a crisp finish. Sweet tobacco. papaya. is slightly prickly on the nose. Score 70 318 .

Glasgow. Pine. as part of the complex already housing the Strathclyde grain distillery. The original owner was the American company Schenley. restrained fruitiness. Aperitif. SCORE 68 319 . Soft fruits. Signatory. Connoisseurs Choice. In the 1980s. SCORE 72 KINCLAITH 1967. 40 vol Colour Amber. G5 0ND Region Producer Lowlands T of malt distilleries in Glasgow. During the 1960s. Gordon & MacPhail has bottled one or two versions from successive years. bracken. body Lightly chewy. when the bulk of Kinclaith production was presumably going into the Long John blends. 52. The last was Kinclaith. nutty. Melon. Palate Light. Palate KINCLAITH 1975. Melon. soft. faintly sulphury. HERE WAS ONCE QUITE A SCATTER House style Light. through its subsidiaries Seager Evans and Long John. Nose All wood derived. built in 1957. Recently. hickory. and Kinclaith was dismantled. Signatory issued the bottling described below. Melon? Finish Soothing. Finish Dry. some sherry. Vanilla.3 vol Colour Amber. Sherry. delicate. Body Light. melony.KINCLAITH kinclaith Whitbread/Long John district Western Lowlands site of former distillery Moffat Street. tasty. some trickled out to independent bottlers. Good length. the bottlers Cadenhead released a typically gingery but quite smoky 20-year-old. Nose Smoky. Long John was sold to Whitbread in 1975. Gentle and oaky.

at least – when it was the most promoted malt in the portfolio of IDV. The water with which the whisky is made rises from granite and flows over peat. along with the year of distillation. The distillery was established in 1898. In the US. The notion is that the malt is bottled when it is mature. where some consumers believe the guarantee “12-year-old” essential to identify a premium malt. Knockando is a sophisticated malt. this phrase is used. The distillery’s name. with suggestions of berry fruits. on the label of the principal version. At older ages. the whisky gains greatly in complexity and sherry character. The Singleton/Auchroisk. before the merger that created Diageo in 1997. Aberlour. though there are very subtle differences. Aperitif. rather than at a specific age. Knockando is hidden in a fold in the hills overlooking the river Spey at a fine spot for salmon fishing. Knockando is among a small group of malts that are especially influential in the J&B (Justerini & Brooks) blends (see Glen Spey. and its labelling policy is somewhat elaborate. pronounced “knock-AN-do” (or ’du) sounds allusively comical to English speakers. 320 .A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Knockando Region address Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside Knockando. but translates perfectly sensibly as “a little black hill”. Banffshire. ORE WAS HEARD OF House style M Elegant. the malt is marketed under its season of distillation. AB38 7RT tel 01340 882000 this elegant whisky – in Britain. and Strathmill). In Britain. One season does not differ dramatically from another.

43 vol Available mainly in the US. Rounder. Late warmth. Shortbread. and light peat. Colour Medium gold. Almonds. Nose Faint. Score 76 KNOCKANDO 18-year-old. Very smooth indeed. 1980. drier. Lemon grass. Score 78 KNOCKANDO Slow Matured. medium gold. Colour Bright. Raspberries. Nose Seems faintly peatier than the version above. Very appetizing. Body Light but smooth. sweetish. Gently appetizing. peat. Shortbread. Nice balance of late lemon. Finish Late fruit. grassy. Nose More shortbread. toffeeish dryness. Creamy. Bottled 1998. Body Creamier.KNOCKANDO KNOCKANDO 1989. 43 vol Available mainly in France. Palate Soft. 43 vol Colour Bright gold. Finish Crisp. Finish Nutty. Tightly combined flavours. Palate Nuttier. Faintly honeyed. Lemon zest. Marshmallow. Score 78 321 . Body Fractionally oilier? Palate Possibly more lemon and raspberry fruitiness. spicier. lemon grass. Distilled 1980.

was notably raspberryish and on the dry side. Bottled 1999. Rich. had more assertiveness and depth. and nut. Remarkably appetizing. Soothing. Score 81 Earlier versions of Knockando A 1976 edition called Special Selection. Delicious interplay of lively flavours: cream. Palate Nutty. Nose Soft. Nose Rich for a relatively light malt. Nose Very complex and elegant. Palate A more sherried version. Late fruit. Freshly oaky. Score 77 An Extra Old Reserve from 1968. Distilled 1977. Soothing. 21-year-old. fruit. Raisiny. Smooth. Textured. and sugar-sweet. Finish Late. Faintly smoky. Body Smooth. Lightly sherryish. Lots of flavour development. 43 vol Colour Medium to full gold. 43 vol Colour Full gold to pale amber. Finish Aniseedy sherry. Complex. Finish Aniseedy sherry. Body Full. Body Surprisingly full. Satisfying. Creamy. Tightly combined flavours gradually unfold. 43 vol Colour Full gold. Score 79 KNOCKANDO Master Reserve 1977. nutty flavours.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS KNOCKANDO Extra Old. with gradual dryness and faint smokiness. Warming. Score 69 322 . Nutty. fragrant smokiness. Score 79 Independent bottlings are very rare indeed. Strawberries. Rounded. Dryish. Raspberries. Score 80 KNOCKANDO Single Cask. Bottled 1999. Faint. Sherryish. A 1980 bottled by Cadenhead at 12 years old and 58 vol was flowery. bottled 1992. Palate Yet more sherried. nutty dryness. bottled 1992. honeyish.

Aperitif. Fruit in boxes at a market. Peach stones. That prospect was disarmed by the success of Glenfiddich. Peach. Nose LADYBURN 1973. Fruit skins. Palate Sweet. becoming woodier and eventually evaporating below the legal minimum alcohol content. Ladyburn operated for only about a dozen years in the 1960s and 1970s. Ayrshire. orangey. and it is better that they be bottled than remain. 50.4 vol Colour Full. fruity and dry. Its worry was that it might in future have difficulty in obtaining whiskies from other distilleries for use in its blends. Like the Girvan whisky. Powerfully earthy-fruity aroma. KA26 9PT Producer who attended the release of an “official” bottling of this rare malt in 2000. Very old casks do occasionally turn up in the corner of a warehouse. Grant’s had become something of a maverick when it began seriously to market Glenfiddich as a single malt. UCH EXCITEMENT AMONG MALT LOVERS House style M Aromatic. the Ladyburn was a component of the Grant’s blend. It was a Lowland malt distillery on the same site as the Girvan grain distillery. Woody. As is often the case with old malts. No doubt the Girvan and Ladyburn distilleries were built to make Grant’s as self-sufficient as possible. Body Smooth and syrupy. Rind-like. no doubt along with Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Finish Assertive. it turned out to be rather woody. SCORE 60 323 . Dry.LADYBURN Ladyburn Region William Grant & Sons Ltd Lowlands district Western Lowlands Address Girvan. but it was much appreciated by collectors. greeny gold.

discovering-distilleries. How would this famously robust whisky live with the most hefty of sherries? Would each cancel out the other. ECENT SHORTAGES OF LAGAVULIN House style Dry.malts. but it is felt that might “damage the integrity” of the beautifully kept distillery. Lagavulin traces its history to 1816. PA42 7DZ Tel 01496 302730 website www. In those days. The two elements are like heavyweights punching in a clinch.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Lagavulin Producer Diageo Islay district South Shore Address Port Ellen. There are reputed to have been ten illicit stills on this bay in the mid-1700s. The distillery’s water arrives by way of a fast-flowing stream that no doubt picks up plenty of peat on the way there. 324 . complex. Today. it was the best selling Islay malt. The maturation warehouses are battered by the sea. Argyll.com/www. and they have their own jetty. Lagavulin worked only two days a week. Lagavulin has the driest and most sustained attack of any readily available whisky. Restorative or nightcap. it cannot produce enough to meet anticipated demand. smoky. though in recent years it has seemed less brutal than it once was.com Region R date back to a period 16 years ago when the distillery was closed for some time for repairs and renewal. Islay. The launch in 1997–98 of a version identified as being finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks excited great interest. Consideration has been given to adding a pair of stills. Until the shortage. having overtaken its neighbour Laphroaig. so that the punch was finally restrained? Or would the two combine to produce a superpower? Neither is quite the case. Lagavulin (pronounced “lagga-voolin”) means “the hollow where the mill is”.

soothed with beeswax. Finish Pepper. sulphur. Nose Phenolic. Sweet spot in the centre keeps it balanced. Colour Orange sandstone. oily.L A G AV U L I N Finish LAGAVULIN 12-year-old. Body Full. Special Release 2003. Smoky. As the palate develops. SCORE 95 LAGAVULIN 1979. Finish Peat fire. very firm. Assam tea. Syrupy. Vinho verde. Murray McDavid Mission Range. but very restrained for Lagavulin. Body Very light. salty notes emerge. Slightly fruity. then smoky. 46 vol Colour Pale straw. Finish Enveloping smoke. Double Matured. becoming medicinal. SCORE 88 325 . Soot. Score 91 LAGAVULIN 16-year-old. and salt. it gains in a different dimension of distinctiveness. Some of the peatiness that might be expected in Lagavulin. in particular. Nose Fresh attack. tar. Distillers Edition. smooth. Cask Strength. Stings the back of the nose. A bear hug. Firm. Digestive biscuits. Nose Sea spray. Body Full. 43 vol Colour Full amber. Palate Fragrant smoke all the way. and eventually seaweedy. What it loses in distillery character. Warming. 57. Palate Marshmallow. Palate Peaty dryness like gunpowder tea. sand. Smoked fish. 43 vol Finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. Warming. Long. SCORE 95 LAGAVULIN 1979. Hot stones on the beach. Nose Delightfully gentle smokiness. peat smoke. Bog myrtle. Some floweriness. with hits of peat. grassy. and. salt.8 vol Colour Unusually pale. Palate Rich and extremely sweet. body Soft.

Islay. Laphroaig has its own peat beds on Islay. In 1847 the founder died after falling into a vat of partially made whisky. The romance of the place extends to occasional weddings at the distillery. HIS IS THE MOST MEDICINAL House style Medicinal. without attribution. whose name is still on the label. Miss Bessie Williamson – a glamourous lady.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Laphroaig Tel Allied Distillers Ltd Islay district South Shore Address Port Ellen. seaweed character of Islay. from a distinguished writer on whisky). Its maturation warehouses face directly on to the sea. “Love it or hate it. The distillery was built in the 1820s by the Johnston family. PA42 7DU 01496 302418 Website www. In the late 1950s and early 1960s. unmasking more of the sweetness of the malt. Argyll. part of which serves as the village hall. 326 . Nightcap. the distillery was owned by a woman. a floor maltings at the distillery.” said one of Laphroaig’s advertising slogans (borrowed.com Region Producer VC T of malts. but it is still an extremely characterful whisky. and relatively small stills. with a distinctively oily body. judging from a photograph on the wall. The famous Laphroaig attack has diminished a little in recent years. its own dam on the Kilbride river. Like hospital gauze? Reminiscent of mouthwash or antiseptic? Phenolic? That is the whole point: the iodine-like.laphroaig.

Finish Medicinal. Nose Phenol. with “tarred rope” phenol. oily. Score 89 Palate LAPHROAIG 1976. seaweedy. Score 89 327 . Palate Seaweedy. Body Medium. phenol. and Islay intensity. Lively embrace of dryness and scenty sweetness. Nose Drier. Colour Full. peat. long. tar. then an explosion of sulphur. A wonderfully complex whisky. Finish Warming. Finish Round and very dry. Tar. Score 88 Palate LAPHROAIG 15-year-old. Finish Round. Body Medium to full. 43 vol Colour Pale amber. soporific. 43 vol Colour Pale amber. dry. Palate Seaweedy. refractive gold. with a hint of estery (gooseberry?) sweetness. sulphur. burning peat. warming. 57. Body Medium to full. long. Both salty and sweet. Nose Powerful tar aromas.L A P H ROA I G LAPHROAIG 10-year-old The stronger is slightly richer. Tar-like. soothing. phenolic. Nose Medicinal. Firm and smooth.3 vol Colour Very full gold. with a soothing oiliness. A deceptive moment of sweetness and grassiness. Cask Strength. Body Medium. Score 86 LAPHROAIG 10-year-old. earth. salty. Coal-tar soap. oily. Versions have been marketed at 40 and 43 vol. with some syrupy viscosity.

Body Biscuity. Palate Immediate tarry. Palate Astonishingly fresh. but very lively and appetizing. Polished oak. Phenolic. Dry and powerful but has good weight in the middle of the mouth. flowery notes.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS LAPHROAIG 30-year-old. Roses. Finish Very smoky. Murray McDavid. Body Full. Fragrant smoke. Palate Concentrated flavours. Briar.3 vol Colour Old gold. Score 88 Laphroaig 1988. Complex. Body Soft. 43 vol Bottled from 123 sherry butts branded with the legend SS Great Auk. More pepper. Lemony notes. oily smokiness. Less iodine than usual. Beautifully balanced for such a great age. Tar and medicine. Engine room. 42. smouldering. Bottled November 1997. Finish Medicinal. Nose Soft. Nose Heather and sage. Very subtle smoke in background. creamy. 46 vol Colour Straw. Finish Musky. Toasted almonds. Colour Dark orange. Unusual. believed to be the ship in which they came from Jerez over three decades ago. Bourbon Cask. Smoke. Nose Growly and powerful. Bittersweet. Edible seaweed. Score 90 Laphroaig 40-year-old. Score 86 328 .

judging from the profusion of independent bottlings. The older of its two still-houses. It produces a slightly heavier spirit than the larger still-house built in the 1960s and extended in the 1970s. mute swans. in the original buildings. continues to be used for a few months each year. Morayshire. The distillery was founded in 1821. SECRET NATURE RESERVE House style A Floral. 329 . In the 4 hectares (10 acres) of the site. oyster catchers. IV30 3RD Tel 01343 862000 or a distillery? Linkwood’s appropriately flowery Speyside whisky is increasingly appreciated. Rose-water? Cherries? Delicious with a slice of fruitcake. and otters. bluebells seduce bees. cuckoo flowers entice the orange tip variety. nettles attract red admiral and small tortoiseshell butterflies. The dam that provides the cooling water is a port of call to tufted ducks and goldeneyes – and a seasonal home to wagtails.LINKWOOD Linkwood Region Address Producer Diageo Highlands island Speyside (Lossie) Elgin.

Colour Bright pale gold Nose Like walking on a peaty moorland on a breezy day. Finish Intensity of sweet. Nose Remarkably flowery and petal-like. Limited Bottling. Buttercups. Rare Malt. Score 82 Finish LINKWOOD 1983. Palate Starts with a faintly smoky sweetness. dryish. floral spiciness. moving to flowery dryness. Palate Starts slowly. One to savour. Body Medium. Flora and Fauna. sustained development to marzipan. nutty. 59. Rich. roses. Nose Turkish delight. Pistachio nuts. Finish Perfumy. Moves into a syrupy. Warming. like the surface of a crème brûlée. Fudge. Extraordinary length. Bottled 1997. 56. Palate Fudgey.1 vol A lovely whisky.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS LINKWOOD 12-year-old. and has a long. fragrant. Back to the richness of earlier years. 43 vol Colour Full primrose. rounded. and fresh sweetness. Body Light to medium. Grass. slightly syrupy. Fragrant. Fresh. as Linkwoods so often are. Score 84 330 .8 vol Colour Bright gold. Cask Strength. Flowery. Syrupy. Cherries. Body Medium to full. Lemony. Score 83 LINKWOOD 1975 26-year-old. Lemon zest. treacle-tart sweetness. though not quite the complexity.

elderflower. The perfect pre-lunch malt. from Cooper’s Choice. with curiously unripe grapey notes. Complex. Apple pie crust. Colour Full gold. is very fruity and flowery: Semillon. Condensed milk. Long. at 59. a raisiny palate. and caramelized fruits. Sustained. Cream toffee. orchard fruits. Nose Rose-water. Rare Malts Tasted as a work in progress. blackberry. seems still to be maturing.6 vol. Score 75 A 12-year-old. from.LINKWOOD LINKWOOD 1974. distilled in 1984. is attractive and summery. Firm. Score 65 A 15-year-old. Score 85 A 14-year-old. Body Soft. Flowers.8 vol. 22-year-old. cedary aroma. dessert apple. Quite oaky for a youngster. was bigger. Pastry. Hard in mid-palate. Indian desserts. with spicy oak. Score 84 Some independent bottlings of Linkwood A 10-year-old from Dun Bheagan. from Cadenhead. at 58. at 43 vol. with green apple and grass. Score 82 331 . bottled in 1995. Still young and a little tight. Score 78 A 10-year-old from James MacArthur. Cask Strength. Duncan Taylor. and a big finish that suggested sugared almonds and parma violets. Late summer on the lawn. A 1972 version from Rare Malts. Finish Almondy. at 43 vol. has the mood of spring. Some peat. at 46 vol. Palate Sugared almonds. with a more oaky. has delicate nutmeg. baked apple.

Score 83 A 1972. has an emphatic influence of American oak. at 59. at 61 vol. has the aroma of autumn fruits. in both aroma and palate. and wood that is a little too dominant. is mature and rounded. is unusually leathery and tar-like. deliciously reminiscent of tarte tatin. and allspice. fruity. with pine. Whisky-soaked oak. basil. dessert apple. Very light smoke. the whole precisely framed in oak. from the same bottler. at 43 vol.2 vol.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS A 1989 Raw Cask. and lightly chewy. at 46 vol. Score 78 A 1954 retains its equilibrium remarkably for its great age. Still sweet and fruity. Demerara sugar. Appetizing. some cellar notes (bung cloth). The aroma is fresh and clean. at 40 vol. from Blackadder. with a wisp of smoke. Sweet and fresh vanilla. Score 83 A 1989 from Murray McDavid. the palate fresh. Score 85 A 1969 is more savoury. Score 68 332 . Creamy. is a classic Linkwood. Dried pear. with good tannins. Score 70 A 1989 from Gordon & MacPhail. Score 82 A 1988 from Signatory. sherry.

The Whisky Exchange issued a bottling of a 1967 experimental malt called Dunglas: one last fleeting manifestation from a ghost distillery. It is thus one of the several claimants. The surviving buildings date from at least 1817. to being the oldest distillery in Scotland. but more recent evidence suggests that it was already distilling in 1750. Dunbartonshire. G60 5BG 01389 752781 email mail@lochlomonddistillery. in 2003 by Loch Lomond. House style P Marshmallow-soft. but was mis-spelled in the cask documents. but with the intervention of a rectifier. Also in 2003. but appear to be older. Until the 1930s.LITTLEMILL Littlemill Tel Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Littlemill followed the Lowland practice of triple distillation. The name was intended to have a double “s”. Littlemill was long believed to date from 1772.com Region Producer LANS TO RESTART PRODUCTION at Littlemill as a tourist attraction were finally abandoned. It was intended for blending. Dunglas was produced in Littlemill’s pot stills. or perhaps with dessert. each with a slightly different justification. with regret. 333 . owners of the silent distillery since its previous proprietors went into liquidation 10 years ago. Ltd Lowlands district Western Lowlands Address Bowling. A restorative.

greeny gold. Chieftain’s Choice. Cadenhead. Nose Light. Slightly woody. bright. Palate Malty sweet. 46 vol Nose Perfumy. 43 vol Colour Very pale white wine. Coconut. Finish A splash of orange. Crème brûlée. SCORE 77 Littlemill 1984. soft. and a little more spirity. Palate Gentle start. The Whisky Exchange. Marshmallow? Perhaps toasted marshmallows. lemony. Rum Finish. 11-year-old. Nose Oily. yet not overbearing. Finish Slightly bitter. scorE 73 Some independent bottlings of Littlemill Littlemill 1990. Body Syrupy. Pineapple. Nose Tropical fruits. SCORE 78 334 . Drying.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS LITTLEMILL 8-year-old. 60. Finish Surprisingly hot. Marshmallow again. 18-year-old. Crème caramel. Palate A hint of black chocolate.6 vol Colour Pale. Body Light. Dry. Palate Cream soda. Astringent. Flowery. Body Creamy. Condensed milk. Cedary. 46 vol Colour Bright gold. Cider apples. Then slightly acidic. Finish Slight dryness. Coconut? SCORE 81 DUNGLAS 1967. perhaps powdery icing sugar? More recent bottlings slightly less rounded than in the past.

distillery. are named after islands in the loch and other places of local interest. the last may be bottled soon. Tasted as a work in progress. Dunbartonshire. the grain and malts come from the one distillery). which links the Clyde and Loch Lomond. By being operated in different ways.com Region Producer A IS GRADUALLY being wrought at this extraordinary establishment. but with a visible difference. Barton Brands. These include Glen Douglas. smoky aroma. which had their beginning in a licensed grocers. and a lingering length. The Loch Lomond distillery. was established in the mid-1960s.LOCH LOMOND Loch Lomond Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Some of these malts are bottled as singles. Inchmurrin: Fruity. G83 0TL Tel 01389 752781 website www. With the growing interest in peaty malts. and oak smoke. such as Inchmurrin. It has three pairs of pot stills. with suggestions of fruit wood. The building’s industrial past (as Britain’s oldest car factory and a calico dyeworks) is no longer evident. Loch Lomond’s unusual pattern of business dates from its acquisition in 1987 by a whisky wholesaler called Glen Catrine. Alexandria. The distillery is on an industrial estate by the river Leven. but the distillery was designed to produce the components for its own blends. It has been smartly restyled as a very functional. Aperitif. Other malts. Ltd Highlands district Western Highlands Address Lomond Estate. Inchmoan. They are similar to the Lomond stills (the name is a coincidence) once used by neighbours Ballantine. and the progressively more heavily peated Craiglodge. it had a sweet. Soothing.e. and Croftengea. TRANSFORMATION House style Loch Lomond: Nutty. these stills can produce at least half a dozen different malts. Restorative. The name Loch Lomond is used on a single malt and a “single blend” (i. Old Rhosdhu: Piney. if complex. at seven years old. lochlomonddistillery. Four of the malts are not usually bottled as singles. oily. previously owned by the American company. a bonfire-like palate. Two of the pairs are fitted with rectification columns. briar. This grew out of a chain of shops. Loch Lomond also has a five-column continuous still. 335 .com email mail@lochlomonddistillery.

Body Slightly tar-like. Hint of clove. Score 71 336 . Ferns. soothing. Nose Green malt.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS INCHMURRIN 10-year-old. Hawthorn. 40 vol Colour Bright. pale. Banana. greeny gold. Orange flower water. Some astringency. but with some flavour development. Lemon zest. Palate Very light-tasting at first. Fruity. 54. Body Pleasantly oily. Finish Quite hot. Palate Assertively nutty. Finish Spicy. Cadenhead. reeds. Finish Spicy. Gordon & MacPhail. Honeydew melon with ginger. Score 72 Inchmurrin 1973. Perfumy. warming. Palate Flowery. Hazelnut. Watermelons.4 vol Colour Full gold. Body Creamy. long. Nose Fresh. Gin-like. hot sawdust. Score 70 Inchmurrin 29-year-old. reflective. 40 vol Colour Pale apricot. Nose Tropical fruit.

Body Light. Body Light to medium. thin. Palate Dry. oily. Finish Light but long. Brandy snaps. No Age Statement. Finish Gritty. Finish Wintergreen? Perhaps not the bath – the sauna. Soft. Green. Banana. 44 vol Colour Golden. Pistachio nuts. Nose Sandalwood. Intense sweetness. Sugared almonds. Lemony balancing dryness. Body Candyfloss (cotton candy). Colour Amber. Palate Powdered sugar. Score 65 337 . perfumy. 40 vol Colour Bright gold. Nose Freshly made toast. Powerful flavours. Score 66 6 OLD RHOSDHU. spicy. 40 vol Minimum 5 years old. Nose Scented. Turkish delight. Score 70 Palate LOCH LOMOND 1966. Pistachio nuts. A luxurious malt to drink in the bath. warm hay. Abrasive.LOCH LOMOND LOCH LOMOND. No Age Statement.

traditional distillery. 338 . and Lochnagar qualifies on both counts.malts. The then owner. Ballater. spicy. It is Diageo’s smallest.com Region VC was once on the tourist route. while the Selected Reserve has 50 per cent sherry. near the river Dee.com/www. A man believed originally to have been an illicit whisky maker established the first legal Lochnagar distillery in 1826. The 12-year-old is aged in second-fill casks. Her Majesty is said to have laced her claret with the whisky. the royal family acquired nearby Balmoral as their Scottish country home. but has recently been used by Diageo as a place in which to educate its own staff and customers on the subject of malt whisky. the distillery began to supply the Queen. The distillery is at the foot of the mountain of Lochnagar. and became known as Royal Lochnagar. Three years later. not far from Aberdeen.discovering-distilleries. Aberdeenshire. wrote a note inviting Prince Albert to visit.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS lochnagar Producer Diageo Highlands district Eastern Highlands Address Crathie. and the present premises were built in 1845. House style Q UEEN VICTORIA’S FAVOURITE DISTILLERY Malty. cake-like. The process of making whisky can best be understood in a small. The Prince and Queen Victoria arrived the very next day. fruity. AB35 5TB Tel 01339 742705 website www. After dinner. John Begg. There is no claret finish at Lochnagar as yet. It is also very pretty – and makes delicious whisky. perhaps anticipating wood finishes. Soon afterwards.

Obviously contains some very well matured whisky. Palate Lots of sherry. ginger cake. Rare Malts. Score 83 ROYAL LOCHNAGAR 23-year-old. clean sweetness. Very soft. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Finish Marzipan and nutty dryness. fresh. Distilled 1973. malty sweetness. Smooth. 55. Score 81 ROYAL LOCHNAGAR Rare Malts. Finish Cake dusted with cinnamon. ginger cake. smooth. with some smokiness. Finish Again. parkin-like. and malty sweetness. Nose Big. Nose Sweet. Score 81 339 . Body Medium to full. Score 80 ROYAL LOCHNAGAR Selected Reserve. Lots of flavour development and complexity. The first impression is of dryness. Palate Very appetizing. dry smokiness and malty sweetness. 43 vol Colour Amber red. Distilled 1972. spicy ginger cake. Body Big. then comes the sweet. Nose Fresh soda bread. Very long indeed. spiced bread. bright gold. malty counterpoint.LOCHNAGAR ROYAL LOCHNAGAR 12-year-old. Smooth. Palate Appetizing. 59. Spices. Body Medium. Yeasty.7 vol Colour Bright gold. Finish Smoky. Nose Very sherryish indeed. syrupy. 24-year-old. Satisfying. No Age Statement. Body Light to medium.7 vol Colour Full. Palate Light smokiness. nutmeg. restrained fruitiness. Very good flavour development.

40 vol Now hard to find. in Montrose. Score 70 A 35-year-old from Old Malt Cask. a toasty palate. a juicy palate. has the aroma of the malt barn. at 50 vol. gentle. and raspberries in the finish. smooth. Finish Gentle. has maderization in the aroma. and crusty bread in the finish. Fruity (Blackcurrant?). Aperitif. at 50 vol. Angus. not very long. The latter company was acquired by Allied Distillers. Score 75 A Lochside from the same year. oaty aroma. Colour Gold. by Lombard. at 46 vol. Lochside. DD10 9AD Region Producer Highlands district O James Deuchar Brewery. NCE THE FAMOUS House style Fruity.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Lochside Macnab Distilleries Eastern Highlands Site of former distillery Montrose. dry. and a finish reminiscent of cake icing. Palate LOCHSIDE 10-year-old. Score 74 Other versions of Lochside A 1981 from Murray McDavid. Nose Some flowering currant. It has since been demolished. Score 75 340 . soft. but not especially sweet. Body Light to medium. lemon curd in the palate. Lots of flavour development. which was sold in the Spanish market by Distilieras y Crienza. a subsidiary of Domecq sherry. Becoming dry. has a clean. Malty start. then became a distillery from 1957 to 1992. Its whisky was the heart of a blend called Macnab’s.

Alongside the distillery is the disused Longmorn railway halt. Score 85 341 . beeswax flavours. It is admired for its complexity. long flavour development. Versatile. IV30 3SJ tel 01542 783042 I that the new owners make this distillery’s whisky more readily available. LONGMORN 12-year-old. evolving towards a clean. Finish Clean. T IS TO BE HOPED House style Tongue-coating. Longmorn is one of the finest Speyside malts. It is noted for its cereal-grain maltiness. Nose Complex. The distillery was built in 1894–95. Body Firm. and especially good with dessert.LONGMORN Longmorn Region Address Producer Chivas Brothers Highlands district Speyside (Lossie) Elgin. flowery fruitiness. bright gold. Palate Deliciously fresh. and imposing in its size and beautiful condition. Morayshire. cereal-grain maltiness. and has a disused waterwheel and a workable steam engine. delightful before dinner. Slow. appetizing. smooth. complex. smooth. gentle. and from its big bouquet to its long finish. malty. cherished by connoisseurs but not widely known. its combination of smoothness and fullness of character. firm. 40 vol Colour Full. Much of the equipment is very traditional. including the Steel’s mash mixer and some very impressive spirit safes. and estery fruitiness.

palate. almost fizzy. clean. Finish Tangerines.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS LONGMORN 15-year-old.1 vol. Score 71 A 1969 from the same bottler. juicy. reminiscent of mangoes and cling peaches. seems a little immature. at 40. nuts. It has a grapefruity aroma. Body Smooth. medium to big. Palate Very emphatic. Then peppery. slightly oily. rounded. lively. Score 87 Some independent bottlings of Longmorn A 1990. at 12 years old and 46 vol. cereal-grain maltiness. 45 vol Colour Full gold. is plump. Appetizing. Nose Big. fresh. barley malt. and fruity. Very long. flowery-fruity notes. Suggestions of plum skins. and marshmallow finish. Score 80 342 . from Duncan Taylor.

at 56. Complex. with rich treacle. but dries into cigar ash.8 vol. is back to raspberries. was tasted as a work in progress. with flavours reminiscent of cocoa butter. It was rich and concentrated. a 1973. at 55. and flat. sooty. mead-like aromas. from Gordon & MacPhail. at 57. at 40 vol. is dull. resiny.7 vol. beautifully balanced. Score 66 A 1970. cask no 1099 from MacKillop’s Choice. has a full bronze colour. Score 89 In contrast. was faded. For the drinker who likes pickled walnuts and extremely bitter chocolate. was very sweet and charred-tasting.9 vol. was well-structured. strawberry jam in the palate. no 910. cask no 611. with oranges and cloves. with honey and kumquats A 1966. Score 59 A 1972. from the same bottler. bitter and chicory-like. and marrons glace and cedar in the finish. Score 6262 343 . More sherry than whisky. is tired: tannic. A 1967. at 40 vol. woody and dusty. A 1971 from Scott’s Selection.LONGMORN A delicious 25-year-old. starts well. full of life. cask no 3345. A 1968 sherry cask. Score 85 A 1973 from Blackadder.

What constitutes “very old”? The definition was set at more than 30 years old.com Region Producer VC as a practitioner of the noble art. All of the whiskies were hand bottled at the S BRONZED AND MUSCULAR A 344 . but some had been bottled. Banffshire. from the trade and collectors.themacallan.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS The Macallan tel The Edrington Group Highlands district Speyside address Aberlour. have been released. and bought at auction. An 1874 Macallan. bought by the company for £4000/$6000. with its own style of bottles. has the rubric “Fine and Rare”. but a further three replica whiskies have been created since (see pp. AB38 9RX 01340 872280 website www. distilled no later than 1972. It is not necessary to make replicas of Macallans from the early to mid-1900s. inspired a bold attempt to replicate its character by making a vatting from stocks. 352–54). in recent years. From the 1920s. as sufficient casks were laid down. Not all years were represented in the warehouses. The key seemed to be an accent toward fino sherry wood. Most of the whisky was still in cask. designated by the company as Exceptional Single Casks. and labels highlighting vintage dates. Macallan bought back casks. and even cases of bottles. This packaging was also applied to bottles drawn from stock. selecting one or two from each year for vintage bottlings. There was sufficient fino wood in Macallan’s warehouses. One hogshead yielded only 40 bottles. the most generous butt provided 548.e. In one such engagement. but the chronology was surprisingly thorough. i. Some of these whiskies. they were all rebottled. or bought back. Master distiller David Robertson and whisky maker Bob Dalgarno nosed nearly 600 casks. rather than the dry oloroso currently preferred. and a credible replica of the 1874 was produced. The range launched in 2003. to prevent evaporation taking it below the minimum legal strength. it seemed to have become pricey to lay down generous quantities. bottles of its own whisky from the 1800s. It was decided to create an offering of very old whiskies. one at a time. Macallan has over the years collected. Macallan is Speyside’s best known heavyweight – and constantly embracing a new challenge. Where there was no stock for a year. This appeared at the time to be a unique exercise.

Macallan became a legal distillery as soon as that was possible. Some distillers do not concern themselves with barley varieties. now a ruin. there has been the odd year when a good harvest and reduced production of whisky has made this possible. the company decided that single malts would also be an important element of the future.” To collectors. the estate farm was put back into service to grow Golden Promise barley. In 1998. Cultivation has drastically diminished because Golden Promise offers a relatively ungenerous yield of grain to farmers. Until about 1994. A farmer on the hillside is believed to have made whisky from his own barley in the 1700s. Since then. albeit a token amount in relation to Macallan’s requirements. These arguments seem to ignore a fundamental point: what the consumer gets out of the glass must 345 . We can. in 1824. In 1968–69. and in recent years some have switched from using two strains to one. The character of Macallan has traditionally begun with Golden Promise barley. 47–48). The manor house from the early days has been restored as a venue for the entertaining of visitors. inevitably at very high prices. Most distilleries don’t have the breadth of stock to do this. no name has the magic of Macallan. There are even some bars selling these whiskies. Immediately across the river is Aberlour. but at other times its share of the grist has dropped to 30 or 25 per cent. Macallan used only Golden Promise. notably including The Famous Grouse. at Craigellachie. which is on a cliff overlooking Telford’s bridge over the Spey. they might like a gift of whisky from the year they were born. or a catalogue obtained. we wanted to make a full range available.000 for the most expensive bottle to £65/$110 for the cheapest miniature. but this Scottish variety is becoming hard to find.” explained David Robertson. but the nutty. silky flavours produced are delicious (see “Barley”. but simply set out a technical specification of performance. “Rather than dribbling out occasional vintages.THE MACALLAN distillery. for example.000 bottles. from specialist retailers.000/$33. oily. The whiskies can be bought. and even approached 20. pp. on the Easter Elchies estate. valued at just under £14 million/$23 million. Many take the same view of yeasts. Its yield to distillers in terms of spirit is also on the low side. “If someone is celebrating an important birthday. Macallan has long been a renowned contributor to blends. Prices range from £20. The name derives from the Macallan church. at cask strength. through Macallan’s website or at the distillery gift shop. More common varieties such as Chariot or Optic have provided the greater share. The initial offering amounts to 10.

and the whisky another ten or a dozen. They are then shipped to Scotland. This use of direct flame can impart a caramelization of the malt which steam heat does not. progress is slow. The current regime is that the butts are first filled with mosto (grape juice) for three months’ primary fermention. rounded spiciness. nutmeg) fragrances and flavours that are typical of Macallan. Very long. This appears to wash out the harshest tannins and help release a rich. The number grew from six to 21 between 1965 and 1975. Between 70 and 80 per cent of Macallan is matured in first-fill butts. The European oak variety Quercus robur is rich in tannins. When Macallan decided to market a single malt. faced with the high cost of obtaining the casks. and imparts both the full colour and the resiny.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS depend upon what the producer puts in. In the principal versions of The Macallan first and second fill is vatted in broadly those proportions. spicy (clove. and less than 10 per cent from the sherry. 346 . After dinner. The company believes that this particular combination enhances its fruity. They then have two years with maturing sherry in a bodega. flowery-fruity. Given that an oak tree takes 100 years to reach maturity. This is felt to be far more significant than any aromas and flavours imparted by the sherry itself. Macallan has been carrying out exhaustive research to establish exactly what are the influences on flavour. Macallan also believes it takes the narrowest cut in the industry. Macallan’s oily. Spicy. One rather extreme piece of research suggested that barely a third of aromas and flavours originated from the spirit. spicy aromas and flavours. When the company has expanded output to cope with demand. creamy richness is enhanced by the use of especially small stills. and currently employs two of them. the principals made tastings from stock and decided that their whisky tasted best from dry oloroso butts. cinnamon. Meanwhile. The wash stills are heated by gas burners. rather than building bigger ones. almost 60 per cent from the oak. Macallan has in recent years used four yeasts. House style Big. the remainder in second-fill. it has added more stills. oaky. resiny sherried. Macallan’s current view is that the reaction between wood and sherry is also of great importance.

Finish Satisfying. 40 vol Mainly for the UK market. Body Medium. Score 81 THE MACALLAN 10-year-old. flowery notes. Paler than most Macallans. No Age Statement. Colour Bronze. honey. Palate Lots of sherry. youthful flavours. Emphasis on classic Speyside floweriness rather than sherry. Finish Highlights the crisp dryness of Macallan. 43 vol Mainly for export markets. Colour Amber. 40 vol Mainly for the Japanese market. Nose Sherry. Score 91 347 . Butterscotch. Very smooth. Body Full. Plenty of malt. The first hints of flowering currant. without being syrupy. smooth. Depth of aromas even at this young age. Rounded. Honeyish malt character. Finish Slightly more rounded. Nose Sherry. without being rich. Palate Lightly buttery and malty. Nose Especially fragrant. Lively.THE MACALLAN THE MACALLAN Distiller’s Choice. gingery. Colour Amber. with a hint of smoke. Altogether more expressive. Body Full. Sweetish. malty. Score 87 Palate THE MACALLAN 12-year-old. becoming dry.

43 vol Now hard to find. Hints of peat. The faintly piney. Nose At this age. Finish Dry. Nose This age best highlights the resiny contributions of the oak itself. Lightly peaty. Its great appeal is its mellow maturity. round. firm. Complex. The waxed skin of fresh tangerines. Finish Grassy. very smooth. 43 vol Colour Full amber red. and embraces all the other aromas that have appeared earlier. Palate Despite its great age. soothing. floral aromas of furniture polish. very long. Score 92 THE MACALLAN 25-year-old. Palate The smokiness greatly enhances the complexity. complex. warming. Colour Medium amber. Score 95 THE MACALLAN 30-year-old. 43 vol Colour Full orange. Orange zest. Tightly combined flavours. A little lacking in dimension. Body Full. Score 95 348 . Finish Dry. Gently fruity and spicy. no aggressive oakiness or overbearing sherry. Just a whiff of smoke. Body Full.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Nose THE MACALLAN 15-year-old. a definite smokiness manifests itself. Palate Toffeeish. Body Medium to full. Reminiscent of polished oak. but disappears too quickly. This age best expresses the estery fruitiness of Macallan.

Chocolate fudge. when this year-by-year review of the 18-year-olds was introduced. deep tawny colour. Flavours establish a grip nonetheless. Beeswax. 1984 Attractive. Appetizing. raisiny aroma. Slippery body. Perfumy. yet rich.THE MACALLAN Macallan 18-year-olds Most years. Smooth. oaky. Perfumy notes. Score 94 1981 Bright. This is a new feature in the fifth edition of this book. Score 93 1982 Deep. In the fourth edition. More immediately gingery and spicy. and pace themselves. gingery spiciness in finish. Malty middle. Leafy. Score 94 1983 Fractionally darker and more reddish. More toffee and chocolate in palate. The Macallan has released an 18-year-old. Cilantro? Chilli-pepper finish. The whisky eventually admits to some spiciness and a pleasantly oaky dryness in the finish. Like a person who answers questions with dismissive brevity to imply a loftier knowledge. Aromas and flavours so melded as to be hard to unpick. Becoming spicy. at 43 vol. urbane. More sappy aroma. but inevitably they vary slightly. toffeeish aroma. deep amber. Fullest colour in this flight. Arguably harsher. Palest colour in this flight. an overall score of 94 was given for the category. Fruity. Harder edge. with cinnamon accent. Drier. Clean. more robust. Smooth. dark orange. The following five bottlings at 18 years old are each given their own score. Score 92 349 . These are vatted to offer continuity of character. More resiny. Toffeeish. Score 93 1980 Deep bronze. in which some malt lovers find the most robust interplay of the estery whisky and the dry oloroso maturation. Oily. spicy aroma. Sweetish. crisp.

liquorice. good balance between peat and syrupy malt. 1975 More orangey colour. gently spicy finish.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Collectable 1978 Solid orange-amber colour. syrupy. A restrained edition. beautifully rounded and complete. oak and peat aroma. toffeeish. more sherryish finish. oily. spicy. sherry and restrained fruit on the nose. 1974 Reddish tinge. with some peat. Tawny colour. 1977 Darker and redder. This year’s edition was a 17-year-old (and labelled as such. and oak. light on the tongue. firm and smooth. 1972 Deep orange. oily finish. 1969 Amber. soft. very perfumy aroma. warming finish. 1976 Bright. medium to full. sherry sweetness. long finish. peaty. fresh. very smooth. inviting aroma. sappy oak and vanilla spiciness in a slow. slightly syrupy. 1970 Full amber orange. lively flavours of grass. 350 . with a nutty-sweet sherry accent. long. sweeter. vanilla-and-oak finish. 1968 Apricot colour. 1966 Bottled “early”. nutty. firm. very full flavours. but paler than usual. peaty and spicy aroma. nutty. sweetness and spice in the finish. oaky aroma. orange colour. almost minty aroma. 1965 Tawny red. very spicy. assertive sherry aroma. very restrained peat in the finish. oily. of course). big bouquet. peat. melony finish. 1967 Tawny colour. sweetish. 1973 Bright. drying. some peat in finish. full amber. perfumy. very smooth. spicy lemon grass and peat in the aroma. fresh. full. malty. nutty. sherry aroma. 1971 Shimmery orange. smooth. with some astringency. aniseed. sherryish sweetness becoming estery and perfumy. fudgey. in finish. nutty aroma. beautifully balanced peat and malt in the aroma. peat and malt in the aroma. buttery malt character. juicy calvados and flowering currant in the palate. notably complex. oaky finish. dry. with grassy peat. buttery malt character. smooth. soft body.

Nose Freshly cut wood. sweet. falling away in the middle. but appetizingly so. and less complex in flavours. smooth. Initially more reminiscent of port than sherry. but less smoky than sweet. firm. Finish Dry. Very slightly woody and astringent. lightly oaky aroma. Tar-like. Finish Soothing. Warming. good balance of peat and malt in the aroma. Body Viscous. but lighter in body. Then a suggestion of Pedro Ximénez. 1963 Refractive orange colour. Nose Oaky and phenolic. Colour Score 95 1981 Colour Mahogany red. Long. Gran Reserva This rubric indicates 18-year-old whiskies matured in first-fill sherry casks. and sherryish. Score 94 351 . Body Big. light. 1982 Chestnut. Palate Extraordinarily powerful flavours. A suggestion of cloves. Sawmill aromas. sherry sweetness in the finish. Cough medicine. with a cedary finish. lightly fruity palate.THE MACALLAN 1964 Medium orange colour. Liquorice. Palate Similar but slightly lighter. with nutty. at 40 vol.

Thick-cut. and malt was generally more heavily peated. developing to nutty. surprisingly. To try and replicate the individual characteristics of each bottle. syrupy maltiness. Sherry casks were used. more delicate). Then malty nuttiness.500 casks were sampled and 28 used. In particular. Nose Rich sherry at first. 352 . Palate Very dry. Raisins. Warming. Strictly for the lover of powerfully oaked whiskies. dates. Colour Score 95 Replica editions None of today’s barley varieties existed in the 19th century. bitter-orange and ginger marmalade on welldone toast. Body Big. To “recreate” the 1861. tasted hauntingly reminiscent of today’s Macallan (albeit.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS 1979 Bottled 1997 Distinctively chestnut. oily. but in a random fashion. This seems to support the notion that a distillery’s location and microclimate are formative influences on flavour. in some respects. Finally floweriness. Raisiny. Finish Richly fruity. Then buttery. sherry sweetness. stills were fired with coal or coke. the fruity esters seemed much the same. The 19th century bottles that were opened to act as models for these replicas contained whiskies that. brewers’ yeast was used. large numbers of casks were nosed. The design of mash tuns and wort coolers was different. about 17.

Restrained fruitiness. Great depth of flavour. Dry. Finish Toasty dryness. Cumin seeds. Custard. Candied orange peel. Score 95 “1861”. It is also the most recently created replica among the four reviewed here. Then perfumy. Delicious sherry character. and was rich in the spicy esters that arise during maturation. Caraway. warm gold. Rose-water. Smooth. 40. Anis. Lemon. Long. Sappy oak. Score 95 353 . Aniseed. Palate Dry. Lemon grass. Syrupy. Just a hint of bitterness. Firm. Honeyed. The most estery of the bigger Macallans. Syrup.6 vol This is the most “recent” vintage date in the series. Light peat. Body Medium. Palate Concentrated sweetness. Body Soothing. Score 94 “1874”.7 vol The original had a pronounced oak and sherry character. Finish Powerful. Nose Ginger cake. It seems a little thinner in body and palate than the other three. Colour Orange. Lemony. but included at least one cask of 26 years. Nose Spice cupboard. Body Firm. Spices. Colour Bronze. 45 vol The whiskies in this replica had an average age of just under 18. Nose Very spicy and dusty. A key element was whisky with long maturation in fino sherry casks. Palate Intense sweetness at first. 42. Flapjack. Finish A touch of oakiness. A hint of quinine dryness. Perfumy.THE MACALLAN “1876”. Anis. Colour Dark. with softly orangey notes.

Finish A very gentle acidity (dessert apples?) provides a balancing dryness. Demerara sugar. Nose Mint chocolate. approaching astringency.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS “1841”. Fudge with vanilla essence and pistachio nuts. 41. Finish Warming. Score 92 1980. Thick. Score 96 Exceptional Single Cask range 1981. Body Medium. Fino Sherry Butt. delicate notes of orange-blossom honey. Crispy malt. Forest berries. Nose Very fresh. Warming. Palate Appetizing. 59. Body Firm. Nose Madeira. Toffee. Body Silky. It may have been one of the first bottled whiskies. Oak. then burnt flavours. Colour Brilliant gold. Very oaky.7 vol The original was believed to have been bottled young. A quick gesture of sweetness. Slightly vinous.3 vol Colour Dark copper. Palate Wafer-like. fresh. ESC I. Cask No 4063. Lapping on the tongue. Oak. Palate Hard treacle toffee. Sherry Butt. Light. Bottled 1999. Sweet but not cloying. Finish Rummy. most whisky was still sold by the cask. at between six and ten years old. like chestnuts too long on a brazier. and had a remarkably fresh character when opened more than 150 years later. In 1841. Some earthy notes. ESC II. Sherry. Score 90 354 . smooth. 56 vol Colour Chestnut to cherry. in the hold of a ship crossing the equator (a hint of hot cylinder block and engine oil).

Spicy. Nose Aromas very tightly combined and rounded.4 vol Colour Dark amber. Malty. ESC III. Nose Crisp. Firm. Resiny. Fruity. 40 vol Colour Warm gold to pale bronze. Ginger ice cream.THE MACALLAN 1980. Flowering currants. Body Smooth but light. Nose Crème brûlée. Palate Sweet. ESC IV. smoke. Firm malt background. Palate Sherry accent. The faintest hint of peat. Body Big. 57 vol (100º proof) Colour Attractive full amber. Finish Sherry. Quietly intense. Oaky. Score 91 Travel retail The whiskies under this heading are available at airports and ferry terminals. Restrained start. Sticky toffee pudding. Restrained fruitiness. on board some aircraft and ships. smooth. Luxuriously smooth. Digestif. and in duty-free shops. Smooth. Finish Coffeeish dryness. Palest in this flight. Apples. A soft whiff of alcohol. Violets. THE MACALLAN 10-year-old. alcohol. Pineapple. Cask No 17937. Score 92 1990. Finish Now the ice cream is rum-and-raisin. sherryish. A suggestion of malted milk. Body Medium. with a slightly sharp edge of smokiness (or is it charred oak?) Finish Slightly medicinal. Colour Distinctive pinkish amber. 51 vol Mainly for the Swiss market. Garnet tinge. Body Firm. Gentle flavour development. Fruity esters. Score 89 Palate THE MACALLAN Elegancia 1990. Some concentrated sweetness. Bittersweet. 57. Cask No 24680. Nose Smoky. Cherries. Score 80 355 . Sherry Butt. Lean. Toasty. Sherry Butt. Palate Malty and fruity. Lightly creamy.

Notably light-bodied. Some sweetness. Score 93 THE MACALLAN Fifties (airliner motif). Starts sweetly but quickly becomes dry. The least complex of this flight. Score 92 356 . grassy. based on racing. Also the most flowery. light spiciness. Well balanced and rounded. Smooth bodied. lively. THE MACALLAN Twenties (racing car motif). Oak. but deliciously drinkable. Passion fruit aroma. Score 92 THE MACALLAN Thirties (ocean liner motif). Pale walnut colour. Playful. Like the Replica bottlings. Deep bronze. Closest in style to The Macallan today. by making vattings from stock. intended to evoke the 1920–50s. The palest in colour. Pale apricot. Score 94 THE MACALLAN Forties (locomotive motif). The whiskies seem to highlight the Speyside character of Macallan. The sweetest and most fruity of the whiskies in this flight. malt. primrose. All are at 40 volume. An elegant touch of oak. Long. are identified by social motifs of each period. sherry. Seville orange aroma. The initial bottlings. soothing. herbal. these attempt to recall the flavours of the past.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS The Decades Series Travellers with time to kill and a few shelves of whisky to browse may find the labels on this series not only eye-catching but also apposite.

That vintage was described as “a very intense expression of a classic Macallan”. and peppermint. crisp. Cask Strength. creamy. Colour Very dark orange. slippery. Perfumy. Winey. Nutty. nutty.6 vol A new series of single-cask bottlings for the US market. with a copper insignia made from a retired still at Macallan. Body Lean. Oaky. smoky. which is in the age range of 10 to 12 years. Nose Peaty.000/$3. Body Big. Score 92 THE MACALLAN 1961. Palate Oily. Slightly abrasive. Subtle development of other citrus flavours. Almond cookies. becoming chewy. with an inner glow. Colour Distinctive reddish mahogany. Body Silky.000. oaky bitterness. Becoming woody. Palate Firm. Nose Soft. The oak is big but never quite overpowers the other elements. Finish Spicy. Crème brûlée. 58. as a work in progress. spices. Hint of cedar. Oily. Dried fruits. Dry maltiness. 54. Fruity. Peppermint. firm. Some burnt flavours. Score 94 357 . Creamy. Finish Clean. Palate Robust. but it contains orange-crème pralines in very bitter chocolate. almost sooty. Oaky. Sherry. Score 88 Rare vintages of The Macallan THE MACALLAN Millennium 50-year-old. Slightly astringent (less so with water). Nose Oak. Sunrise. Distilled 1949. Hard toffee. Smoky.1 vol Colour Deep orange. Cigar box. Price around £2. The first cask was tasted in the fourth edition of Malt Whisky Companion. Faint suggestion of chocolate.THE MACALLAN THE MACALLAN. So is this one. Orange blancmange. textured. Finish Oaky dryness. 46 vol Offered in about 900 Caithness crystal decanters.

sherbety explosions of fruity and spicy flavours. Score 93 THE MACALLAN 1948. Peat. 40 vol Colour Bright full gold. Score 95 358 . Palate An altogether more elegant. smooth. spicy. long smokiness. Finish Very distinctive in the interplay of sweet spiciness and oaky dryness. Nose Much more estery-fruity. Finish Gentle but lingering and warming. Grass. Very lively and appetizing. Flowery. 46. almost slippery. lemon. Sweet lime. but very delicately balanced. Finish Bitter orange.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS THE MACALLAN 1951. leaving smoky memories. Nose Creamy. Some sweetness and floweriness. wistful style. complex flavours. and orange. Almost immediately. Score 96 THE MACALLAN 1946. woody.8 vol Colour Garnet with jade tinge. Smooth. Nose Sherry not obvious – fino? Flowery. Palate Malt background like rich. Body Light. dark fudge.6 vol Colour Old gold. Great Speyside whiskies once tasted like this. A remarkably seductive whisky for its age. leafy. Estery. Body Light but firm. Body Silky. 48. but the outstanding feature is an astonishingly fresh peat-smoke flavour. peaty. chocolatey. Palate Firm. Again.

given that most whiskies do peak a decade or two earlier. The ticket price can be very high. The vintage dates shown here represent the year of the original bottling. Score 80 The vintages from 1937 to 1940 (see p. indeed. Medicinal. but the heaviest ones can do well in their twenties and even thirties. Very dark (“laburnum” say Macallan). 359 .THE MACALLAN Fine & Rare vintages Most whiskies peak in their teens. Molasses. Rooty. phenolic. Finish is cedary and oaky – dominated by the wood. If it is true of Macallan. Some are. 42. Surprisingly light on the tongue. and woody in aroma. surprisingly good – whisky’s counterparts to Archie Moore or George Foreman – but their value is driven by their antiquity and rarity. in 2002. Very dry and concentrated in palate. Liquorice. 1926. 360) were bought as bottled stock. They were then rebottled for the Fine and Rare series. Yet. or 50s to be of the very best. it may not be the painter’s finest work. but it will command a great price. These tastings seem to confirm the widely held view that Macallan was a peatier.6 vol Bottled as a 60-year-old in 1986. If a recording of Buddy Bolden were found on a wax cylinder we might know whether his cornet really could be heard on the far side of Lake Ponchartrain. Macallan has made a great many outings at advanced ages. Figs. As the best-known heavyweight. treacle toffee. peaty. it is probably true of other Speyside malts. smokier whisky until the 1950s. 40s. If a previously unknown Old Master is identified. it is not reasonable to expect the performance of malts in their 30s.

to lift the finish gracefully. Sweetish. spicy finish. Score 87 1937. Score 84 1938. Fragrant. 43 vol First bottled as a 35-year-old in 1975. At first. Slightly darker than the earlier bottling. Finish very dry indeed. 43 vol First bottled as a 37-year-old. Perfumy and dry. The same fruit is suggested by the aroma. Crispy. Score 93 360 . Hint of anis. Fragrant smoke. but then somewhat abrupt in its spicy. with subtle fruit and malt. Back later. Deep. with green tinge. in 1973. and some astringency. in 1969. It all suggests tropical fruits. elegant. firm. Score 86 1939. 43 vol First bottled as a 35-year-old. Aperitif. but still with great charm.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS 1937. Saffron? Score 85 1938. and garden mint. malty middle. Late smokiness. Score 85 1940. in 1974. The body is prickly. Falls away in the middle. spicy aromas. Pale bronze. Lime zest. delicious. warm bronze. Appetizing. Deep bronze. but no astringency. Lightly syrupy. in 1969. Seduces. Bronze. then slips away. 43 vol First bottled as a 40-year-old. cilantro. Considerably maltier and sweeter. 43 vol First bottled as a 32-year-old. almost spiky. Score 92 1940. Lean. Sweetly appetizing on the nose. A very elegant whisky. bitter chocolate pralines filled with ginger. Vanilla in the aroma. Nice surge of orangey spiciness in the finish. as though kissing a lady’s hand. 43 vol First bottled as a 31-year-old. Sufficiently soothing to calm the palate. Dark gold. No doubt less vigorous than it was. Rich. in 1977. Smooth to the point of urbanity. 43 vol First bottled as a 37-year-old. Remarkable emergence of peppermint in the finish. hot finish. Then with orange. in 1979. Ripe apricot colour. Finishes with spicy bitterness. Lively flavours with plenty of development. Green tinge. syrupy. sweetly nutty aroma and palate. but the flavour doesn’t develop much more than nutty toffee. Sweetshop flavours. Then with peppermint.

oaty. Dry. tawn colour. Appetizing. Long. bittersweet. Fruity. Score 92 1949. Liqueur-like. sweetish palate. too. crochety. A very sweet whisky. smooth. Syrupy. Very inviting. Maderisation. Score 92 1948. The trademark spicy finish. deep gold. Orangey. Also spicy. Very attractive deep yellow.THE MACALLAN The following vintages were all bottled in 2002 1945. 45. Score 85 1949. pink-tinged amber. lively. Lightly syrupy. Reddish orange. Or morello cherry. Spicy aroma. but especially green fruits. especially cinnamon. Perhaps cherries. The colour suggests cherry pie. Lemony. Tastes like a fruity herb bitters. Peat smoke. Somewhat erratic. perhaps? Also some acidity. 49. 44. Slightly medicinal. Lapping on the tongue. gently becoming drier. herbal. and alerts the nose to aromas of cooked fruit.3 vol Bottled at 56 years old.1 vol Bottled at 52 years old. Lovely.3 vol Bottled at 53 years old. flapjack aroma. Score 82 361 . with lots of pepper. reflective. Some big whiskies are belligerent brawlers. Sweet. 51. Mint humbugs and butterscotch in the aroma. Garnet. Full-bodied.8 vol Bottled at 53 years old. The aroma of thick-cut orange marmalade. Score 82 1946. spicy finish. Phenol. dry. This one floats like a butterfly and it kisses instead of stinging. 44. Bright.5 vol Bottled at 56 years old.

Very creamy. Malty. Some cookie-like maltiness. this rather austere expression emerges as being slightly drier than the version above. deep gold colour. Orange flower honey? Moves to long. lemony aroma.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS 1950.7 vol Bottled at 52 years old. and perhaps marginally less complex. Score 92 1952. As crisp as a karate chop. Some vanilla. embracing. Score 91 362 . Floral. spicy notes. with plenty of flavour development. Slightly sweeter and maltier aroma. Over the full course of aroma. Deep gold. palate and finish. gingery spiciness. Light smokiness.3 vol Bottled at 51 years old. Straight into a firm. Clean.8 vol Bottled at 50 years old. toward bronze. Clean and appetizing. The top notes are spicy from start to finish. dessert apple aroma (a typical Macallan characteristic. 51. Instant hit of spiciness in the palate. appetizing aroma. 50. malty base. Then things slow to a more natural pace. they meld into an endlessly soothing glow. Appetizingly well-rounded peaty dryness in the finish. Warm. and the spices present themselves one by one. Flowery and fruity characteristics persistently try to take over but never quite manage it. Honeyed palate. Deep bronze. sweet. Finally. Big-bodied. Score 92 1951. making its first indisputable appearance in this flight). 46. soft.7 vol Bottled at 52 years old. Nice touch of oak in the finish. against a background of malty sweetness. 52. with some gingery. Slightly darker colour. Clean. Score 93 1950.

Score 85 363 . Deep copper red colour. but lacking in vigour. 1954. Rich. 48 vol Bottled at 49 years old. Clovey aromas. deep flavours. The palate is intensely sweet. with suggestion of apples (a boxful. Fruity (prunes?). clovey spiciness and toasted oak in the finish. This whisky may have been drinkable when it was bottled. topped with marzipan and toasted sliced almonds. toffee-like. Sugary. 1958. Herbal. An even fuller ruby colour and a gently smoky aroma seem promising. Syrupy. Score 83 No stocks of 1956 or 1957 have been traced.7 vol Bottled at 43 years old.2 vol Bottled at 47 years old. Sherry. Almost opaque. Score 84 1953. Toward the end of its life. 45. 50. Alcohol-soaked fruitcake. not peeled). Black. Toffee apples? Finishes with dusty spiciness. Iron and passion fruit in the aroma. Extraordinary garnet-to-ruby colour. Warm. with red tinges. 53.THE MACALLAN 1952. Earthy aroma. A wintry dram. charred oak and anis in the nose. Syrupy maltiness in the palate. 52 vol Bottled at 49 years old. with some astringency. Liquorice and chewy malt in the palate. Not scored 1955. Now it is strictly collectable.9 vol Bottled at 46 years old. Dark. Sauternes-like colour. Woody finish. studded with cherries. syrupy body. Score 86.

Instant spicy. 1961. as famously made in Denmark).2 vol Bottled at 36 years old. again. sugary. greeny gold colour. 56. Score 77 364 . Very dark orangey amber colour. 1964. Nutty. The palate is sweet. Peppery.6 vol Bottled at 37 years old. Finishes with the burning sensation of having bitten into a chilli pepper. Like a spiced cake glazed with sugar and studded with cloves. bittersweet finish. Reminiscent of cherry “brandy” (the liqueur type. 47 vol Bottled at 43 years old. Cerise. or 1963. creamy aroma. Score 76 1965.5 vol Bottled at 35 years old. and toffeeish. 58. bittersweet attack.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS 1959. Score 79 1966. in the finish. Palate is sweet. with suggestions of green fruits – or chillis. Not very Macallan-like. Not very whisky-like. Syrupy body. 55. fruity. The colour suggests cherries and the aroma seems to follow suit. but not very Macallan-like. crystal sugar. Similarly wintry flavours: nutty. Pale. Score 84 No stocks of 1960. Claret colour. and woody dryness. Fruity. Drying. Spicy. 1962. Very unusual for a Macallan. with some vanilla. Dry. Some astringency in the finish. An interesting whisky. Cherries. ginger. and deeply malty aromas.

resiny. then a dusty dryness. Palate starts with sweet maltiness. Beautifully balanced between sweetness and dryness. Pineapple.THE MACALLAN 1967. malty aroma. Spicy. Very sweet and toffeeish in the palate. with slight astringency. Finally. faint green tinge. a huge. Sherry and malt in the aroma. sweet fruitiness.7 vol Bottled at 32 years old. Score 92 1969. Sweet at first. Pineapple. Lemony aroma. Very slight oaky astringency in the palate. Mahogany red. Pale gold. 51 vol Bottled at 34 years old. Sweet and fruity in the aroma. Score 87 1968. lemony palate. Otherwise not at all typical. long finish. Fresh. Oily. 56. A playful. gold to bronze. cereal-grain aroma. becoming rooty. Banana. Bright yellow gold. Deep. Lively finish. developing chocolatey flavours. 59 vol Bottled at 32 years. Vanilla. Orange blossom. Dark oak colour. Deep. Dusty. refractive. Scenty. Creamy. Delicate. 46.3 vol Bottled at 35 years old. and fruity. Syrupy.6 vol Bottled at 33 years old. Good wood extract. Lively. Score 84 365 . Flowery. Spicy. Custard apple. Score 80 1968. Score 78 1969. 52. refreshing demonstration of Macallan’s fruity esters. Papaya.

garden mint. 54.4 vol Bottled at 31 years old. Becomes drier. malty.4 vol Bottled at 29 years. Palate starts malty and very sweet. Passion fruit aroma. Score 89 1971. Palate has violets. resiny. 52. and espresso. Perfectly pitched spicy finish. Very lively. Sappy. tawny. Sweet. 49. Score 89 1972. spicy. Almost opaque. sweet. Oaky aroma. Sweetish palate. Score 88 1972. with cocoa-like flavours. Score 89 366 . 58. Sherryish. Bitterness of finish rather aggressive.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS 1970. spicy palate. Rosewood. with some woody astringency. bitter chocolate.9 vol Bottled at 32 years old.2 vol Bottled at 29 years. Score 90 1971. Dark claret colour.9 vol Bottled at 30 years old. Long. Fruity. Dark. rum-butter flavours. resiny. 56.4 vol Bottled at 30 years old. Chewy. Malty. fudge. Slightly abrasive. Very dark mahogany. fruity. 55. Lightly syrupy. gentle expression. Slight woody astringency in the finish. lively. Very dark oak colour. Dark chestnut. Brown sugar and cherry brandy flavours. Very smooth body. Score 85 1970. but Macallan spiciness and apple esters come through. The finish is peppery and very long. Reminiscent of root ginger. rooty. Fruity. A surprisingly soft. oaky finish. fruity Christmas pudding aroma. calvados-like aroma.

There is an amusing twist to the adoption of this solution. Score 81 A 10-year-old. at 40 vol. butt no 8747. One independent bottler persisted for a time with the designation Macallan-Glenlivet. The Macallan implies that the bottling was “official”. from Douglas Laing. honeyed and much sweeter. distilleries that for many years hyphenated their names with the word “Glenlivet”. has a bright gold colour. dry at first. Score 86 From the same bottler. Gordon & MacPhail compromise with “Speymalt from Macallan”. and others have used their own variations. is scenty. a 1966 distillation with an attractive reddish amber colour.THE MACALLAN Some independent bottlings of Macallan Macallan is one of several distilleries that have on occasion brought legal pressure to stop their whisky being bottled and marketed by independents.6 vol. Macallan was one of the dozen. flowery. and carried out precisely as deemed by the company. straightforward maltiness. These two were reviewed in earlier editions of this book. It was to distinguish itself from them that the original styled itself “The Glenlivet”. lemony finish. wellbalanced palate. Score 86 A 1990. again at 40 vol. despite their remoteness from that glen. again. and lively spiciness in the finish. becoming creamy. The confusing Glenlivets are gradually pruning themselves. Tasting notes A Speymalt distilled in 1994 and bottled in 2003. a malt accent that seems richer in the aroma than the palate. confident. A robust expression of Macallan called “As We Get It” once commanded a following. This is also one of the intentions behind Macallan’s use of the definite article. a sweetish. Score 86 367 . a malt accent. light to medium in weight. It is a long. golden colour and. and a very appetizing. has a bright. distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2000 at 50 vol. a suggestion of marzipan in the aroma. spicy. and distinctly herbal. at 57. spicy finish. from Signatory. but definite articles are sprouting like mushrooms. with a warming. has a burnished bronze colour. or twenty.

but that aroma does seem to be present. The colour perhaps suggests chlorophyll. Light. and a livelier. and surprisingly intense smokiness. cask no 7676. Score 79 A 1967. Score 79 368 .A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS A 1990. Score 91 A 12-year-old. has a distinctively greeny gold colour. from the same bottler. There are grass aromas and the faintest hints of peat. at 46 vol. cask no MM10242. Not very Macallan-like. pleasantly sweet and refreshing. a cinnamon spiciness in the aroma. but the flavour is more reminiscent of oak smoke. a toffeeish malt background. The vegetation turns to lemon grass in the palate. bottled in 2001 at 46 vol. has a dark walnut colour.2 vol. but lacking in flavour and structure. flowery dryness in the beginning. from Murray McDavid. This whisky must have been made with a well-peated malt. at 51. has a more fragrant aroma and palate. spicier finish. distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2001 in the Whisky Galore series. It is equally untypical. a slightly bigger body.

has a full. a slippery smooth body. a vintage dated 1990 was released in 2002 at 50 vol.1 vol. a rich. coffee. a Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection. with the typical Macallan “calvados” and flowering currant in the finish. A 1990 marsala finish. Score 89 369 . Curiously labelled Extra Strength. walnuts?) with a butter-cream filling. creamy texture. and an engaging interplay of honeyed sweetness and estery spices. bottled at 12 years old and 57. A good example of Macallan. has a bright. at 60. cedar and peat in the aroma. and a concentrated sweetness in the finish. at 46 vol. was released by Adelphi in 2000. Score 87 A 1988. It has a full bronze colour. fresh “peat kiln” aromas. Score 88 From the same enterprise. a flowery aroma. Score 89 These two bottlings are very close in style to the distillery’s own principal expressions. and a buttery maltiness.8 vol.THE MACALLAN A 12-year-old. with lemony and malty flavours. Like eating a cake (chocolate. Score 85 A 1980. the floral aroma of furniture polish. a light body. a buttery maltiness. from James MacArthur. at 57. has a bright gold colour. yellowy gold colour. but lacks marsala. rich cream toffee and fudge in the palate.5 vol. it is a compromise between standard strength and cask strength. a nutty sherry character. warm amber colour. with a touch of chocolate in the finish. It had a full gold colour.

with clean. 1980 Sherry wood: Attractive full amber colour. Beautifully melded. Lively spiciness in the finish. Soothing. Clean. has a bright. Soft. all at cask strength: 1988 Sherry wood. slightly sharp aroma. restrained fruits and spices.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS A 1979. from Scott’s Selection. and an attractive spiciness to round out the finish. spicy finish. Score 88 Tasted as works in progress (and therefore not scored) From MacKillop’s choice. Clean. 370 . 1974 Full gold. Dark orange colour. malty flavours. appetizing dessert apple flavours. Syrupy sweetness and warming spiciness combine in the finish. yellowy gold colour. Faintly smoky aroma. Dessert apple and honey in the aroma – and in the palate. Appetizing nutty sherry and barley sugar aroma. with vanilla. at 53. Delicately spicy finish. Lightly creamy malt. 1973 Deep gold. toffeeish maltiness. Depth of maltiness. a rich maltiness. a dry.7 vol. rounded.

Body Medium. HE BLACK WHISKY House style Fresh. involving the double charring of selected bourbon barrels”. The distillery is quite young itself. but it is very enjoyable nonetheless. Flora and Fauna. With the same raw materials and location.com T Loch Dhu was produced here. drying on the tongue. Finish Perfumy. MANNOCHMORE 12-year-old. flowery.MANNOCHMORE Mannochmore Region Address Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside (Lossie) By Elgin. 43 vol Colour White wine. Clean. Morayshire. IV30 3SF Tel 01343 862000 Website www. This curious product was aimed at “image-conscious young men”. Aperitif. Palate Becoming lightly fruity. and take their water from the Mannoch hills. Given the fashionability of black among young women.malts. dry. they may have felt excluded. having been established in 1971–72. the two make similar malts. Very flowery indeed. augmenting the production of its older neighbour. Its original role was to provide malt whisky as a component of the Haig blends. Nose Fresh. Score 72 371 . Glenlossie. light. The best guess is that the “preparation” – perhaps first a spraying and then a charring – involved caramelization. Dry. dry. The two are south of Elgin. Faint peat. Mannochmore’s seems slightly less complex. Diageo insists that the colour of the whisky derived from “a secret preparation. firm.

40 vol Colour Ebony. Score 76 372 . Hint of cough sweets. 60. medicinal. flowery. Distilled 1974. Hint of warmth. whisky aromas very evident. Softly syrupy. Fruity. hot. Dryish. Lightly smooth. faint peat. 10-year-old. in their Connoisseurs Choice range. Rare Malts. Palate Oily. at 40 vol. flowery. a 70cl Rare Malts bottling at the same age seemed much cleaner and rounder. Liquorice. Body Very soft. grassy aroma. with nuts and ginger in the finish. Palate Light. wintergreen. but not for the whisky lover. Nose Fragrant. Score 74 This edition is in a 75cl bottling. Score 70 Independent bottlings of Mannochmore Gordon & MacPhail offer a 1984.1 vol Colour Bright greeny gold. Nose Liquorice. Body Medium. Score 76 LOCH DHU The Black Whisky. buttercup colour. Finish Robust. Bottled 1997. This has a bright. Fruit. Finish Whisky flavours gently emerge. Liquorice root. Later the same year. with a mahogany tinge. and flavours that develop from clotted cream to hard toffee. a distinctly buttery. dryish.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS MANNOCHMORE 22-year-old. a very fat body. flowery. Scores for initiative. peppery fruit. faint peat.

Orange pith and zest. Finish Surprisingly lively. Sooty.MILLBURN Millburn DCL Speyside (Inverness) Site of former distillery Millburn Road. Millburn is believed to have dated from 1807. Aromatic. firm chewiness. as Rare Malts. Inverness. Whiskies distilled a decade earlier have been released at 18 years and now 25. Medium dry. spicy. aromatic. Night cap. Bottled 2001. Body Dry. Smoky oaky. Faintly medicinal. Palate Flavour development. MILLBURN 25-year-old. Inverness-shire. it glides by recognizable distillery buildings that are now a pubsteakhouse.9 vol Colour Yellow. Sappy. House style Smoky. IV2 3QX Region Producer Highlands district A S THE TRAIN FROM LONDON finishes its 11-hour journey to Inverness. The distillery closed in 1985. At least there is still drink on the premises. Peppery. Score 75 373 . Rare Malts. Distilled 1975. Nose Vegetal. and its buildings from 1876 and 1922. It was owned for a time by Haig’s. 61.

sappy. Score 75 374 . Finish Oaky. perfume. then peaty. Body Rich and creamy. smoke. Finish Pistachios this time? Nutty dryness rounds out the palate. Distilled 1975. perfumy. 58. lightly peaty. Nose Oaky and aromatic. 46 vol Colour Bright. Palate Mature with cooked apple. Body Rich and full-bodied. quickly becoming perfumy. Distilled 1983. Nose Juicy and fruity. candied peel. 65. Connoisseurs Choice. Body Smooth but drying. Nose Dry. Dries on tongue.5 vol Colour Greeny gold. Palate Dryish.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS MILLBURN 18-year-old. Score 80 MILLBURN 1978. Body Lightly oily. chocolate.6 vol Colour Bright. Palate Sweetish. Becoming sweeter. greeny gold. Gordon & MacPhail Cask Edition. Body Lightly smooth. Some medicinal peat. Gordon & MacPhail. greeny gold. Heady. Finish Long and fruity. Very soothing and warming. Finish Slightly musty. Vanilla. Nose Perfumy. vegetal attack. Somewhere between mothballs and tar-like peat. Rare Malts. Score 75 MILLBURN 1976. Typical Millburn succulence. Signatory Unchillfiltered Collection. 40 vol Colour Light amber. Score 74 MILLBURN 1974. Finish Slightly aggressive. Palate Peaty. and hint of sherry. Emphatic sugared almonds. smoky. alcoholic. oak. Palate Lightly malty. Connoisseurs Choice. 40 vol Colour Gold to bronze. Score 74 MILLBURN 18-year-old. Hazelnuts. Nose Appetizing peat.

That still has been dismantled. and smokier. Body Light to medium. House style T Flowery. MILTONDUFF 10-year-old. firm. but heavier. which still exists. The Miltonduff malt is well regarded by blenders. and makes a pleasant single. Although there is no other connection. was extensively modernized in the 1930s. For a time. Soothing. IV30 3TQ Tel 01343 547433 Producer HE BENEDICTINE PRIORY OF PLUSCARDEN. the name of the Priory is invoked on the box that houses the Miltonduff bottle.MILTONDUFF Miltonduff Region Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands district Speyside (Lossie) Address Elgin. Finish Firm. scenty. identified as Mosstowie. clean. This produced a malt with similar characteristics to Miltonduff. and again in the 1970s. oilier. elegant. Score 75 375 . firm. Nose Fragrant. clean. Palate Sweetish. but the malt can occasionally be found in independent bottlings. the company also had a Lomond still on the site. Morayshire. flowery. Very faint peat. was once a brewery – and provided the land on which the Miltonduff distillery stands. Aperitif. Lightly nutty. Its whisky is very important in the Ballantine blends. Firm. Smooth. The distillery. 40 vol Colour Honeyed gold. south of Elgin. established in 1824.

Nose Light sherry and very gentle peat. Palate Orange-flower water. Oily. Finish Almond and chocolate. flowery. Viennese whirls. thyme.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS MILTONDUFF 15-year-old. 40 vol Colour Pale bronze. Colour Amber. Score 77 MOSSTOWIE 1979. Toffee. Body Oily and rich. 40 vol Colour Bronze. Soft and gentle. Nose Flowery. toffee. Gordon & MacPhail. Finish Cocoa powder. Perhaps better as a light digestif. Jaffa cakes. textured. Connoisseurs Choice. Body Velvety. pigskin. A demure dram. now hard to find. peat-smoke fragrance. Palate Aromatic herbs: rosemary. Hint of vanilla. Nose Beeswax. buttercup-like. Finish Long. Score 78 376 . Body Light to medium. Score 72 MILTONDUFF 1968. Nose Very soft fruits. Gordon & MacPhail. Palate Flowery. Special Distillery Bottling. Lightly clean maltiness. Body Medium. Good malt background. Palate Fresh. Score 78 MILTONDUFF 1968. Flowery. Finish Flowery dryness. 40 vol An official bottling. honeyish. oily. lightly nutty. 46 vol Colour Gold.

AB55 4AQ Tel 01340 822100 Website www.com A single malt are found in Mortlach: floweriness. Mortlach has not been bound by that orthodoxy. Nor does anyone wholly understand how the combination of stills achieves its particular result. House style 377 . and argued for “distillery character”. smokiness. In the course of a history stretching from the earliest days of legal distilling. either. and design of stills to achieve the result they desired. LL THE PLEASURES OF A GOOD SPEYSIDE A Speyside classic: elegant and flowery yet supple and muscular.malts.M O RT L A C H Mortlach Region Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside (Dufftown) Address Dufftown. Its complexity may well arise from its extraordinary miscellany of stills. maltiness. Banffshire. size. After dinner or bedtime. and the whisky was so good that no one wanted to risk changing it. It seems that they strayed so far from the orthodoxies of the industry that they were never corralled. While UDV/Diageo has over the years moved away from sherry. and fruitiness. successive managers seem to have been heretics: fiddling with the shape. The whisky has such individuality that its character is not overwhelmed by sherry maturation. peatiness. Immensely complex. with great length.

Flora and Fauna. Soft mint humbugs. smoky. Finish More mint. Score 85 378 . Score 85 MORTLACH 22-year-old. rich. peaty. Stalky. Distilled 1972. assertive. Buttercups. Smoky. Nose Distinct peat character. Cask Strength Limited Bottling.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS MORTLACH 16-year-old. Body Remarkably smooth. Rich sherry notes. Finish Complex. Rare Malts. smooth. An outstanding digestif. layered. Syrupy. Bottled 1997.3 vol Colour Very full gold. Body Medium to full. some fruitiness. peaty. rich amber. with barley-sugar nuttiness and surging warmth. Bright. Developing from dryness to sweeter juiciness. orangey amber. Some smoky peat. 43 vol Colour Profound. Nose Cereal grains. 63. Fresh baked bread. Then sweet smokiness. becoming drier.1 vol Colour Very attractive. Very big in the middle. Palate Flowery. Body Big. Score 81 MORTLACH 1980. Nose Dry oloroso sherry. with lots of flavour development. firm. Tremendous length. 65. sappy. Palate Sherryish. Palate Hugely nutty. Lime skins. Finish Long and dry.

from a gentle. balances the sweet and savoury well on the nose: roast lamb. Score 78 A sherry cask matured 12-year-old. with a clean. Score 70 Murray McDavid’s 1989 fresh sherry vintage. the palate is savoury with touches of Bovril and a concentrated sweetness. Score 75 Blackadder has a 1989 sherry oak butt at 59. Score 80 379 . a nectar-like palate. at Bakewell. and a hint of leather. walnut finish. deep. matured in sherry and bottled in 2000 at 40 vol. bottled at 43 vol for The Wee Dram. but you can discern the smell of dunnage warehouse and a slightly dull woodiness. charred raisin. meaty flavour with dried-fruit sweetness. has a nose of roasted nuts.M O RT L A C H MORTLACH AND THE SHERRY TRADITION: SOME INDEPENDENT BOTTLINGS From Coopers Choice. has the aroma of lemon curd. Score 85 A 12-year-old. at 46 vol from Hart Brothers.4 vol. The alcohol numbs the aroma a little. the palate is powerful with a rich. flowers. a 1989 Mortlach. simple aroma to a complex finish. is notably spicy. it is meaty but with a sweet centre and raisin and treacle finish. finding balancing dryness in a heathery finish. England. struck match. and oak. treacle. appetizing smokiness. sulphur. a big-bodied whisky. at 46 vol. The mid-palate offers a rush of barley-sugar maltiness.

Aperitif. HE NAME INDICATES THE NORTH GATE House style T Dry. fruity. 61 vol Colour Bright. Rare Malts. Nose Dry. Some viscosity. who toured Scotland’s distilleries in the 1880s. The distillery was built in 1820. Alfred Barnard. Light. Palate NORTH PORT 19-year-old. gin-like. and closed in 1983. Leafy. Body Light to medium. Finish Dry. spirity. Toasted marshmallow. The present-day writer. Distilled 1979. grassy. Score 68 380 . Dried apricot. DD9 6BE Region Producer Highlands district of the small. Bottled 1998. North Port was modernized in the 1970s. sharp. once-walled city of Brechin. It has now been sold for redevelopment. Derek Cooper. Angus. recorded that this one obtained its barley from the farmers around Brechin. pale gold. reports that the condensers were cooled in a stream that ran through the distillery.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS North Port DCL/UDV Eastern Highlands Site of former distillery Brechin. Dry fruitiness. Cedary. and its peat and water from the Grampian mountains. Dried banana. lightly smoky. The pioneering whisky writer.

Fresh bananas. Single Cask Bottling. Woody. Body Oily. and pineapple. 54. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Oil of peppermint. Douglas Laing. pinkish brown. dry. Light. Body Oily. Resin. Distilled 1971. Finish Leafy.3 vol Colour Deep. Nose Aromatic.7 vol Colour Bright gold. Rare Malts. smooth. Distilled 1966. Score 67 NORTH PORT 36-year-old. Palate Cedary. Oily. Score 66 381 . Palate Bananas again. Finish Sharp. crystallized fruit. Musty. Score 67 NORTH PORT-BRECHIN 1981. 49. Lightly creamy flavour. almost sharp. with suggestions of mints. Nose Perfumy. Finish Drying. Bottled 1995. Nose Cedary.N O RT H P O RT Palate NORTH PORT 23-year-old. Bitter. Fades quickly. smooth. Newly sawn wood. Light spiciness. Connoisseurs Choice. Body Very light. Black chocolate.

but within that scale has a commanding position. though the present buildings probably date from the 1880s. or Wordsworth to Mull or Iona. which it still is. return to see a harbourfront centred on the distillery – backed by mossy. Oban is one of the few Western Highland distilleries on the mainland. with fresh peat and a whiff of the sea. and Vikings. Travellers following the muses of Mendelssohn. With seafood or game.discovering-distilleries. or after dinner. Argyll. Oban is regarded as the capital of the Western Highlands. NTHUSIASTS FOR THE WESTERN HIGHLAND House style E Medium. but also by a 2002 Limited Release. Oban.com/www. facing the sea. or Fingal’s Cave. peaty hills whence its water flows. Turner. there is now enough of an oeuvre to prove otherwise. The still-house was rebuilt in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Keats. 382 . It is a small distillery in a small town. The principal expression of its whisky. Picts. It was a fishing village.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Oban Producer Diageo Highlands district Western Highlands Address Stafford Street. With the 14-year-old augmented not only by the Montilla fino. and the distillery has a central site on the main street.malts. PA34 5NH Tel 01631 572004 Website www. and in the era of railways and steamships became a gateway to the islands of the west. the 14-year-old.com Region VC malts sometimes dismiss Oban as being too restrained. A family of merchants in the town became brewers and distillers in 1794. has a label design incorporating a summary of the town’s history: settled by Mesolithic cave dwellers before 5000BC. later by Celts.

but also a touch of fresh peat. Score 80 OBAN 32-year-old. Perfumy. Oily creaminess. salty finish. A whiff of the sea. Peaches. Nose Sweet. teasing. Colour Amber. A walk on the beach. developing notes of tobacco and seaweed. Dry. 383 . Sweet in the middle. Sandy. Tightly combined flavours. said one taster. Score 79 OBAN 1980. Sweet. peachy. Faint hint of fruity seaweed. 55. at 46 vol. soothing. oily. Limited Release of 6000. Palate Salty. was maltier and smoky. Nose Fragrant. sandy. smooth. Palate Deceptively delicate at first. Finish Surprisingly assertive. Then lightly waxy. Double Matured. with a huge. Finish The salt comes rolling back like an incoming tide. and some maltiness. Body Firm. appetizing. slightly viscous. Distillers Edition. Earlier bottlings (in the late 1980s): a Cadenhead 21-year-old. 43 vol Finished in Montilla fino wood.OBAN OBAN 14-year-old. Ripe pears. is powerfully peaty. Almost gritty. Nose “Pebbles on the beach”. smooth. edible seaweed. bigger. Palate Silky.1 vol Colour Greeny gold. salty. Score 81. Stinging. Edible seaweed. Body Soft. nutty. bottled at 30 years old and 52 vol by Cadenhead. becoming smoky. Very complex. 43 vol Colour Full gold to amber. Body Smooth. Finish Aromatic. Score 83 Independent bottlings of Oban A 1963. Bottled 2002. slightly woody. Score 74.

inverhouse.S. The distillery. is in “Pulteneytown”. Pre-dinner. Wick.com/www.J.” observed an early writer on the water of life. appetizing. and needs a good whisky to warm it up. KW1 5BD www. at the town of Wick. salty. founded in 1826.com NE OF WHISKY’S GREAT DEBATES (or was it a storm in a copita?) began here. in the famously peaty. Not only is the Pulteney distillery on the coast. Caithness.com email enquiries@inverhouse. “Caithness is a bare county.oldpulteney. albeit only 250 yards from the nearest part of the harbour front. and went public in 2003: do coastal whiskies really taste of salt? The debate surfaced in Whisky Magazine. rock-faced county of Caithness. House style O Fresh. He was referring to Old Pulteney. Even that walk can be sufficiently windy to demand a dram. Part of the town was designed by Thomas Telford and built by Sir William Pulteney in 1810 as a model fishing port. in the wine magazine Decanter. Professor R. It is thus one of the few urban distilleries. 384 . it is the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland. McDowall.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Old PultenEy Producer Region Address website Inver House Distillers Ltd Highlands district Northern Highlands Huddart Street. but the salty suggestion had first been made in respect of Old Pulteney 25 years earlier.

sweet broom. That distinctly maritime manzanilla character. Palate Light. Body Oily. Finish Chewy. Body Smooth and silky. Nose Hint of peat. Finish Oily. Nose Dry. but oilier.9 vol Colour Warm amber. Textured. SCORE 79 OLD PULTENEY 18-year-old. Minty and malty. Lasting on soft spices and salt. 59. Sherry Wood Finish. Distinctly nutty. oily. Cask No 1498. Firm. Earthy. complex. Nose Rich. Score 81 OLD PULTENEY 26-year-old. Highland Selection Limited Edition. Nutty. Body Light. Still honey and nuts. Very salty. Finish Now the nuts are salted. creamy. sweet. Peat. Biscuity at first. then sweeter. grass. 40 vol Colour Deep yellow. Palate Fresh. Peanut brittle. malty aromas.OLD PULTENEY OLD PULTENEY 12-year-old. Palate Very sweet. Toasted nuts. Score 81 385 . Soothing. rewarding. 46 vol Colour Full gold.

a 1990 at 59. from Gordon & MacPhail. Score 80 From the same bottler. and finishes with fresh. A balsamic touch (eucalyptus?). figs. Cherry liqueur chocolates.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS OLD PULTENEY 32-year-old. Finish Muscular. with a touch of peat and salt in the finish. Body Full. crushed nuts. 56. Highland Selection Limited Edition. syrupy. Palate A sherry burst-out. and a biting. sour. astringent. at 51. starts with wild flowers by the sea. has a Chartreuse-like aroma. Rich dried fruit. Score 69 A 1966. at 40 vol. Tobacco.9 vol from Adelphi. Score 78 A 19-year-old. develops sweet herbal flavours. Nose Full sherry. dry finish. has a sustained freshness of appetizing malt and complex fruit and spices. Not typical of Old Pulteney. Burnt wood.6 vol from Hart Brothers. The distillery character is buried under assertive oak and punchy spices.2 vol Colour Mahogany. Score 80 A 12-year-old. is as fresh as a day in the country. Score 79 386 . salt on the tongue. is heavily sherried to the point of being indelicate: harsh. at 55. dry. Bitter chocolate. sultanas.4 vol. Score 75 Some independent bottlings of Old Pulteney An eight-year-old at 40 vol. sweetly malty.

at 12 years old. oily. In the late 1980s. softpear house character. spirity. enthusiasts for single malts began to wonder whether the product would become available to them. Score 69 387 . in United’s Flora and Fauna series. Body Light to medium. PITTYVAICH 12-year-old. after a short and unglamorous life. Flora and Fauna. revealing a perfumy. perfumy. Banffshire. After dinner – a Scottish grappa. A bottling of the same age from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was similar. ULLDOZED IN House style Fruity. moving to a spicy dryness. so to speak. pear-like fruitiness. This has all the other characteristics. 43 vol Colour Deep amber red. Some malty chewiness. but seemed to have more spicy dryness on the nose. Dry. the industrial-looking distillery was built by Bell’s in 1975. plus a hefty dose of sherry. Palate Very sherryish. Nose Sherryish. Firm. Finish Spicy. sweet. perfumy. In 1991 there was finally an official bottling. Soft. AB55 4BR B 2002. Assertive.P I T T Y VA I C H Pittyvaich Producer Region Highlands district Diageo Speyside (Dufftown) site of former distillery Dufftown. Then independent bottler James MacArthur released a 12-year-old. spicy. intensely dry. The same bottler then added a 14-year-old that more assertively pronounces its dry finish. pear skin. Vanilla. lingering on the tongue.

complete with pagodas. but the original pair of malt kilns have been preserved. These are vintage dated. In the last two or three years.000 bottles each. With smoked fish. peppery. which became a stand-alone Limited Edition. of 6000 to 12. to all of the other Islay distilleries. The malt is supplied. including those which make a proportion of their own. herbal. The distillery. so the number of bottles is determined by the amount of whisky held from a single year. In 2000. near the island’s main ferry port. In order to vary the offerings.com of this cult whisky? As stocks at the distillery diminish. After three releases (see opposite). PA42 7AH www.malts. HICH WILL BE THE FINAL VINTAGE House style W Oily. and the fashionability of Islay soars. The Rare Malts had made it a rule not to feature the same distillery two years running. The Rare Malts selection ceased to include Port Ellen. 388 . Isle of Islay. Such was the interest in the Port Ellen that it was decided to circumvent the rule. the final vintage seemed nigh. smoky. salty. In 1995. substantially rebuilt and expanded during the boom years of the 1960s. then closed during the downturn in the 1980s. Port Ellen is the rarest of Islay malts. a 20-year-old Port Ellen was included in the range.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Port Ellen Producer Region Islay district Site of former distillery Website Diageo South Shore Port Ellen. in varying levels of peatiness. Adjoining the distillery is a modern maltings. Diageo started marketing whiskies from silent distilleries as The Rare Malts. despite a surprising number of independent bottlings. the modern parts of the distillery have been demolished. speculation mounts. In 1998. was founded in 1825. there was a further bottling of the same vintage at 22 years old.

Finish Pleasantly dry and slowly dying. textured. Palate Earthy. Third Release 2003. Oily. Dry smokiness. 24-year-old. parsley. 58. Limited Edition Numbered Bottles. 56. creamy. smoky.35 vol Colour Lemony with golden hues. Intensely appetizing. Quite hard. Colour Bright gold. Second Release 2002. 22-year-old. Bright.2 vol Colour Pale gold. Nose Grassy and herbal. Limited Edition Numbered Bottles. First Release 2001. Nose Fresh. A pleasant earthiness comes through. Palate Surprisingly smooth and sweet. Developing spicy notes. but clean and firm. A subtlety and complexity to which no aquavit or pepper vodka could quite aspire. A refreshing coolness. Body Tender. refractive. malty. Limited Edition Numbered Bottles. Salty. Body Firm. Cereal grain. peppercorns. angelica.4 vol A rare “official” bottling. Very warming. Score 83 389 . warming. Faint green tinge.P O RT ELLEN PORT ELLEN 1979. 59. Finish Pronounced salt. Finish Powerful. camomile. greeny gold. oaky. Body Soft. peppery. Peaty. Austere. Score 90 PORT ELLEN 1979. Dill. Salty. Anniversary Bottling. Palate Smooth and deceptively restrained at first. Nose Very medicinal. 24-year-old. Bison grass. Palate Edible seaweed. then the tightly combined flavours emerge: bay leaves. Nose Herbal. Smokiness slowly emerges and hovers on menthol and vanilla. Score 91 PORT ELLEN 21-year-old. Sea breezes. Score 92 PORT ELLEN 1978. Body Exceptionally oily. 56. Salty flavours reminiscent of some vermouths. Seaweedy. nutty. Slightly sour. to celebrate 25 years of the maltings at Port Ellen.2 vol Colour Solid. Finish Slowly unfolding.

Oaky. fruity. Slightly sticky. Score 79 From the same bottler. drier. slightly sour. Rare Malts. Body Lightly oily. Palate More expressive. Finish Salty. 60. SCORE 85 PORT ELLEN 11-year-old. Finish Hugely salty and equally peppery. seaweedy. Appetizing and arousing. Bay trees. Bottled 1998. seaweed. 64. warming. Score 82 PORT ELLEN 22-year-old. Palate Fruity. Parsley. herbal.5 vol Colour Pale yellow. oakier. Seaweed.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS PORT ELLEN 20-year-old. Distilled 1978. olive oil. Nose Fruity.9 vol Colour Gold. Palate Big-bodied. parsleyish. Nose Leafy. Extremely peppery. Nose More assertive. Score 79 390 . textured. Rare Malts. bay leaves. Bottled 2000. Cadenhead. Then seaweedy. Chewy. 60. Fruity olive oil. Parsley.1 vol Colour Pale gold. Distilled 1978. dryish flavours. Smoky. but slightly less complex. Edible seaweed. Finish Sweet. an 18-year-old at 62.2 vol is smokier. and more peppery. body Big. Body Lightly oily. peppery.

Body Lightly oily. and bay leaf. Finish Peppery. Score 79 Some independent bottlings of Port Ellen A 1982 from Gordon & MacPhail. Palate Oaky. The palate shows real intensity and good oily length before the stones come back on the finish. bottled at 55 vol. at 50 vol. 23-year-old. The feel is light and a little thin but there is good balance and a dry. is sugary sweet on the nose with hints of sea thrift. dried seaweed. has a pinky copper tinge. mixing European oak notes with fragrant peat smoke and on the palate balances sweet fruit and dry smoke. A succulent centre with tangerine. linseed oil. and peanut oil. Cask Strength. and a slightly austere finish. Hart Brothers. The finish has a dab of Germolene on it. and smoke. is straw in colour and has a mix of oaky/malty aromas alongside light smoke. salty. tarry peat. from Wilson and Morgan at 46 vol. 52. The nose is very soft and buttery. shows classic distillery character: cod liver oil. Score 80 Douglas Laing’s 23-year-old version. oaky. smoky finish. Finish Oily. dunnage warehouses.5 vol Colour Full gold. Score 85 Signatory’s 1979. is austere. 40 vol Colour Deep gold to bronze. The palate builds slowly. black olive. Late saltiness. at 40 vol. Nose Leathery. bottled at 43 vol. Nose Clean. Great balance. tar. distilled in 1979. Body Lightly oily. mixing these flavours within a firm structure. Score 78 391 . Connoisseurs Choice. The nose reminds you of stony beaches. Score 78 The same firm’s 1978.P O RT ELLEN PORT ELLEN 1980. and pier heads all enlivened by a sprig of spearmint. Score 77 PORT ELLEN 1975. Score 85 A 23-year-old. Lightly medicinal. Palate Very sweet and parsleyish.

has a greeny gold colour. very light body. There is heather blossom and linseed oil on the palate. more seaweed. light. herbal. clean hits of sweet. Score 77 1976 at 57. slightly woody. Bottled at 58 vol. firmer. then oily. peppery finish. distilled 1975. with a hint of peat. Flowery aroma. Score 80 Signatory bottlings of Port Ellen Without having quite cornered the market. it has a sunset pink glow. drier aroma.9 vol: Similar colour. firm body. the finish is perfumed. fruity with some tar. flowery aroma. fruit and vanilla in palate. lightly peaty. Score 76 23-year-old. at 56. parsley aroma. Score 78 1975 at 43 vol: Very pale indeed. peppery finish. Signatory Silent Stills series. this independent seems to have made something of a speciality of Port Ellen. bottled 1998.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Signatory has also finished a 1978 vintage in a port pipe. light. savoury. 1983 at 43 vol: “White wine” colour. The sweet fruits work well against the firm structure. Score 79 392 .1 vol. peppery finish. oily body. comes to life in a seaweedy.

Roses once bloomed on the banks of the Forth-Clyde canal. but this prospect seems to have vanished. and was produced by triple distillation.e. The Rosebank distillery may have had its origins as early as the 1790s. a rotating lift to hoist boats between the Union canal and the restored Forth-Clyde canal. It is a grievous loss. There had been hopes that the development of the canalside at Falkirk would include a tourist distillery to replace the silent Rosebank. Romantic. N House style I Aromatic. FK1 5BW Website www. with suggestions of clover and camomile. the distillery’s location turned from asset to liability. it was difficult for trucks to drive in and out of the distillery. Rosebank’s whisky at its best (i. From the moment the canals lost business to the roads. A whisky for lovers. It was the finest example of a Lowland malt. and a great deal of very early industry grew there. in the Lowland tradition. not too woody) is as flowery as its name. THE QUEEN OPENED The Falkirk Wheel.RO S E BA N K Rosebank Diageo Central Lowlands site of former distillery Falkirk.malts. Stirlingshire. 393 .com Region Producer Lowland district 2002. Rosebank was closed in 1993. The road awkwardly bisected the distillery and as the traffic grew.

lemony. Snatch a kiss while you can. faintly smoky. Starts sweet. lively flavours. Nose Shamelessly aromatic. Flora and Fauna. Camomile. Finish Very long indeed. Very spicy.3 vol Colour Dull yellow. released in 2003. Camomile. Very flowery. Palate Delicious. fennel. 62. Distilled 1981. flowery. 43 vol This is a second version. Score 80 394 . Nose Seductively aromatic.9 vol Colour Lemony yellow. Herbal. Nose Rosebank’s typical camomile. Lemon grass.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS ROSEBANK 12-year-old. Finish The same pulsating quality as in the 1979 above. Body Lightly creamy. Nose Perfumy. Faint green tinge. caressing. camomile. Vegetal. Finish Fragrant. Palate Flowery sweetness. It is a little drier and less lively than the first. Very smooth. Intense. lavender. Score 76 ROSEBANK 1981. Distilled 1979. Palate Creamy. Body Soft. Palate Starts quietly. Body Silky. Colour Limey yellow. Score 82 ROSEBANK 20-year-old. Special Release. Score 78 ROSEBANK 19-year-old. Comment Beginning to tire. Clover. Pulsating with sweet and hot flavours. Rare Malts. Sweet.2 vol Colour Vinho verde. then explodes with flavours. 60. developing a rounded dryness. Dry. Buttercups? Potpourri. 63. Finish Mint imperials. Potpourri. Very dry. Cask Strength Limited Bottling. Bottled 1997. Body Soft. Clover. Sensuous.

Score 79 A 1991 Signatory. Score 79 A 1992 Murray McDavid. Moving toward old books. Dandelion (needs water)? Peaty. Score 78 A 1989 from Gordon & MacPhail. and a suggestion of burnt sugar in the finish. herbal. Score 75 A 1992 Coopers Choice. and an interplay of hot and sweet in the finish. at 43 vol. flowery. Belgian endive. Score 79 Some independent bottlings of Rosebank A 20-year-old from Douglas Laing.RO S E BA N K Rosebank 20-year-old. aroma. at 46 vol. vegetal. effervescent in its zabaglione palate. Dock leaves. Score 77 A 1992 from Blackadder. sweet palate (baked custard. at 43 vol. Nose Fresh. a flowing. at 60 vol. at 40 vol. Score 81 A 1990 from Duncan Taylor has candied grapefruit in the aroma. Finish Intensely dry. with the scent of meadow flowers. crisp spiciness in the finish. at 50 vol. at 50 vol. and waves of spiciness in the finish. Score 79 395 . Palate Grassy. a hint of rhubarb in the palate. Rare Malts. is mellow. Distilled 1979. almond milk in the palate. and a deftly rounded finish. is slightly sharp in its floral aroma. and a soothing but spicy and dry finish. sweetly lemony palate. has the typical camomile aroma (or is it Earl Grey tea?) and a hint of lavender. sensuous tropical fruits (guava?) in the palate. and a dry. Very smooth. has the aroma of lemon meringue pie. with a sting of nettles in the finish. a silky. 60. dusted with icing sugar). almost prickly. oily.3 vol Colour Primrose. clean. a biscuity palate. Body Firm. Greenish tinge. a suggestion of mint tea in the palate. has a suggestion of Turkish delight in the aroma. Score 78 A 1989 from Lombard. has the aroma of a flower garden on a summer’s evening. Bottle No 2326. and a finish that is less dry than usual. has an intense.

Honeyed. but from a bourbon cask. A teasing balance of sweetness and dryness. dry finish. Nose Sherry. nougat-like. honey. Body Light. soft. Buttercups. Fragrant. honey. Nose Assertively flowery. Fragrant. 46 vol Colour Full gold to amber. Score 80 ROSEBANK 1988. nutty. buttercups. honey-coated nuts. and it was rather sharp. Honey. Palate Flowers softened and sweetened by sherry. Palate Creamy. Score 79 396 . Murray McDavid. Finish Smooth. Score 78 A Murray McDavid bottling of the same age and strength. Palate The flowery youth of the whisky and the freshness of the sherry cask achieve an interesting harmony. Score 77 ROSEBANK 1989. junket. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Palate Flowery. Flowery. clover. Body Light. soft. Finish Lemony. but its flavours held together less well. Cadenhead. spearmint-like herbal note. Finish Flowery. lemons. 9-year-old. very light nutty dryness. Score 76 ROSEBANK 1989. and a tender touch of sherry. Nose Very aromatic. had a good. A deft balance between the whisky’s own character and the sherry. Finish Candied angelica. smooth. moving to very gentle. grassily sweet. appetizing. smooth. sweet grass. Nose Buttercups.8 vol Colour White wine to pale gold. very lightly nutty. Dry. 58. Connoisseurs Choice. Body Creamy. Fresh Sherry Cask.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS OLDer exressions now hard to find ROSEBANK 1990. Signatory. flowery. 43 vol Colour Lemony yellow. Body Light.

liquorice-like maltiness. Rooty. before a distillery was established. grassy. The distillery has sometimes been known as Linlithgow. Rare Malts. Juicy oak. Body Medium to full. possibly in 1765. Nose ST MAGDALENE 19-year-old. Production ceased in 1983 and some of the buildings have since been converted into apartments.ST MAGDALENE St Magdalene Producer Region Lowland district Site of former distillery DCL Central Lowlands Linlithgow. Score 78 397 . Palate Big flavours. rounding out in lively flavours as it develops. Released 1998. EH49 6AQ T a leper colony in the 12th century. Finish Sudden robust hit of peaty. Chewy. Restorative. Liquorice root. 63. Very aromatic. and later a convent. HIS SITE ACCOMMODATED House style Perfumy. after its hometown west of Edinburgh and close to the river Forth.8 vol Colour Full gold to pale amber. West Lothian. smooth. Burnt grass. sappy bitterness. Distilled 1979. Firmly oily.

and a cedary finish.6 vol. Palate Winey sherry.6 vol. Score 71 A Gordon & MacPhail bottling as St Magdalene. Distilled 1978.3 vol. at 59. has a subtle pepperiness in the aroma. syrupy. as Linlithgow. Score 76 A McKillop’s Choice. is pricky on the nose. and very warm in a long. Body Big. Finish Nutty. Juicy oak. at 40 vol. almost effervescent in the middle. Burnt grass. grassy palate. at 51.7 vol To celebrate the centenary of UDV’s Engineering Department. Score 76 A Scott’s Selection. a velvety maltiness in the palate. good flavour development in a palate accented toward cereal grains and malted milk. at 61. an appetizingly fresh palate evoking mint chocolates. as Linlithgow. and a juicy. has the aroma of a farmer’s field where stubble has been burned. Score 74 Two distilled in 1975: A Blackadder. Score 79 398 . at 62. Score 77 ST MAGDALENE 20-year-old. candy. as Linlithgow. and an almondy dryness in the finish. with a suggestion of butter cookies.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS An earlier Rare Malts bottling of a 1970 St Magdalene had burnt grass. Delicious. a big. and a slightly hot but satisfying finish. has a fragrant aroma. Score 79 Some independent bottlings of St Magdalene/Linlithgow Four distilled in 1982: A Duncan Taylor bottling. and a medicinal finish.5 vol. sweet. smooth. has a hugely powerful linseed aroma. Nose Polished oak. toffee. 62. as Linlithgow. dry finish. a palate suggesting toasted marshmallows or Belgian waffles. Colour Chestnut. as Linlithgow. and exotic fruit. has an orchard fragrance. smoky. sappy oakiness in the finish. with a suggestion of bison grass. with hot paprika. Score 75 A Signatory.

is famous for its roles in both World Wars. hay. The puzzle is the proprietors’ apparent lack of enthusiasm. Oily. KW15 1SE Tel 01856 872071 T of island whiskies has heightened interest in Scapa. After a hearty walk. but it fails by only half a mile. The distillery uses wholly unpeated malt. before dinner. and nutty. it has a distinctive complex of vanilla notes. HE NEW APPRECIATION House style Salt. Kirkwall. Scapa’s greatest asset is its evocative location. which already had its own following. Agreed. and is very peaty. there is a breezy elusiveness to the whisky. Maturation is in bourbon casks. rooty saltiness. grounded. Orkney. which may contribute to a slight oiliness of the whisky. and marketed sporadically. spicy chocolate. 399 . Although the whisky is quite light in flavour. northern neighbour. The distillery has in recent years been operated only intermittently. the functional buildings from the late 1950s lack romance.S C A PA Scapa Producer Region Address Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands Island Orkney St Ola. It has a Lomond wash still. but that is the perfect foil to its rounded. The water for the distillery’s mash tun is from a stream called the Lingro Burn. but a restored water wheel is a reminder of origins in the 1820s. Yes. Scapa Flow. the distillery is not the northernmost. True. a stretch of water linking the North Sea to the Atlantic. sometimes suggesting very spicy chocolate.

Palate Smooth. hay. Nose Salt. Beautiful balance. Nose Softer. Body Light. chocolate. Hay. Faint salt. Palate Salty. salt. Rounded peat. Score 76 400 . sweetish.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Nose SCAPA 8-year-old. silky. tangy. Finish Appetizing bitterness. Finish Late salt and pepper. appetizing. Score 76 SCAPA 10-year-old. Rounded. salty. Delicious soft peatiness. smooth. Warm. nuts. Colour Full gold to amber. Colour Full gold to amber. new-mown hay. with a hint of peat. vanilla. bourbon. chocolate. 43 vol Hard to find. Finish Oily but dry. heather. sea-breeze saltiness. Some bourbon character. 40 vol Now hard to find. Palate Clean. 40 vol Colour Bright full gold. Vanilla. Fresh. Body Medium. slightly sharp. Body Medium. Quick warmth. Score 77 SCAPA 12-year-old. silky.

Score 76 A 13-year-old at 43 vol. from Dun Bheagan. and a warm. from Douglas Laing. sherryish aroma. Score 76 401 . has the aroma of freshly cut grass. The finish is spicy and dry but soothing. at 50 vol. Score 75 A 23-year-old. and a spicy. dark chocolate and dried apricots in the palate. vanilla-pod oakiness in the finish. and a lingering spiciness in the finish. has the aroma of white chocolate. from Signatory. has a hint of coconut in the aroma. rich. dry. coriander in the palate. has a winey. a palate suggesting honeyed pipe tobacco.S C A PA Some independent bottlings of Scapa A 1990 at 40 vol. Its palate suggests Orkney fudge and dry hay. salty finish. Score 74 A 1990 at 43 vol. from Gordon & MacPhail.

herbal. masked by trees in a deep. Palate SPEYBURN 10-year-old. gentle.com Region Producer both the growing range of whiskies (flowery and fruity) and the distillery (a much photographed Victorian classic. Palate Lots of flowers and fruit. Aberlour. Very smooth. Highland Selection Limited Edition. SCORE 71 SPEYBURN 16-year-old. toward Elgin. Nose Sweet and fruity. Finish Fresh. despite modernizations.inverhouse. flavoursome expressions of Speyburn. Nose Flowery. heathery notes. Body Light. It was built in 1897 and. Speyburn makes a spectacular sight on the road out of Rothes. Speyburn was acquired by Inver House. Morayshire. 40 vol Colour Solid gold. has not undergone dramatic change. House style P RETTY AS A PICTURE: Flowery. Clean. lightly malty. Finish Long. Aperitif. heathery. SCORE 78 402 . sweeping valley). In the early 1990s. Raspberry? Strawberry? One of the most assertive.com email enquiries@inverhouse. Body Medium.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Speyburn Inver House Distillers Ltd Highlands district Speyside (Rothes) Address Rothes. Echoes. herbal. lightly syrupy. Developing fresh. very sweet. AB38 7AG Website www. 46 vol Colour Shimmery greeny gold.

Bitter chocolate. Palate Rich. Lots of flavour and interest. Nutty. medium. Bitter chocolate. slightly earthy. Body Smooth. Palate Good malt background. opening on spices and heathery notes (root rather than flowers).SPEYBURN SPEYBURN 21-year-old.1 vol This will eventually be replaced by a 25-year-old. Nose Very heavy sherry. Leafy. Body Very firm. A mouthful of spices. Cask No 1132. Single Cask 1979. Colour SCORE 76 SPEYBURN 1974. 60. Heathery. Finish Heather root. Spicy. SCORE 76 SPEYBURN 27 year-old. Fruity. 46 vol Full gold with pale copper hues. Nose Heathery. drying on soft spices. Very oaky. Marzipan. SCORE 74 403 . supple. Beeswax. Finish Sweet and gentle. Aniseed. 49 vol Colour Medium gold with a bronze tinge. Finish Peaty. Palate Smooth. Earthy. Wet leaves. Malty. Woody. Gently peaty. Gordon & MacPhail. Ferns. Bottle No 468. leafy. Slightly oily. Long. Body Medium. Nose Sherry tinted. dry oakiness. Sappy.

only three years after the distillery buildings had been bought as an empty shell by Springbank. was maturing well for its planned launch a year later.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Springbank Springbank Distillers Ltd Campbeltown district Argyll Address Well Close. With its brineyness. some of which ruined their reputations by producing hurried whiskies for the US during Prohibition. Its present proprietor. in the northern Highlands. a business park. the Longrows are becoming cult whiskies. none is self-sufficient. was an immediate neighbour of Springbank. Hazelburn is being triple distilled. coconut-like flavours. which closed in 1925. It now uses only its own malt. brineyness. with a trajectory that amounts to two-and-a-half times distillation. The sense of revival was heightened by the use of stills that once produced Ben Wyvis. and closed soon afterwards. Vestiges of them remain in a bus garage. PA28 6ET Tel 01586 552085 VC Summer only by appointment Region Producer S 2004. oiliness. having existed since 1796. at Springbank. The rebirth of Glengyle was ahead of schedule. Springbank’s own whisky is made from medium-peated malt. and even earlier as an illicit still. Springbank first distilled Longrow in 1973–74. It adjoined the Springbank site. another revived Campbeltown malt. and tireless revivalist of Campbeltown distilling. Meanwhile. These sites OME TIME DURING 404 . Springbank dates from the 1820s.) This has been of particular benefit in the production of another revivalist malt. Hedley Wright. In the early 1990s. Springbank features in almost every whisky lover’s top ten malts. in Campbeltown. the distillery can achieve exactly the character of peatiness it requires. Hazelburn. Springbank revived its own floor maltings. is a member of the founding Mitchell family. and other manifestations. The original Longrow distillery closed in 1896. Over the centuries. from unpeated malt. With its own maltings. first released in 1985. was due to restart production after more than 75 years’ silence. (Among other distilleries with their own floor maltings. The original Hazelburn distillery. the Glengyle distillery. the town has had about 30 distilleries. a couple of streets away. and its great complexity. Campbeltown. Argyll. its oily. and sense of restrained power. In their peatiness. Longrow is double distilled from heavily peated malt. Longrow. also slightly ahead of schedule.

As awareness of woods has increased in the industry. before the railways made Speyside more accessible. and the sea is visible to both east and west.SPRINGBANK have been diligently mapped by Frank McHardy. Glen Scotia. or “mull” of the peninsula. Hanging from the coast by a neck of land only 1. J. the peninsula is at its broadest. and a chain of shops (Eaglesome’s in Campbeltown and Cadenhead’s in Edinburgh and London). This company. to highlight the character of the whisky itself. were insufficient justification for the town retaining its status (along with Islay. and the Lowlands) as one of the whisky regions. as are Islay and Arran on a clear day. in Campbeltown. Some Springbank once even found its way into a couple of casks of acacia wood. Both Springbank and Cadenhead use the same bottling line. an independent bottlings business. 405 . Being long-established enterprises.6 kilometres (1 mile) wide. Mitchell bought the century-old firm of Cadenhead. This loch has provided water for all the Campbeltown distilleries: an unusual situation that perhaps accounts for some similarities of character. Drive and climb to Crosshill Loch. Campbeltown was the great whisky region in the age of coastal steamers. At this point. J. the Highlands. which is near the southern extremity. Physically. & A. & A. the land narrows at the tip. but still less than 16 kilometres (10 miles) wide. Mitchell has ensured that Campbeltown remains a whisky centre. Mr Wright can be famously taciturn. formerly based in Aberdeen. four single malts. where the mist rolls in from the sea just as Paul McCartney promised it would. but there are no distilleries until the town itself. To the immediate south of the town. but his actions are stentorian. and entraps the ghosts of all those whiskies past. has always been an independent bottler. No wonder Springbank and Longrow have so much character. Neither company chill filters its whiskies. With a maltings. two distilleries. Kintyre looks like an island. The geography itself is tenuous. in 1969. As an isolated independent with its own underutilized bottling line. but is actually a peninsula. who manages Springbank. they have a considerable inventory of casks. stretching 65 kilometres (40 miles) south. but they are run as separate enterprises. either an island or a peninsula might better qualify as a region. This is the mull of Kintyre. but most bottlings are vatted to give a touch of colour and sweetness from sherry wood. This surge of activity was the response of Hedley Wright to a suggestion that Springbank and its local rival. It hangs over the back-street warehouses of the curiously urban distilleries. Springbank has mainly acquired bourbon barrels. or adds caramel to balance the colour.

Peppermint. Like an apple wood grill. Aperitif. tinned pear. Suggestion of smoke. brine. Nose Panettone. Score 90 SPRINGBANK 12-year-old. Mouth-coating. nut oil. dried peels. rounded malt. Hint of salty sea air. Greenish tinge. citrus. long. SPRINGBANK 10-year-old. subtle. pear. Hedgerow fruit. oily. with fruit behind. Score 90 406 . Marshmallowy.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS House style Springbank: salty. Finish Spicy. Body Rich and oily. lilies. smoke. Nose Sweetish. custard. Nightcap. 48 vol Colour Old gold. Longrow: piney. Body Soft and oily. briney. Body Quite full-bodied. Palate Fascinating. Finish Melon. Pears. 175th Anniversary. Smoky. Real complexity. Rum Wood. Score 83 SPRINGBANK 12-year-old. A classic Springbank. Fragrant. Nose Light brine. 46 vol Colour Gold. spice. Palate Fantastic mix of dry and sweet.6 vol Colour Pale. apricot. coconut. raisin. 54. oily. olive. cashew. damp earth. 1989. and ever-changing. Elegant for a youngster. Great balance between sooty smoke. Palate Sweet red apples. Finish Small explosion of spiciness. Soft.

Finish Nutty. cherry cake. Nose Sophisticated. Dundee cake. but understated. Score 80 SPRINGBANK 15-year-old. Port Cask. Finish Fresh. Score 95 Springbank Frank McHardy Anniversary. Nose Sweet. Nose Nutty. pipe tobacco.2 vol Colour Pinkish gold. Very clean. Spices to the finish. wild strawberry. Brine. mandarin/curaçao. 46 vol Colour Apricot. peat. Complex. Attractive burnt notes. pine. Limited Edition. Palate Excellent sherry. but held in balance. herbs. Smoke and fruit. Score 90 407 . Some peat. 54. macadamia. nut.SPRINGBANK SPRINGBANK 13-year-old. spicy oak. Finish Salty. Body Full and rich. Good balance. vanilla. smoke in the background. Nose Sea air. Cherry ripe with soft feel. but not dominating. Mouth-coating. Blackberry. 46 vol Colour Light amber. A magnificently complex whisky. sooty. Palate European oak is there. Restrained esters. tea. Finish Soot. Coconut. Sweet tobacco. Body Thick and syrupy Palate Tinned fruits. 46 vol Colour Rich gold. Body Creamy and soft Palate Coconut. Body Creamy. Very faint suggestion of banana. Salt. Dry. dried apricot. Score 90 SPRINGBANK 25-year-old. citrus. Oakiest of current expressions. new leather. malt. Walnuts. light smoke. 1975. coffee. Sherry oak.

Score 90 LONGROW 10-year-old. 46 vol Colour Oily gold. but also slightly more medicinal and earthy. Score 90 408 . Finish Dry. 1991. Finish Almost a shadow of the nose. Sherry Wood. Body Robust. followed by the salt. more rounded. smoked fish. then the peat emerged. and dry. Palate Peaches and soft fruit under the peat. Nutty at first. succulent. Palate Dusty. Bourbon Wood. Nose Earthy yet fragrant and complex.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS LONGROW LONGROW 10 year-old. Body Long and rich. nutty depth. chimney-like with a sweet centre. nutty sherry. 46 vol Colour Straw. Sweeter and a little floral. 46 vol Colour Light gold. peaty. Dried lavender. Nose Fuller than 1991. Good. charcoal. Nose Very restrained. smoky. Good lift. Score 83 LONGROW 10-year-old. Body Textured. 1991. Explosive: almond oil. with sea air and peat smoke lurking behind. Finish Long. creamier. coconut. 1992. Palate Slightly sweeter.

canvas. malting floor. mink oil. coconut. Body Gentle and soft. light body with ripe fruits and spices on the palate. soot.4 vol. sooty finish. has an aroma of pine. Subtle. Some independent bottlings of Springbank Blackadder bottles a 1991 vintage at 57. 53. Palate The peat bedded down in the rich fruitcake character given by the sherry cask. at 56 vol. and juicy malt. has hints of sesame. Nose Very clean and high-toned. soft leather. at 57. The body is gentle with gingery notes on the palate. Body Light. but strange looking. Vanilla. has a resinous nose reminiscent of deck oil and sweet amontillado. The finish is reminiscent of green tea. rich. Unchillfiltered. Score 90 409 . Well balanced. pear. Very concentrated – essence of Springbank? A silky body. raisin. smoke. Soft and gentle in the mouth. Score 80 Duncan Taylor’s 1967 vintage. Score 77 A 1974 from Chieftain’s Choice. Score 80 HAZELBURN HAZELBURN 1997. More sherry than smoke. A soft. Sherry Cask.7 vol. Nose Dundee cake. comment Tasted as a work in progress.2 vol Colour Old gold. Finish Clean and fresh. Beautiful balance. at 46 vol. Apple and banana. Score 82 A 1969 from the Signatory stable. showing real saltiness and light smoke. pecan.8 vol. it is toasty with the distillery’s characteristic oily feel and briney. Some dry smoke on the finish. water makes it go a murky brown and brings out coffee cake and smoke. has an elegant nose with marzipan and vanilla. hazelnut spread. Cask Sample at Natural Strength Colour Pale gold. and weighty. Finish Oily.SPRINGBANK LONGROW 13-year-old. custard. mealy. The nose is like old-fashioned lemonade or ginger beer. Palate Firm and youthful but with great citric sweetness. the flavours extend across the palate. sweet. at 40. Score 80 The firm’s 1972 bottling.

In 1950 it was acquired by Chivas. The same water. Dominican monks used a spring nearby to provide water for brewing beer. especially after a fire in 1876. Keith. It started to take its present shape from the 1820s onwards. Strathisla believes that fermentation characteristics play a very important part in the character of its dry. oaky malt whisky. began its life as a farm distillery. and features have been added to make it a somewhat idealized traditional distillery. which has also at times been known as Milltown. it has been restored. Although wooden washbacks are by no means unusual. Over the years.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS strathisla Region Address Producer Chivas Brothers Highland district Speyside (Strathisla) Seafield Avenue. Banffshire. Strathisla. THE NEW OWNERS House style Dry. In the 13th century. After dinner. 410 . Lightly peated malt is used. with a touch of calcium hardness and scarcely any peat character. as well as wooden washbacks and small stills. has been used in the distillation of whisky since at least 1786. House style ARDLY SURPRISINGLY. fruity. fruity. AB55 3BS Tel 01542 783044 VC H of Chivas will continue to use as their showpiece the oldest distillery in the north of Scotland.

clay pots. lightly citric nose: spring-like with a nice. 43 vol Colour Full. Then Strathisla’s teasing sweet-and-dry character. The body is creamy and soft. is richer in colour and more elegant. allspice. Score 83 411 . deep gold. shows oily maturity of old whisky (and old style Speyside). Body Medium. The body is quite oaky but the palate still dances in the manner of great Strathisla. at 40 vol. Palate Tea-like. the palate has a tingle of citrus peel cream. Oaky. Violets and vanilla. mulch) with the faint hint of citrus. Soft fruits in the centre. and cigars in the aroma. dried apple. dry tobacco. has a floral. 43 vol Colour Old gold.STRATHISLA STRATHISLA 12-year-old. Finish Smooth and soothing. at 40 vol. The firmest of the range. Mouth-coating. the palate has a smoky note. then a burst of flavour in the palate. kumquat. A sparkling. The finish is of ash and orange.The golden-hued 1987 vintage. Palate Much richer than previous bottlings. Finish Slightly tannic. blossom. lilies. and nuts. Fresh. crispy dryness. and dried fruits. effervescent dram. Score 85 The venerable 1953. There is fragrant wood. rounded. Sherryish. mace. Nose Apricot. juicy oak. Official Limited Bottling of 600. Light chocolate orange. at 40 vol. coffee beans. Body Gentle and rich. spices. at 40 vol. SCORE 78 Some independent bottlings Strathisla has been one of the mainstays of the Gordon & MacPhail range for many years. moss) hessian. Nose Potting shed (earth. fruity. heather. grilled nut. Score 90 The firm’s 1963. Good grip. Great balance and a zesty finish. with Bakewell tart. Score 85 A 25-year-old. Cereal grains. has a nose like a woodland walk (fungal. woodland/woodsmoke. orange peel. and red plum. complex. Score 80 STRATHISLA 25-year-old. dried apple.

The whisky world’s answer to orange muscat. Its whisky was for many years central to the Dunhill/Old Master blends. Appealing freshness. it has been in the same ownership for more than a century. Three years later. It was rebuilt from a corn mill. Nose Strathmill 12-year-old. in 1891. The town of Keith must once have been a considerable grain-milling centre. Body Smooth and flowing. Oddbins. Strathmill. Banffshire. The Glen Keith distillery was built on the site of a corn mill.malts. Finish Drying on a resiny but soothing note. House style RAPES HAVE TO BE CRUSHED. SCORE 78 7 412 . of which Justerini & Brooks became a subsidiary through IDV (Diageo). With a delicate. Honeycomb. Orange peel. floral touch. went one better. Arguably. 43 vol Colour Lively gold. With dessert. it was acquired by Gilbey. AB55 5DQ Tel 01542 885000 Website www. orange. Palate Sweet and fulfilling. but does not seem to have been available as a single until a bottling of a lusciously sweet 1980 by the wine merchant chain. as its name suggests.com G grain has to be milled. Flora and Fauna. Hint of mint. when the whisky industry was having one of its periodic upswings. Clover. Grassy and malty. in 1993.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Strathmill Region Producer Diageo Highlands district Speyside (Strathisla) Address Keith.

in an area where Gaelic is still spoken. surely they had Talisker in mind when they composed this. The island is also home to an unrelated company making a vatted malt called Poit Dubh. For much of its life. comparable with the Islay and Livet whiskies. it remains a singular malt. and their hearty palates appear to support this suggestion. The distillery uses traditional cooling coils – “worm tubs” – which can make for a fuller flavour than a modern condenser.malts. As if to balance an equation. For a time. It has a distinctively peppery character. Both are said to contain some Talisker. Volcanic. The style of whisky liqueur represented by Drambuie is also said to have been created on the Isle of Skye. A winter warmer. Te Bheag. The phrase “explodes on the palate” is among the descriptions used for certain whiskies by blenders at UDV. Isle of Skye. and in those days Robert Louis Stevenson ranked Talisker as a style on its own. so hot as to make one taster’s temples steam. The Cuillins are the dramatic hills of Skye. After a number of false starts on other sites. and was partly rebuilt in 1960. The distillery is on the west coast of the island. but official bottlings have multiplied. it used triple distillation. 413 .TA L I S K E R Talisker website Diageo Highlands island Skye Address Carbost. the distillery was established in 1831 and expanded in 1900.com Region Producer VC A Talisker has boosted its impact in recent years by adding new expressions. “The lava of the Cuillins” was another taster’s response. It switched to double distillation in 1928. more rounded version a couple of summers older. and a blend. blended whisky called Isle of Skye is made by the Edinburgh merchants Ian Macleod & Co. House style LREADY VOLCANICALLY POWERFUL. the island home of Talisker. this was the only expression. on the shores of loch Harport. Some malt lovers still mourn the youthfully dry assertiveness of the eight-year-old version that was replaced by the current.discovering-distilleries. independent bottlings seem to have vanished. perfumy. though its origins actually remain somewhat clouded in Scotch mist. However many versions there may be. IV47 8SR Tel 01478 614308 www. A dry.com/www. The local industry was once tweed.

Blanched spinach with cracked black pepper. medicinal notes. with sourness and a very big pepperiness developing. 60 vol Available at the distillery. Body Full. ground white pepper and lactic acidity (ricotta cheese?) SCORE 77 414 . long. No Age Statement. seaweedy. Finish Soft and smooth on the tongue. slightly syrupy. Palate Smoky. Bottled 2000.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS TALISKER 10-year-old. Nose Wild garlic. Yellow with an olive tinge. Body Oily. rounded. huge. drying toward a late surge of salt. chive-like. Colour Very bright. smoke-accented. 45. Palate Starts smoothly and has huge development toward earthy. malty sweet. Finish Very peppery.8 vol Colour Bright amber red. Nose Pungent. SCORE 90 TALISKER Natural Cask Strength.

tan. then a burst of freshly milled pepper. Finish Quite quick and sharp. Palate Toffeeish. Seaweed. reluctant to unfurl. 1986. with a suggestion of artichoke. Reverberating. A touch of salt. slightly sour. 59.9 vol colour Peachy. Distillers Edition. Very tightly combined flavours. Nose Toffee. textured. A hint of sulphur. Harbour aromas. When they did. Nose Warm. 20-year-old. The richness of these flavours introduces a shock of contrast when the seaweed and pepper suddenly burst through.8 vol Finished in amoroso sherry wood. Finish Powerful salt and pepper. Bottled 2001. Seems to rumble and reverberate as the volcanic heat builds ever so slowly. Nose Scorched earth. Minerally.8 vol Colour Gold. Palate Distant thunder. SCORE 93 TALISKER 25-year-old. 45. bitter chocolate. with green tinge. Hot. Finish Volcanic. Body Quite rich. SCORE 90 TALISKER 1982. A thunderflash. with late salt and pepper. and toasted nuts.TA L I S K E R TALISKER “Double Matured”. peppery. Body Medium to full. Body Full. Colour Orange. Firm. Palate Nutty. the earth moved. then toasty. 58. SCORE 92 415 .

notably its enthusiasm for wooden fermenting vessels. which flows through woodland into the Spey. HIS DISTILLERY IS STILL House style T Mild. the former has been promoted as the group’s Speyside malt at the expense of the latter. Sometimes toffee-nosed. Macallan. their fortunes differ. Tamdhu station is more elaborate than most. The distillery was founded in 1896. The distillery is impeccably well kept. and has its own touches of tradition. urbane. Like several Speyside distilleries. the biggest selling blend in Scotland. with two full-length platforms and a signal box. Both malts are significant contributors to The Famous Grouse. and largely rebuilt in the 1970s. 416 . A modest reminder of this is the stylized ear of barley that appears on the label of the principal version of Tamdhu. Versatile. Tamdhu has a sizeable and impressive Saladin maltings. As singles. Morayshire. providing for all its own needs and those of several other whisky makers. Tamdhu shares its name with a station on the railway that ran up and down the valley. Since Macallan and Tamdhu came under the same ownership.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Tamdhu Producer Region Address The Edrington Group Highlands district Speyside Knockando. six or seven miles down river. AB38 7RP somewhat overshadowed by its charismatic neighbour. Water comes from the Tamdhu burn.

Score 79 417 . at 16 years old and 46 vol. has aromas reminiscent of Demerara sugar. at 43 vol. and oaty dryness in the finish.TA M D H U Palate TAMDHU No Age Statement. a scrumptious display of rich Christmas flavours. from Adelphi. is aristocratic and intense. opens slowly. black treacle and butterscotch in the palate. has aromas reminiscent of sweet limes. has an aroma reminiscent of cooking apples. a spicy. and a tender nuttiness in the finish. Clean. and a clovey. at 33 years old and cask strength. Finish Flowery. at 40 vol. and a peppery finish. Body Light. Score 72 From Chieftain’s. An easily drinkable. Score 73 A 1968. soft. SCORE 74 Some independent bottlings of Tamdhu A 15-year-old. from the same bottler. and ripe banana in the aroma. fresh peat smoke. Nose Flowery. and a spicy finish. Faintly lemony. with cumin seeds and burnt leaves in the aroma. at 40. treacly palate. flowery palate. Score 78 A 1961. a caressing sweetness in the palate. malt-accented introduction to singles. at 50 vol from Douglas Laing.3 vol. a resiny aroma. Score 76 A 1966 from Kingsbury. and a sweetly fading finish. fruity pears in rich syrup. lime. from Duncan Taylor. sweet. woody dryness in the finish. 40 vol Colour Bright gold. Very faint hint of peat. a lemony. is very heavily sherried. Cereal grain. and a palate that is unusually peaty for Tamdhu. Score 77 A 1981 Gordon & MacPhail Reserve.1 vol. Score 78 A 34-year-old. with saddlery and polished oak in the aroma. minty. Very slightly toffeeish. nutmeg. finished in a rum cask. A beautiful dram. at 55. It has a copper-red colour. has an attractive fragrance of light. a 1985 Tamdhu. the flavours of intensely sweet.

built in the 1960s. heather. it is a little more assertive than Tomintoul.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Tamnavulin Region Whyte and MacKay Ltd Highlands district Speyside (Livet) Address Ballindalloch. The distillery. Part of the premises was formerly used for the carding of wool. Body Very light indeed. AB37 9JA Producer O of the Livet. hay. Aperitif. flowering currant. the elegant Tamnavulin is the lightest in body. a stream called Allt a Choire (in English. Slightly medicinal. “Corrie”). but such discrepancies are hardly unusual in Scotland. Among the malts produced in and around the glen of the Livet river. Tamnavulin has been mothballed since 1996. In taste. taking its name from “mill on the hill”. Vermouth-like. A touch of peat. 40 vol Colour Vinho verde. herbal notes. has a somewhat industrial look. Juniper? SCORE 76 418 . Finish Aromatic. the river is joined by one of its tributaries. Nose Very aromatic. Winey. Palate Lemon. Banffshire. This is the site of the Tamnavulin distillery. herbal. with which it might be most closely compared. but smooth. N THE STEEP SIDE OF THE GLEN House style Aromatic. The location is more often spelled Tomnavoulin. although not in palate. TAMNAVULIN 12-year-old.

Single Cask 52. Chestnut. mouth-coating. 45 vol Colour Deep amber to copper. SCORE 78 TAMNAVULIN 1966. and oak. Finish Fresh and crisp. liquorice and peppermint. Nose Herbal and nutty. tangy. Aromatic. very firm. Nose Herbal. Finish Soothing. SCORE 77 TAMNAVULIN 29-year-old. Reminiscent of an old armagnac.8 vol Colour Greeny gold. Apple skin. grassy. Stillman’s Dram. almost biting. SCORE 73 419 . Bitter chocolate. A touch of sour apple. Palate Sweet. Scott’s Selection. A hint of beeswax. Finish Spicy. Palate Muscular. junipery aroma. 45 vol Colour Gold. Stewed prunes. Freshly cut grass. Very refreshing. Body Light but firm. Prunes.TA M N AV U L I N TAMNAVULIN 22-year-old. Finish Long. Raisins.6 vol Colour Deep amber. Lemon pith. SCORE 74 TAMNAVULIN 1977. beautifully combined. Palate Sweet start followed by an explosion of ginger. Body Light but firm. Malt. Nose Assertive sherry. Almond milk. Body Medium. Body Medium. Nose Almondy sherry. Toasted sandalwood. Crisp. Stalky. Palate Sherry. 53. and oaky. firm.

spicy. 43 vol Colour Pale gold. spicy whisky: not before time. TEANINICH 10-year-old. as an estate distillery. SCORE 74 420 . Teaninich was founded in 1817. when the malt was bottled in the Flora and Fauna series. but some say “chee-ninick”) began to be heard more widely in the 1990s. Palate Sweet and dry.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Teaninich Region Producer Diageo Highlands district Northern Highlands Address Alness. Lightly peaty. Nose Big. Finish Cilantro. rich. and later provided whisky for such well-known blends as VAT 69 and Haig Dimple. Flora and Fauna. Hints of apple. Ross-Shire. Herbal. toffeeish. The tongue-twisting name Teaninich (usually pronounced “tee-ninick”. Chocolate limes.com T of Glenmorangie and Dalmore is beginning to develop a following for its big. Restorative or after dinner. HIS LESSER KNOWN NEIGHBOUR House style Robust. It gained a classic DCL still-house in the 1970s. malty. Three Rare Malts bottlings followed. fruity. leafy. Gradually warms up until it fairly sparks with flavour. Rounded. IV17 0XB Tel 01463 872004 website www. Very appetizing. Remarkably leafy. Fruity. Fruity. fresh aroma. Body Medium.malts. Smoky.

affable approach. Score 76 A 19-year-old from Cadenhead. Score 75 A 31-year-old from Adelphi. at 40 vol. and summer fruits. at 29 years old and 43 vol. finishing with a lively warmth reminiscent of ginger and lemon tea.95 vol.1 vol. Palate Intense sugared almonds. has honey and stewed fruits in the aroma.8 vol. custard.2 vol Colour Full. The Rare Malts. 27-year-old. from Berry Brothers & Rudd. vanilla and toffee in the palate. Gunpowder tea. sandalwood. at 64. dryish oak in the finish. 64. a spicy. vanilla. at 57. and black pepper in a warm. Incense. ginger and nutmeg in the palate. was harder and more authoritarian. explosive. Nose Very perfumy. but more creamy and toffeeish. has an especially sparkling golden hue. bright gold. in Lombard’s Golfing Greats series. An earlier (1998) release of 1972. dry finish. does not offer convincing evidence of its sherry ageing. muscular palate. has an easy. was very similar to the 2000 bottling.TEANINICH TEANINICH 1972.7 vol. Score 76. but big and profound. Score 72 421 . at 57. Finish Powerful. Its evocative scents are of a summer’s evening: green apples and almonds. Body Big. with suggestions of caramelized almonds. Score 76 Some independent bottlings of Teaninich A 12-year-old. Stalky dryness to balance the finish. Bottled 2000. SCORE 77 A 1973 Teaninich from Rare Malts. Score 74 A 1973. at 58.

on the tiny F THE ART OF DISTILLATION was brought from Ireland over the island of Staffa. The maritime character of the whiskies was diminished when the warehouses were sold by previous owners during a financial crisis to make room for apartments.com email enquiries@burnstewartdistillers. One and a half thousand years later. This version has a peatiness. better known by his pen-name Saki). minty. Restorative. Both Staffa and Iona are off Mull. PA75 6NR tel 01688 302645 Website www. The name Ledaig was for some years used for older versions of the whisky. The barley-malt is not peated. and its peatiness gradually being increased. Isle of Mull. derived entirely from the water. where the harbour village of Tobermory gives a home and a name to the local distillery.com VC Producer Region I Giant’s Causeway.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS tobermory Burn Stewart Distillers plc Highlands District Mull address Tobermory.burnstewartdistillers. albeit light. The distillery traces its origins to 1795. it must have arrived in Fingal’s Cave. Argyllshire. Ledaig is now being made again. St Columba. sweet. house style Faint peat. (Lovers of trivia may know that this name was also given to a talking cat by the Edwardian author Hector Hugh Munro. Various owners have at times used the name Tobermory on a blend and a vatted malt. a whisky called Iona was launched. produced after the distillery reopened in 1989–90. employing peated malt. A later immigrant from Ireland. 422 . but has a much interrupted history and many owners. founded an abbey on nearby Iona and urged the community to grow barley. and meaning “safe haven” in Gaelic). The village was once known as Ledaig (sometimes pronounced “ledchig”. but it now appears on a clearly labelled single malt.

Definitely maritime. with an appetizing fruitiness. Body Medium and smooth. Custardy.T O B E R M O RY TOBERMORY 10-year-old. Score 74 Nose LEDAIG 7-year-old. amazingly long for its youth. nutty dryness. Fresh garden herbs. Finish Sweet. Score 73 423 . Good balance. with soft spices but satisfying. Peat and smoke linger in the back. all ages on labels represent the youngest whisky in the bottle. Sherry Finish. A hint of the sea in this one. Some sweetness. Score 69 LEDAIG No Age Statement. Nose Light but definite touch of peat. Palate Slightly thin. Palate Mellow roundness. Nose Sweet. smoky. then spicy. Body Light and crisp. Elegant combination of fruit and oak. Toffeeish. Peaty with phenolic notes and a quickly fading iodine accent. 43 vol Colour Lemony gold. 42 vol Colour Bright gold. Fizzy. 43 vol The preposition is superfluous. Toffeeish. Fruity. full peatiness. but recovers well. faintly minty sweetness. A hint of peat in the back. Slightly weak in the middle. Enjoyable interplay of malty. soft. Sherry enhances oak. Score 80 LEDAIG Over 15 Years. Body Light but smooth. Very smooth. Pear drop. Palate Assertive spiciness. full peatiness. Nose Soft. Palate Faint peat. becoming sweeter. 40 vol Colour Full gold. Finish Dry and spicy. Body Light to medium. Finish Light. Thyme and mint. Finish Drying. and toffeeish. Colour Gold to bronze.

has rich sherry and luscious caramelized fruits. has a touch of burnt grass in the aroma. with cider apple. Score 71 IONA Single Malt. Cockles and mussels. but some burnt grass. Nose Lichen. Body Lightly oily. Moss on the rocks. 43 vol Colour Pale amber. from Cadenhead. 4-year-old. Miso. Colour Almost white. and fudge. Hot-smoked salmon. Palate Broth-like. from Gordon & MacPhail. cream. Finish Late peatiness. with a whiff of sea air. Iron. custard. Score 71 A 1990 at 40 vol. Finish Wintergreen. Body Creamy. is the colour of white wine. from the same bottler. light and crisp. with the aroma of a freshly cut lawn. Score 78 Some independent bottlings of Ledaig A 1992 at 10 years old. Nose Slightly musty. and an echo of malt in the finish. 40 vol Created for sale at distillery only. Score 72 A 1975 at the same strength. and mintiness develops. spicy dryness. Score 75 424 . Eau-de-nil. A beautiful whisky that would have been sensational at cask strength.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Palate LEDAIG Over 20 Years. with malty sweetness. Dull start.

the climb to Tomatin will be well worthwhile. Hakushu by mothballing its biggest still-house. only the new 12-year-old single malt has appeared.co.tomatin. It has perhaps been encouraged by its success with The Antiquary. House style F YOU POSSESS A PAIR OF BINOCULARS. at 315 metres (1028ft). spicy.TOMATIN tomatin Region The Tomatin Distillery Co. Tomatin might just remain the largest in Scotland.uk VC Producer I look out for new products from the lofty heights of Tomatin. It is neither the most complex nor the most assertive of malts. Tomatin. Inverness-shire. Tomatin developed a broad-shouldered malt as a filler for countless blends during the boom years. During this period. Tomatin has begun to understand the pleasure of selling whisky by the bottle. but it is far tastier than is widely realized. though neck-and-neck with Glenfiddich. Restorative or after dinner. on the upper reaches of the Findhorn. a much-loved blend acquired from UDV in the fallout from the creation of Diageo. was established in 1897. 425 . So far. For the novice wishing to move from lighter single malts to something a little more imposing. Malty. rich. but there will be more. Both have scaled down volume since those heady days: Tomatin by removing almost almost half of its stills. Ltd Highlands District Speyside (Findhorn) Address Tomatin.com Email info@tomatin. but saw its great years of expansion between the 1950s and the 1970s. just a little smaller than Suntory’s Hakushu distillery in Japan. As a large distillery. it became the biggest malt distillery in Scotland. IV13 7YT Tel 01808 511444 Website www.

. Toffeeish. 40 vol Slightly softer and more “accessible” than the earlier 12-year-old which it replaces. Opens up on spices. 43 vol Colour Chartreuse-like gold. Finish Lingering. Palate Crisp. Nose Malty. Palate Mellow and round. Nose Intense. Fudgey sweetness. Palate Sweet maltiness. coating. Body Smooth. Distant apple. Colour Bright. Finish Sweet with a pleasant refreshing mintiness. gingery. James MacArthur & Co. Paprika. lemony gold. Body Medium. Ltd. Soft mint tablets. Nose Biscuity sweetness. A refreshing aniseed note. Pine nuts. 46 vol Colour Pale. SCORE 75 Some Independent Expressions of Tomatin TOMATIN 12-year-old. and nutty. clean with luscious malty/minty notes.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS TOMATIN 12-year-old. drying on nutty notes. Finish Warm but soothing on sweeter notes. Signatory Vintage Co. greeny gold. Sour cider-like note. malty. Malt flour. Develops on spices. Touch of burnt leaves. Soft spices. SCORE 75 TOMATIN 1989. Score 76 426 . touch of ginger. White pepper. ginger. Body Medium and firm. smooth. velvety. Quite chewy. Vanilla. Fresh lemon peel. Touch of honey.

The distillery was built in the 1960s and is modern in appearance. Nose Grassy. close to the river Avon. Crushed barley. the first release under the new owners. HE VILLAGE OF TOMINTOUL House style Delicate. Finish Lively and lingering gently. which is on the edge of a forest. grassy. It is about 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the village to the distillery. Cromdale and the Ladder Hills foreshadow the Cairngorm Mountains. smooth. Orange flower water. Banffshire. Palate Sweetish. Tomintoul has traditionally seemed the lightest among them in flavour. Nutty.TOMINTOUL Tomintoul Region Angus Dundee Distillers plc Highlands district Speyside (Livet) Address Ballindalloch. Potpourri. though there is an almost effervescent fruitiness to the new 16-year-old. AB37 9AQ Producer T (pronounced “tom in t’owl”) is the base camp for climbers and walkers in the area around the rivers Avon and Livet. TOMINTOUL 10-year-old. Lemon grass. Body Light. Lemon grass. 40 vol Colour Full. Aperitif. Nearby. SCORE 77 427 . sunny gold. The wildness of the surroundings contrasts with the delicacy of the district’s malts. perfumy. slippery.

Official Bottling. A touch of wet earth (humus). 40 vol Colour Pale bright orange. Pepper. 428 . Nougat. rewarding. Raisiny. Finish Long. Colour Glittering full gold. like the sherry in a trifle. long. 46. Comment Not the most elegant sherryness. warming up on spices. Body Silky. Nougat.5 vol Apparently from the last bottle in existence. Finish Refreshing but also warming. A floral honeyish note. Zabaglione. Cask Strength. SCORE 78 Some independent bottlings TOMINTOUL 1966. Appetizing toffee. Nose Rich. creamy. oily. Palate Sweet. silky. toffee.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS TOMINTOUL 16-year-old. A beautiful rich and fulfilling single malt. dry and spicy. Beeswax. Palate Sweet at start then opening up on spices. Sherry tinge. citrus peels. But rich and complex. Body Syrupy. Touch of cucumber. Nuts and raisins chocolate. Polished oak. Vanilla. Syllabub. Body Medium. Nose Orange-cream icing on a cheesecake. MacKillop’s Choice Tasted as a work in progress. coffee. Nose Rich fudginess. Palate Finely grated. SCORE 79 TOMINTOUL 1966. grassy/herbal. luscious. Colour Full gold with a bronze hue. Marmalade. A bit harsh on nose and palate (burning spices). zesty. Finish Sweet. Single Cask No 3405. Single Cask No 6073.

and easily drinkable. overlooking the Spey. Palate Sweet. during a boom in the Scotch whisky industry. Body Medium. Hint of barley sugar. Tormore. sweet. was designed by Sir Albert Richardson. Caramelized walnuts. Nose Nutty. it looks like a spa offering a mountain-water cure. and erected as a showpiece in 1958–60. but the more cautious deem its firmness “metallic”. smooth. president of the Royal Academy. Admirers find it aromatic. Morayshire. Perhaps best as a restorative. 40 vol Colour Bright. uisge beatha. and later became an element of Ballantine’s. belfry. Finish Rounded. TORMORE 12-year-old. The distillery does not have tours. smooth. In a sense. which seems a wasteful denial of its original purpose as a visual celebration. it does: the water of life. The whisky was originally intended as a component of Long John.TORMORE TormoRe Address Allied Distillers Ltd Highlands district Speyside Advie by Grantown-on-Spey. PH26 3LR Tel 01807 510244 Region Producer of all whisky distilleries. Soft pear in a fudgey sauce. and ornamental curling lake. With a musical clock. Braised artichokes. among the Cromdale Hills. HE MOST ARCHITECTURALLY ELEGANT House style T Nutty. Firm. soft. Versatile. SCORE 73 429 . sunny gold.

or via coastal steamers on the firth of Forth. fragrant. It is in the Highland region. There may have been whisky making there in the late 1700s. who was at school with the son of an excise officer. a water tank on the roof and a malt loft disgorge their contents. Tullibardine Moor is in the Ochil hills.com Region Producer T under new ownership in 2003 was followed by the announcement of a 1993 vintage. whose functional styling can also be seen at Glenallachie and Jura. Brewing is more strongly associated with the south of Scotland and distilling with the north. popular in the late 1800s. a Tullibardine brewery brewed the ale for the coronation of King James IV at Scone. to be launched in 2004. Evans. In this system. At Tullibardine. though south of Perth and half-way to Stirling. With pre-dinner pistachios. PH4 1QG Tel 01764 682252 website www. he sought to incorporate gravity-flow into a distillery. Perthshire. the village of Blackford is the source of Highland Spring bottled water. More sherried versions with a honeyish dessert (baklava?). Such news items are welcome in a region with a strong – but in recent years silent – tradition of brewing and distilling. It was built by Delmé Evans. Evans died just before the distillery reopened. was fascinated by breweries and distilleries. through the processes that lead to a cellar full of beer. which shipped dark Scottish ales to England. a noted designer of distilleries. The main brewing centre was the town of Alloa. One of his enthusiasms was the “tower” brewery design. The last two sizeable breweries in Alloa closed in recent years. which flow by gravity. Steamers could also bring barley or malt from the Borders. The hills and their springs have provided water for brewing since at least the 12th century. Water from the Ochil Hills gave rise to both industries.tullibardine.A –Z OF SINGLE MALTS Tullibardine Tullibardine Ltd Highlands district Midlands Address Stirling Street. 430 . Blackford. Fuel was handy in the form of coal from Fife. without pumps. He first visited a distillery at the age of 12. HE REOPENING OF TULLIBARDINE House style Winey. but it was not until 1949 that the present distillery was erected. they met and overlapped. In 1488. here in the Midlands. In this area. A former brewery site accommodates the distillery.

Finish Sweetish. appetizing. firm. Body Medium. SCORE 77 TULLIBARDINE 30-year-old. Body Medium to full. Finish Sherryish. Only mediumsweet. butter. smooth. Vanilla-pod spiciness. 40 vol Colour Bright gold. now hard to find. nuts. Nose Touch of sherry. inviting. luscious. Sweet. Rounded. Develops to a fruity. buttery sweetness. Spicy. Nutty. Still grassy. sweetish. sherryish wineyness. smooth. SCORE 77 431 . scenty. Palate Softened by the sherry. Palate Full. big. oily. 45 vol Colour Amber. Nutty. almost Chardonnay-like wineyness. Palate Honey. Finish Lemon grass. clean. Colour Full gold to bronze. fragrant. Stillman’s Dram. Nose Dry honey. Body Medium. but slightly nuttier. lemony. with clean. Honeyed but dry. malty. Nose Soft. 45 vol An “official” bottling. grassy-malty. Then expressive. SCORE 76 TULLIBARDINE 27-year-old.TULLIBARDINE TULLIBARDINE 10-year-old.

in County Antrim. has the most distilleries. but also produces malts and blends. The independent Cooley distillery is on the peninsula of the same name.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE Whisky worldwide: the famous five E great whisky nations has a different claim to this status. but the nation has only three distilleries. which can impart an aroma reminiscent of joss-sticks. as they are Japanese. Bushmills and Midleton are both owned by Pernod Ricard. SCORE 71. 432 . Bushmills is in the village of the same name. Its whiskies cannot be called Scotch. yet they do not represent a local style. and in whichever of those two countries the evolution of the spirit began. malt was the 10-year-old. in separate still-houses. When the country opened up to Western trade in the late 1800s. Ireland has its own style of whiskey. ACH OF THE FIVE I R EL A ND Whiskey permeates Irish lore and literature. but the new microdistilleries making malts are mainly in the west. and does so with a typical blend of traditionalism and technical skill. the most single malts. It makes malt whisky by the same methods as the Scots. just inside the Republic. it developed a taste for British luxuries. and the most styles of whisky. of which Scotch whisky remains the quintessence. Scotland is by far the greatest. It makes the most whisky. at Nova Scotia’s Glenora distillery. Their most local feature is that they are sometimes matured in Japanese oak. Whether the Gaelic word that became “whisky” was Scottish or Irish. Canada has its own style. It produces malt and grain whiskies. Its Glen Breton malt has shortbread and pastis notes. in County Cork). proposing a nouvelle alliance. and has only tiptoed into malts. exclusively from malt. The fifth great whisky nation is Japan. Triple distillation is used. launched in 1987. in the far north. the local styles are produced in Kentucky and Tennessee. Japan qualifies as a great whisky nation on the grounds of both volume and quality. The distillery specializes in the Irish pot still type. The first. very tentative. but the principal Bushmills products are blends (with grain whiskey from the Midleton distillery. Form an adjective from Scotland and “whisky” is understood. both are the charter members of the famous five. In the United States.

now prosperous. oily. Sesame oil. and a winey oakiness. Earthy. the world’s new frontier is the west coast of the US. cereal-grain palate. Smoky. tongue-coating marshmallow. 433 . aroma. except madeira) The 10-year-old has a very fresh. The 16-year-old is subtitled “TripleWood”. no age statement. glazed almonds and marzipan in the palate. Slightly hot finish. It has garden mint in the aroma. The palate is reminiscent of apple pie in cream. 40 vol. the palate has creamy malt and baked peaches. grassy. the original rye of the east (historically. Connemara Cask Strength (this bottling 59. well educated (famously at Stanford and Berkeley). Cooley’s Principal Malts Connemara Peated single malt. because of variations in strength. SCORE 77. The scent of unpeeled apples. rather than peaty. Bigger palate. SCORE 75.6 vol). Wine country gave rise to brandies. Fritz Maytag has been inspired by the oldest style of American whiskey. SCORE 81. today. Each batch has its own label. Bushmills malt matured in bourbon casks is married with a smaller amount aged in oloroso sherry butts. of new world wines. SCORE 79. clean. at cask strength and 51. and the finish toasted coconut. young man”). Sweet grass. eight years old. Both are 16 years old. UNI TED S TATES For lovers of food and drink. on sale at Bushmills. the finish minty. especially the stretch between San Francisco Bay and Seattle. has considerably more flavour development. adventurous (“Go West. SCORE 82. Aromas and flavours young and fresh. SCORE 76. Here in the west. Slightly sooty aroma. Light. oily. it was produced in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They are then recasked in port pipes for six to (more often) 12 months. no age statement. Spicy. Made entirely with peated malt. finish. has the faintest hint of peat in the nose. and now brewers and distillers are exploring whiskey. Pungent. has fostered a new appreciation of local produce. A 21year-old madeira finish. Wonderful complexity: Fragrant smoke and anis in the nose. The 12-year-old Distillery Reserve. cookie-like. 40 vol. Lightly malty and cookie-like. with toasted almonds.4 vol. rye is a sideline for bourbon distillers in Kentucky). and now of spirits. Locke’s Single Malt. Some vanilla sweetness. is lively and elegant. Mouth-filling. raspberries. Tyrconnell. Crisp. with grass and lemon grass. SCORE 83. and a dusting of ginger in the finish. an apricot-like oily sweetness. SCORE 83.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE Some versions of Bushmills Malt (40 vol. with a hint of charcoal. A youthful population. of microbrewed beers.

More single malts are breaking ground around these western pioneers. a former attorney in the German ministry of culture. Clear Creek There are more beer breweries in Portland. It had some rawboned hits of alcohol. the wash is transformed into McCarthy’s Single Malt (40 vol. the remainder of the grist comprises corn and barley malt. The sample tried and rated here was distilled in December 1997 and bottled in July 2000 at 62. The successful Widmer microbrewery uses peated malt to make a wash which is supplied to the town’s Clear Creek distillery. There. all malted. and pot stills are used. this distillery pioneered eauxde-vie. The aroma is like spearmint toffee. and bottled at one year old. with a barbecue smokiness and mustardy spiciness. with liquorice and rooty notes. SCORE 62.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE Anchor Distillery Old Potrero (SCORE 88) is made exclusively from rye. SCORE 68. and column stills are typically used). rich. It was set up for that purpose by Steve McCarthy. The whisky has an intensely fruity and curiously nutty character. becoming drier. the palate starts sweetly. Old Potrero has a more assertive rye character than any other whisk(e)y anywhere in the world. St George Spirits In the Bay Area at Alameda.1 vol. not necessarily malted. Clear Creek’s principal activity is the distillation of Poire Williams from local pears. Oregon. (Regulations require only 51 per cent rye. Subsequent numbered editions (“essays” is the word used on the label) have additionally used second-fill casks. This sounds more like the grist for a beer. It now also produces a St George Single Malt. The distiller is a former beer brewer. and have been matured for longer periods. 434 . California. In most distilleries. who previously practised as a lawyer. specializing in environmental issues. and proportions are smoked over alder and beech. The first distillate was matured in new. toasted. and smooth. no age statement). the texture soft. and the founder. Jorg (“St George”) Rupf. SCORE 88. and there is the odd example in middle America and the east. than in any other city in the world. uncharred oak. The grist includes crystal malt and roasted barley.

nuttier. Kariuzawa A wide selection of vintages is offered by this tiny distillery (formerly Sanraku Ocean) in the mountain resort of Kariuzawa. The result is a flowery whisky. Some of the malt was distilled in a column. chocolatey notes. at the foot of Mount Fuji. but the past partnership with Seagram remains evident in its portfolio. SCORE 80. Yoichi has bottled a wide range of ages. Sendai The company’s “Lowland” distillery may be identified with a big city but the site is in nearby countryside. but the size of Scotland. with rich. It also has a range of regular ages. and very well structured. about 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Tokyo. Since then. with a whisky distillery at Hanyu. SCORE 78. Top-of-the-line Chichibu 14-yearold is more citric. Yoichi The original Nikka distillery is not so much “Highland” as coastal. producing honeyed. on Hokkaido: an island. Hanyu This company. This had a 435 . SCORE 78. some peated. with some citrus. flavoursome whiskies. has a lively development and a touch of sherry. The distillery is especially known for peaty expressions such as Yoichi 1986. but with an interplay between dry and sweet maltiness. at 12 years old. Its Japanese identity is proclaimed in Fuji Pure Malt Whisky. Kirin. Chichibu. Gotemba The brewers Kirin are now sole owners of this distillery. Kariuzawa 17-year-old is a well-balanced example. in alphabetical order by proprietor. bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. others not. Nikka. It is in the harbour village of Yoichi. tend toward lightly creamy sweetness. releases from Japan’s malt distilleries have swollen from a trickle into a torrent. SCORE 77. originally made the Japanese spirit shochu. Recent releases from each distillery have been tasted for this edition. Its Flying Horse malts. at various ages. Mercian. lean-bodied. The distillery is at Gotemba. Here are some highlights.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE JA PAN Fourteen malts from Japan were reviewed in the fourth edition of Malt Whisky Companion. Nikka. Sendai Single Malt. It is a handsome distillery. The whiskies are inclined to oakiness.

resiny finish. lemony Double Malt (54. SCORE 65. Hakushu Both of Suntory’s malt distilleries have recently launched their principal expressions globally. Yamazaki 1979 Oak Cask is more zesty.4 vol). maltiness. with notes of kumquat. SCORE 69. New Zealand Lammerlaw Single Malt. peat. earthy-fruity (apple core?) aroma. 40 vol. with peat returning. This was matured in Japanese oak. 43 vol. No longer in 436 . menthol-like. firm. SCORE 70. cypress. has a leafy. light. perfumy. RE S T OF TH E WOR L D: A SIA The Scots having been so influential in the British Empire. “forest-floor” aroma. and a dry. Suntory. malty dryness. a creamy-tasting palate. medicinal. SCORE 80. Sullivan’s Cove Single Malt. SCORE 83. warm finish. a taste for whisky remains in some Commonwealth countries. leathery and dry. Just as the Scottish distilleries have given a new emphasis to single malts. aroma. SCORE 85. and beeswax. SCORE 63. 43 vol. honeyed in flavour. grass. salty. no age statement. so have the handful in the Commonwealth. This whisky is vatted with Scotland’s Springbank to create the livelier. from Dunedin: Sunny. spicy. distilled in Hobart. but lighter in body. distilled in Ulverstone. SCORE 61. faintly smoky finish. Yamazaki 12-year-old is lightly syrupy. Australia Cradle Mountain Malt Whisky. It is drier and more assertive in flavour. From the company’s “Highland” distillery.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE leafy. A great many other versions have been released in recent years. than its “Lowland” partner. gold. and apricot in the aroma. SCORE 85. piney notes in a complex palate. Yamazaki This whisky seems to have gained in confidence and intensity over the years. Hakushu 12-year-old. Tasmania: full gold. and an appetizingly bittersweet. Tasmania: white wine colour. clean. with a cookie-like dryness in the finish. Suntory. very warming. and a grainy dryness. India McDowell’s Single Malt: vegetal. smooth.

in the direction of the Czech border. nutty. Lammerlaw also produced a more herbal 10-year-old under the Milford name. France’s own Celtic fringe. saddlery. Czech Republic King Barley Malt Whisky. and sesame. SCORE 62. Roggenreith is in a region called the Waldviertel. over 12 years. gingery finish. Scotland asserts its nationhood. flowery aroma and finish. focused and lively. at 69 vol. “boiled sweets” character throughout. garden mint. grassy. spicy. This was drier: toasty. there is a fascination with Celtic myth. The whisky has a peachy colour. GerstenMalzwhisky. Here is a sampler: Austria. SCORE 75. in Moravia. Brittany. RE S T OF TH E WOR L D: EURO PE As Europe unites. has the aroma of clean linen. Pakistan Murree Single Malt. takes particular inspiration from its cousins across the sea. SCORE 68. oily. (Both at 41 vol. vanilla. This perhaps obliges a distillery in a hamlet called Roggenreith to make a straight rye whisky. the trend has been to single malts. a 437 . peppery. Continental distillers of brandies and schnapps began to make whiskies after the Second World War. Waldviertel “Roggen” is the German word for rye. mint-toffee palate: firm. and a lively. SCORE 69. The Waldvierteler distillery has at least four variations on a rye theme. The range includes a 100 per cent rye. Since the 1980s and 1990s. northwest of Vienna. labelled Hafer Whisky. 43 vol. labelled as RoggenMalzwhisky. no age statement (8–10 years): pale. is one of a range from the Dolany distillery. with sugary.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE production.) An oat version (surely a natural for Scotland). in the town of the same name. greeny gold “vinho verde” colour. SCORE 73. is surprisingly dry and briar-like. and some syrupy maltiness. The Scottish Highlands and islands are rediscovered as Western Europe’s romantic great outdoors. creamy. SCORE 77. with a menthol. and culture – often indulged with a glass of Scottish or Irish whisk(e)y. linseed. history. and peppermint. but Cadenhead released a 10-year-old in 2002. with suggestions of privet. north of Olomouc and Brno. nutty flavours. among nine or ten whiskies. In France and Germany especially. A 100 per cent barley-malt distillate. at 43 vol.

SCORE 67. His latest expression employs beechwood-dried malt from the German city of Bamberg (the home of smoked beer). gingery finish. 43 vol. at 43 vol. SCORE 67. near Basel. the pioneer of malt distilling in Germany. The distillery is in Schliersee about half-way between Munich and the Austrian town of Innsbruck. a clean. nutty aroma. The use of barley to make spirits was. Fleischmann started distilling in 1983. The whisky is creamy and sweetish. It is gold. Slyrs Bavarian Whisky. although such untidiness sounds unlikely in Switzerland. in the Munich basin malting and brewing region. with a chlorophyl note. Schwäbischer Whisky. Switzerland. if not actually sinful. malty sweetness. This Breton whisky has the aroma of the forest. SCORE 68. The whisky is described as a single grain. France Armorik Single Malt de Bretagne. with a delicate perfumy-spicy dryness and warmth in the finish.WHISKY WORLDWIDE : THE FA M O U S FIVE hint of peat in a grassy. 42 vol. SCORE 73. seems drying at first. It has a pale. then sweetens and seems to become more viscous. is neither blue nor a mouse. at 43 vol. syrupy. and deliciously liqueur-ish: an anis-tasting whisky in the range of Robert Fleischmann. is made from barley grown locally. The distillery is at Eggolsheim. is produced by Inge and Christian Gruel in the oddly-named small town of Owen/Teck. and released his first whisky in 1994. near Stuttgart. SCORE 74. orange fondant. flavours of reminiscent of nuts. and perhaps a wood-fired oven. vinho verde colour. with some woody fruitiness. a light body. 438 . in Franconia. near the malting and brewing town of Bamberg. This whisky is named after the traditional fairytale character whose scattering of goose feathers is responsible for snow. and is only gently smoky. The whisky has an ash-like aroma. Germany Blaue Maus. but is actually made from malted wheat. Ernst Bader was the country’s first legal whisky maker. and a spicy. The distillery is in Lauwil. in the region known as Swabia. illegal in Switzerland until 1999. Switzerland Holle Single Malt. SCORE 68. and a spicy finish. and black chocolate. big. at 40 vol.

The end product is syrupy and full of flavour. With its elegant packaging. The company was established in 2000 by John Glaser. with a pronounced maritime character. but is light in body and restrained in flavour. This was vatted from Caol Ila and two versions of Clynelish. This approach suggests a new role for vatted malts. Peaty One employed Ledaig along with four Islay malts: Laphroaig. A similar use of vatting was developed by Compass Box. SCORE 72 With their simple. The result is big and oily. formerly with Johnnie Walker. and flavours to match. SCORE 83. The Smoky. and again Bunnahabhain. This vatting also included Highland Park. They are the first malt whiskies to be be named according to their flavour characteristics. descriptive names. The vatted malt Eleuthera is reviewed above. the big tastes of Highland Park were melded with the more sweetly complex Glenrothes and the herbal Bunnahabhain and that palette of flavours set against a background of Tamdhu’s mild maltiness. and The Smoky. The Smooth One is a single malt from the Cooley distillery. with its Eleuthera. SCORE 79. Peaty One – those are the names of three whiskies launched in the UK for Christmas of 2003/04. Caol Ila. to meld smokiness with softness and sweetness. these whiskies are intended to catch the eye and engage the palate of younger drinkers. The bittersweet Hedonism (its label is shown here) is a vatted grain whisky. Spicy One. HE SMOOTH. A direction for the future? Compass Box has erudite labels and unusual whiskies. 439 . In order to achieve the Rich. The end result has an attractive aroma of log fires. in Ireland. a category of whiskies that has in the past had difficulty in holding down a steady job. SWEETER ONE. To create products from scratch for a specific market is a radical departure in an industry where evolution is the norm.VAT T E D MALTS VATTED MALTS T The Rich. but the other two are vatted malts. Bowmore. The advertising seems to address what the British call the laddish market. Compass Box clearly has a more upscale orientation. Spicy character.

tulip-like shape. but a frozen tongue cannot taste properly. with spirits consultant Jürgen Deibel. HEN WE ENJOY DRINK. whisky was a hugely popular drink. and hearing. T H E QU E S TI ON OF WATER It is conceivable that the heroes of Scottish history Sweet smell? drank their whisky neat. Malt lovers tend to dislike the cut-glass tumbler that is often regarded as the traditional whisky glass. but they also distort it. the whisky being poured from the bottle. The bowl of the glass has no decoration. The bevels in the glass may illuminate the colour of the whisky. Having tried every glass on the market. so that the colour of the whisky can be appreciated to the full. Malt lovers prefer a brandy snifter. the tumbler shape does a poor job of delivering aroma. The inward curve above the bowl holds in the aroma. a variant of the copita. however. smell. Lovers of malt whisky want to enjoy to the full its subtleties of colour. its arousing bouquet. Do you listen to your food and drink? You do when you hear the steak sizzling in the pan.GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MALT Getting the most out of your malt W or food. sherry copita. There is a lid to retain the aroma between sniffs and swallows. we use all our senses: sight. “Half and half. contrary to The successful shape is myth. taste. More important. or the clink of glasses. Then the slight flare directs the bouquet to the nose. These glasses were designed to showcase the special characteristics of noble and complex drinks. or something similar. and its complex flavours. the author has observed that the tiniest variations in shape can make a huge difference in the delivery of aroma and flavour. today’s Highlanders do not. he has designed his own Whisky Connoisseur Glass. 440 . The size of the tumbler does accommodate ice. When the tumbler assumed its role. Based on his experience. The growing connoisseurship of malts has led to the evolution of whisky glasses based on a similar. but it had not yet inspired the connoisseurship it enjoys today.

served in a small sherry copita. fish. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. In different company. Others feel that the texture of the bigger. is arguably treating it as an aperitif. 441 . chocolate. The starter was smoked salmon marinated in the salty Oban and garnished with seaweed. flavoured with the honeyish Balvenie and served with the nutty Macallan 18-year-old. more oaky malts are being offered after dinner. bottled water (without carbonation) is preferred. The post-prandial cigar might well have been a smoky Lagavulin. flowery. The problem is that neat whisky can numb the palate. initially at the Aberlour distillery). The first public manifestation of this was a whisky dinner organized by the author in the early 1990s. Some malt zealots do resist dilution – on principle. Collaborations followed with Oregonian chef Christopher Zefiro (at The James Beard House.GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MALT with lots of water” is a common prescription. Increasingly. creamier. A light. To avoid chlorine notes. Although there is no tradition of accompanying a meal with whisky. This was served with the spicy Royal Lochnagar. It was a simple demonstration of possible affinities. In the whisky itself. prepared by a former chef to the Emperor of Japan. was a highlight in a series of meals presented by Diageo. it could be Dalmore’s Cigar Malt – or Glenfiddich’s Havana Reserve. Nouet began to write a regular cookery column in Whisky Magazine. This publication has also run blindfold tastings to match malts with sushi. some of the richer. This can be countered with a glass of water with which to chase down their whisky. sherryish malts is spoiled by water. The dessert was a butterscotch flan. dryish dram best suits that purpose. The object was to help highlight the aromas and flavours of whisky by relating them to the tastes in the meal. The main course was venison in a sauce made from Perthshire raspberries marinated in Blair Athol. cheese. can open the aromas and flavours. richer. some malt lovers like to offer “the wine of Scotland”. or in the early evening. and seaweed – are superbly accompanied by some maritime malts. The materials in sushi – grain. and coffee. The accompanying whisky was the lightly piney Isle of Jura. even a drop of water. by disturbing the molecular composition of the whisky. which employed materials typically found in Scotland. M A LT WH I S KY WI TH F OO D Anyone who enjoys a whisky after work. New York’s shrine to gastronomy) and with French writer-cook Martine Nouet (in Scotland. A sushi-and-whisky lunch.

(From the sea-spray to the scorched moorlands … treading the terroir that shapes the whiskies. opened a tasting room in 2003. Edinburgh. 2000. The same is true of Park Avenue Liquors.maltadvocate. pioneered this idea. Such shops are institutions.celticmalts. Alan S. titles of publications. Michael Jackson. between 40th and 41st). Among those. 1994. Canongate. 2002.com Malt Advocate (Published in the United States) www. Duncan Baird. Reprinted 2002. Reprints 1990. see distillery entries. (The last is in fact not on Park Avenue but on Madison. 1887 classic. HarperCollins. (The physiology. Its Soho neighbour. 1991. on returning through Heathrow. 2001. Alfred Barnard. 1994. and general information of assistance to the whisky lover. of Old Compton Street. North American.htm For official websites devoted to particular malts. 2003) The Making of Scotch Whisky. 442 . 81.com Celtic Malts (International news. and Irish whiskies alongside those of Scotland) MAGAZINES & WEBSITES Whisky Magazine (Published in the United Kingdom) www. Updated 2000. will find an excellent selection and knowledgeable staff at half a dozen specialist shops called Whiskies of the World. by a whisky specialist) REFERENCE The Whisk(e)y Treasury. sources of reference. issues and debates. Online magazine) www. Walter Schobert. Hume and Michael S. and are therefore listed at the foot of p. (Accounts of visits to distilleries. 1987. among devotees. 1992. 1996. Sutherlands. financial analysis and commentary) PRACTICAL Appreciating Whisky. 1997.se/hp/buxrud/ whisky. Neil Wilson Publishing. Milroy’s. 1999. of Greek Street. Visitors to London.sbbs. Charles MacLean. useful addresses. psychology and chemistry of taste) Scotland and its Whiskies. htm Ulf Buxrud is a Swedish computer entrepreneur and devotee of Macallan. These are separate from the supermarket-style former duty-free shops. (Includes year-byyear chronology from 1494) Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History. The Vintage House. Phillip Hills. Moss. 1981. with landscape photographer Harry Cory Wright) The World Guide to Whisky. 2002. 2003. Milroy’s is now part of the La Réserve group. 1987. Cassell. www2. Some of the ground-breaking retailers double as independent bottlers. Bibliography & Further information HISTORY The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. with reprints in 1969. in Manhattan. (Social history/commentary. Gatwick or Stansted airports. distilleries and industry terms) The Scotch Whisky Industry Review (annual).whiskymag. Charles Craig. (A to Z lexicon of brand-owners. Dorling Kindersley. people visiting Campbeltown or Islay by road might find Inverary a good place to break the journey – and visit Loch Fyne Whiskies. Originally published by Wolfgang Krüger Verlag. London. Gray. whose personal website offers an extraordinary compilation of news. (Industry statistics.WHISKY SHOPS /BIBLIOGRAPHY & F U RT H E R INFORMATION Whisky shops Malt whisky is far easier to find today than it was when the first edition of this book was published 15 years ago. In Scotland.com/default. Index Publishing Limited. (Standard work) The Scotch Whisky Industry Record. Michael Jackson. John R. (The geography of the spirit – recognizing at first hand the qualities of Japanese.

Thierry Benitah. Jim McEwan. Paul Harris (82). Gavin J. Bill Lumsden. (9). Nick Andrews. Frank McHardy. Lucy Drake. Liselle Barnsley. Natalie Guerin. for which I take complete responsibility. my apologies. and with my colleagues. Lorne Mackillop. yet more from those who make or market whisky. Graeme Thomson. Derek Brown. Rick Christie. George Grant. some of it directly from the glass. Bridget Arthur. Elodie Teissedre. Neil Clapperton. Stuart Ramsay.hoeksteen-glasses. Kate Wright. Kate Enis. Jim Gordon. Hide Tokuda. Shuna Mitchell. John Ramsay. Ian Weir. 440). Kevin Ramsden. Amy Westlake. Diageo plc (42). Kiran Kuma. Richard Paterson. Kirsty Reid. Richard Jones. Jonathan Driver. The whiskies newly described and scored in this edition were sampled specifically for the book. Alistair Walker. Kier Sword. Jim Cryle. Richard Lombard-Chibnall. Alan Gordon. Sukhinder Singh. Dave Robertson.P. the gathering of samples was a massive task.nl. If your name is not there. Although I keep notes of whiskies tasted in bars and restaurants. Ian Henderson. Nicholas Morgan. which is available from De Hoeksteen Projects b. Asahi-Nikka (10). Rachel Barrie. Bob Dalgarno.A. 2–3. I will put that right next time. Bill Bergius. 5. Lucy Pritchard. Heather Graham. and should be. Douglas McIvor. Rebecca Richardson. Cathy Turner (23). Nimmo. With more than a thousand tasting notes and scores. Bruichladdich Distillery Co. Peter Greve. Simon Coughlin. Michael Barton. The diversity of their knowledge and opinions provide a broad foundation for my own. Fred Laing./www. Chivas Brothers (22). Lesley Gracie. B. Durnin. Sandy Hislop. Mark Reynier. and Ritzenhof Cristal for Michael Jackson’s tasting glass (see p. Brigid James. that is an exercise in monitoring. Isabel Coughlin. Gordon Wright. Steve Gorton (1. Mike Miyamoto. Colin Scott. Alec Carnie. Pamela Marmito and Gary Werner for editorial assistance. Euan Shand. Stewart Laing. Catherine Service. during distillery tours. 440). Lindsay Morgan. Fritz Maytag. and their assistance is much appreciated. Dominic Roskrow. Matthew Mitchell. Glenmorangie plc (15). I thank the following. Euan Mitchell. 443 . Jacqui Seargeant. Fabio Rossi. Neil Boyd. Andrew Symington.v. Dorling Kindersley would like to thank Chris Bernstein for compiling the index. Jens Tholstrup.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS author’s Acknowledgments Whatever I know about malts has been absorbed over decades. Stuart Hendry. (12). more from people who share my enthusiasm. Malcolm Mullin. Marcin Miller. Robert Hicks. Vanessa Wright. Raj Singh. Christine Logan. Pauline Agnew. Countless other people in the industry have helped me over the years. Annie Pugh. Alan S. David Hume. For their generous time and effort in helping with this edition. Elaine Bailey. Robin Torrie. Jim Long. David Boyd. Claire Meikle. Anthony Edwards. Robin Tucek. The Urquhart Family. Margaret Nicol. Lew Bryson. Colin Ross. David Stirk. Geraldine Roche. Jérôme Bordenave. David Stewart. Paula Cormack. Robert Fleming. Hans-Jürgen Ehmke. Alan Winchester. John Glaser. The Edrington Group (53). All photography by Ian O’Leary except Anchor Brewing Co. Anthony McCallumCaron. Margaret Mary Timpson. Arthur Winning. The Patel Family. Andrew Crook. Donald Hart. Gray.

41. 15. 139–41. 19 casks 6. 255 Cardow. An Angus Dundee 78 Glencadam 78. 34–5. 335 Ballantine blends 76. 25–6. 372 Blackadder. 88–94. 387 Bell’s blends. 251 MacKillop’s Choice 78 Tomintoul 78. 345 continental vs. 78. 78. 213 Aberlour 42. 441 Blaue Maus 438 blended Scotch 7. bottlers 80 Raw Cask series 80 Blackwood 10. 278–83 Longmorn 60.158–63 Deanston 56. 77. see Cnoc. 55. 21. 198 Aberfoyle & Knight. 59. 309. 28. 71–3 Bowmore 41. 278 brandy 37 brokers 79 Brora 177–87 Bruichladdich Distillery 12. 59. 21. 103–4 atmosphere 21. 95. 46 Islay Cask 116. 34. 405 Campbeltown region 10. 134–8 Blair Athol 57. 410–11 Chivas Regal blend 174 Allt-á-Bhainne 95–6 Braeval 148 Caperdonich 172 Glen Grant 230 444 . 47. 312 Tormore 429 Allt-á-Bhainne 95–6 Anchor Distillery 9. 399–401 Special Distillery Bottlings 76. 326-8 Miltonduff 60. 77. 75–6. 432 Caol Ila 164–71. 422–4 Bushmills 16. 131–3 bere 38 Berry Brothers & Rudd malts 299 independent bottling 29. 418. 174–6. 95. Capt. 85–7. 213. 264 flavour 14. 25–6. 314 Miltonduff 375 Tormore 429 Balmenach 114–15 Balvenie. 59. 149–57 Octomore 13. 31. 142–4. 80. 14. 76. 76. 252 Armorik Single Malt de Bretagne 438 Armstrong. 13 Bladnoch 10. 69. 252–4 Glentauchers 302 Imperial 312 Inverleven 314–15 Laphroaig 48. see Braeval Braeval 43. 73 wood finishes 14–16 Celts 26. Robert 307 barley 10. 302 auctions 23 Aultmore 85. 53. maritime 38–9 and flavour 47–8 Golden Promise 48. see Cardhu cask strength malts 16–18. 78. 375–6 Scapa 62. 77 blends 158 Bunnahabhain 12. Alfred 380 beer 21. 440 Arran 63. 16. The 17. 72–3 alcohol content 17. 158–63. 434 An Cnoc. 34. 60. 67 Allied Distillers 76 Ardmore 102. 230–3 Glen Keith 234 Glenallachie 247 The Glenlivet 18. 72.INDEX Index Aberdeenshire 39. components of Blair Athol 139 Dufftown 211 Inchgower 313 Ben Nevis Distillery 61. 148. 69–73 charring 73 first-fill 14. 77. 439 Brackla 85. 248. bottlers 114 Aberlour 42. 45. 77. 47 Begg. 105–8 Auchroisk 109. 18. 57 Aberfeldy 76. 34. 95. 63. bottlers 17. 341–3 Strathisla 59. 251. 57. 437 charring 73 Chichibu 435 Chieftain’s 81 chill filtering 19 Chivas Brothers 29. 123–5 Ben Wyvis 126–7. 234. 77. John 338 Bell’s 75. 59. 33. 150 on-site bottling 17 Port Charlotte 13. 21. 427–8 anti-oxidants 45 Antiquary. 42 bourbon 34–5 casks 14. 48. Raymond 55. 18. 118 vintage editions 18 water source 43 Banff 121–2 Barclay. 251. 172. 404 Benmore blends 200 Benriach 128 Benrinnes 129–30 Benromach 10. 148. 128. 35. 63. 78. 134–8 aroma 44–5. 33 wood finishes 14–15 body 84 bottlers: independent 79–81 on-site 17. 32. 150 Buchanan blends 192 Bunnahabhain 12. 345 Barnard. 149–50 Bruichladdich 13. 28–9. 27. 53. 67. 439 Caperdonich 172–3 Cardhu 31. 63. 63. 434 Old Potrero 9. 278. 40. The 425 Ardbeg 12. 432–3 Cadenhead. 345 Adelphi. 53 Auchentoshan 55. 314. 116–20. 77. 77. 110 Australia 436 Austria 437 Bader distillery 438 Balblair 111–13 Ballantine’s 29. 247 Allt-á-Bhainne 95–6 Benriach 128 Braeval 43. 404–5 Campbell Distillers 247 Canada 9. 49. bottlers 80 age statement 65–7 ageing 16. 75. 79. 31. 208–9 Tobermory 63. 67. 76. 145–7 Braes of Glenlivet. 49. 88–94. 77. 252 Glenburgie 248–50 Glendronach 47. 439 Burn Stewart 63. 278 Caperdonich 172–3 Glen Grant 44. 39. 247. 79. 97–101 Ardmore 102. 80 Black & White blends 192 Black Bottle blend 158 Black Whisky 371.

177–86. 200–1 Glen Albyn 217–18 Glen Mhor 235–6 Glenesk/Hillside 256 Glenury Royal 307–8 Millburn 373–4 North Port 251. 158 Famous Grouse blends 76. 439 Cnoc. 269 Glenglassaugh 269–70 Glenrothes 245. 76 Glenglassaugh 269 Glenturret 303 Macallan 345 Tamdhu 416 Famous Grouse Experience 57 Ferintosh 126. 27. The 23. 221–2 Glen Ord 164. 62. 211. 241–2 Glen Spey 245–6 Glendullan 255 Glenkinchie 41. 196–7 Gle n Deveron 59. 441 Classic Malts range (UD/Diageo) 75. 75 Flying Horse 435 food. 388 Rosebank 41. 25–6. 57. 12 small 9–11 Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) 75. 56. 194. 441 Auchroisk 109 Benrinnes 129–30 Blair Athol 57. 194. 219–20 Dewar’s blends. 432–3. 393–6 Strathmill 412 Talisker 63. 371–2 Mortlach 59. 56. 309–11 Macallan 344–70 Tamdhu 43. 276–7 Glenlossie 286–7 Hidden Malts 75. 441 Dalwhinnie 43. bottlers 80 Crabbie’s blends 114 Cradle Mountain Malt Whisky 436 Cragganmore 194–5 Craigellachie 42. 241 Inchgower 313 Knockando 18. 164. 312 Dalwhinnie 43. 52 triple 34. 85. 213–14 Edrington Group 76. 177–86 Coleburn 191 Convalmore 192 Cragganmore 194–5 Dailuaine 198–9. 382–3 Pittyvaich 59. Robert 438 floor malting 31. 110. 78. 74–7 reopenings 10. 56. 206–7 Distillers Edition series 75 Dufftown 211–12 Flora and Fauna series 55. 191. 338–9 Mannochmore 286. 241 fermentation 21. 51 Fettercairn 215–16 Fiddich river 59 Findhorn river 60 finish 84 Finland 10 flavours 21. 208–9 Decanter 384 Deerstalker 114 Deveron river 59 Dewar. George 81. 299–301 Glenturret 57. 441 445 . 53. 303–5 Highland Park 47. 439 Cooper. 74–81 farmhouse 28–9. 206. 51. Delmé 430 evaporation 16–17. 276 Clynelish 61. 174–6 cask strength malts 16. 110 Brackla 145–7 Craigellachie 42. 196–7 Craiglodge 335 Crawford blends 129 Cream of the Barley blend 251 Croftengea 335 Currie. 329–32 Lochnagar 57. 75 Classic Malts 75. 33 Compass Box: Eleuthera 439 condensers 21. 75 Glen Elgin 46. An 188–90 Cnoc Dhu 188 Coleburn 191 collectors 23 colour 83 column still 28. 76. 200–1 Dallas Mhor 200 Dalmore. 164.INDEX Christie. 85 Diageo 50. 255. 206. bottlers 80 connoisseurship 16. 43 Convalmore 116. White Label 85 Dewar’s World of Whisky 57. 276 Clear Creek distillery 434 climate 38 Clynelish 61. 22 Conval Hills 42. 139–41 Caol Ila 164–71 Cardhu 31. 53. 433 Connoisseurs Choice. 85–7 Aultmore 85. 27. 206–7 Deanston 56. 202–5. 37–53. 29. 164. 76. 420 Banff 121–2 Dallas Dhu 60. 85. 75. bottlers 81 Dunglas 333. 380–1 St Magdalene 397–8 Distillers Edition series 75 Drambuie 413 Drumguish 78. 85. 334 Dunhill blends 412 dunnage warehouse 53 Eastern Highlands 57 Edradour 11. 77. 76. 413–15 Teaninich 420–1 distillation 27. components of Glenglassaugh 269 Glenrothes 299 Czech Republic 437– 8 Daft Mill 10 Dailuaine 198–9. 210 Dufftown 211–12 Dullan river 59 Dumbarton 315 Dun Bheagan 81 Duncan Taylor. 51. 79 flavour shaping 50–3 groups 77–8 maps 58. Harold 103 Cutty Sark blends. 61. 33. 320–2 Lagavulin 324–5 Linkwood 60. 312 Dalgarno 344 Dallas Dhu 60. 377–9 Oban 61. 52. 388–92 Rare Malts 75. 432 distilleries 22. 416–17 Eleuthera vatted malt 439 en primeur 23 Evans. John & Sons 76 Aberfeldy 57. 55. 60–1. 191. James 303 Famous Grouse blends 15. 76. 192–3 Cooley distillery 32. Derek 380 Coopers Choice. 210 cigars 202. 164. 62 owners 29. 57. 46. malts with 22. 40. 387 Port Ellen 12–13. 72 Fairlie. 72–3 distillery-shaped 50–3 and landscape 37–49 Fleischmann. 404 Flora and Fauna series (UD/Diageo) 55. 52–3 Connemara 46.

404 Glenkinchie 41. 17. 126. 76. 276–7 Glenlivet. 43. 57 granite 41–2 Grant. 78. 76 Isla river 59 Islands region 62–3 Islay 6. William & Sons 14. 384–6 Speyburn 59. 345 Gordon & MacPhail 29. 79. 257–62 Grant. components of Glen Spey 245 Knockando 320 Jim Beam 77. 323 age statement 65. 436 Hart Brothers. 44 Isle of Arran Distillers 103–4 Isle of Jura 63. 43. 131–3 Connoisseurs Choice range 80 independent bottling 80 grain spirits 27–8. 278–83 Glenlochy 284–5 Glenlossie 286–7. 439 Glentauchers 302 Glentromie 210 Glenturret 57. Iain 213 Hibiki 12 Hidden Malts series 75. 402–3 Invergordon 126. 61. 432–3 triple distillation 34. 78. 40. 77 Ardbeg 12. 75. 43. 237–40 Glenmorangie 14. 219–20 Glen Douglas 335 Glen Elgin 46. 42. 22. 79. 17–18. 208 Inverleven 314–15 investment. 299–301. 430 Justerini & Brooks. 97–101 Glen Moray 77. 164. 265 Havana Reserve 14. 266. 59. 223–4 Glen Garioch 47. 288–98 Glenora 9. 255 Glenesk 256 Glenfarclas 17. 424 Ireland 26. 439 Highland region 42. 32. 430 Glenburgie 248–50 Glencadam 78. 435–6 J&B (Justerini & Brooks) 29. 60. 432 Irish Distillers Ltd 16. see J&B Kariuzawa 435 Kentucky 432. 230 Glenfarclas 17. 316–18. 77 Ale Cask Reserve 15 Balvenie 116–20 Convalmore 116. 46 barley 38. 241–2 Glen Scotia 63. 263. 271–5 Glengyle distillery 10. 75–7 Inver House Distillers 76 An Cnoc 188–90 Balblair 111–13 Balmenach 114–15 Glen Flagler 56. 438 Girvan grain distillery 264. 37 grain whisky 31. 336 independent bottlers 79–81 India 436 individuality 21. 76. 264 Ladyburn 323 wood finishes 14–15 Grant’s blends. 29. components of Balmenach 114 Cardhu 174 Dailuaine 198 Jura 63. 371 Mannochmore 371 Teaninich 420 Hakushu 425. 63 map of distilleries 62 peat 44. 404. 438 Fuji Pure Malt 435 Garnheath 223 Germany 437. 303–5 Glenugie 306 Glenury Royal 307–8 Golden Promise barley 48. 223. 309–11. 45 seaweed flavour 48 water 41. 371 Glenmorangie plc 71–2. bottlers 81 Hazelburn 13. 409 heather 44. 323 glasses 440 Glen Albyn 217–18 Glen Breton 432 Glen Catrine 335 Glen Deveron 59. 61. J. 42. 62. 434 Killyloch 56. 192–3 Glenfiddich 263–8. 32. 243–4. 85. 57. Neil 235 Gwalia 10 Haig blends. 412 J&B blends. 12–13. 76. 221 Highland Distillers. 221–2 Glen Flagler 56. 33 Grampians 6. 265 vintage editions 18. 223–4 Old Pulteney 61. 323 Kininvie 17. whisky as 23 Iona 422. 237–40 Glen Ord 164. 32. 245. 77. 224 Kinclaith 319 King Barley Malt Whisky 437–8 446 . 46–7 Heaven Hill. 432 Glenrothes 245. Kentucky 288 Henderson. 412 international drinks companies 29. 63. 66 International Distillers and Vintners (IDV) 75. 251 Glencraig 248. 237. 405 Glen Spey 245–6 Glenallachie 247. 432. 441 Millennium Reserve 66 on-site bottling 17 Solera Reserve 66. 320. 32. 202 Johnnie Walker 29. 78. 257–62 Glenfiddich 263–8. 56. 39 malts from 10. 66. 66 water source 43 Glenglassaugh 269–70 Glengoyne 56. & G. 164. components of 323 Kininvie 264 Ladyburn 323 Gruel distillery 438 Gunn. 225–9 Glen Keith 234. 59. 40. 74. 76 Johnnie Walker blends. 42. 441 Isle of Skye blend 413 Jack Daniels 288 Japan 11–12. 42. components of Cnoc Dhu 188 Glenkinchie 276 Glenlossie 286. 66–7 Caoran Reserve 14. 316–18. 252–4 Glendullan 175. 57. 77.INDEX France 437. see Edrington Group Highland Park 47. The 18. 263. 56–61 Hillside 256 Holle Single Malt 438 house style 83 Imperial 312 Inchgower 313 Inchmoan 335 Inchmurrin 335. 59. 412 Glen Mhor 235–6 Glen Moray 77. 250 Glendronach 47. 76. 60 Benromach 10. 46.

27. & A. 150 Port Ellen 12–13. 44–5. 74. 16 pot still 9. Ireland 32. see Glen Ord Orkney 38. 346 collectables 23. 439 Linkwood 60. 61. 17. 41. bottlers 81 Lomond stills 314. 422–4. 404. 77. 357–66 Replica editions 19. 37–53 multiple 13 new trends 9–19 origins 25–9 single cask 19 malting 25–7. 39–40 Laphroaig 48. 345–6 MacArthur. 81 Mackinlay blends 247 Mackmyra 10 Macleod. 76. 81 The Mission range 81 Murree Single Malt 437 New Zealand 436–7 Nikka 11–12. 320–2 Knockdhu 188–90 label terms 31–5 Ladybank 10 Ladyburn 323 Lagavulin 324–5. 376 Muir of Ord. 43. Spicy One vatted malt 439 Robbie Dubh 43 447 . 77. 375–6 Mission. 335–7 Lochindaal 150 Lochnagar 57. 435 Ben Nevis 61. 416. Mark 149 Rich. 77. 350 Decades series 356 Exceptional Single Cask range 344. 61. 31. 220 McEwan. 32 cask strength 16–18 distilleries 9–11 flavours 21. 45. 211. 284 Raw Cask series 80 reflux 52 Reynier. 50 maturation. James & Co. 441 Laing. 55–6 Lumsden. 48 Gran Reserva 351 rare vintages 19. 441 casks 6. 50 Mannochmore 286. 380–1 North Port-Brechin 381 Northern Highlands 60–1 nose 84 Nouet. 371–2 maps 58. 62 Orwell. 408–9 Lossie river 60 Lowlands region 21. 352–4 yeasts 51. 39. Richard 202 peat 13. 34. 326–8. 42 peated 21. 150 Old Fettercairn 215–16 Old Malt Cask series 80 Old Master blends 412 Old Parr blends. The 81 Missouri Oak Reserve 14 Mitchell. Martine 88. 333–4 Loch Lomond 56. 354–5 Fine and Rare range 344 flavours 38. 28. 31. 346 Japanese 432 Oban 61. 105–8 Bowmore 41. 34. 78 North Port 251. 384–6 Old Rhosdhu 337 Ord/Ordie.INDEX Kininvie 17. 78. see Glen Ord Mull 63 multiple malts 13 Murray McDavid. 388–92 port pipes 15. 21–3. 327 Loch Lomond Distillery Co. 333–4 Livet 59 Loch Dhu 371. bottlers 81 Pittyvaich 387 McCarthy’s Single Malt 434 McDowell’s Single Malt 436 Macduff 219. 191. 28. 271–5 independent bottling 78. 57. 434 Old Pulteney 61. 255. bottlers 80 Old Malt Cask series 80 Laing’s blends 269 Lammerlaw Single Malt 426–7 landscape 37. 405 Morrison Bowmore 77 Auchentoshan 55. Fritz 433 microclimate 51 microdistilleries 9–11. 34. 243–4 Littlemill 56. bottlers 78. 375. 149–50 MacKillop’s Choice 78. 78. 69–71. 78. 76. 382–3 Octomore 13. 335. 338–9 Lochside 340 Locke’s Single Malt 433 Lombard. 142–4 Glen Garioch 47. 28. 60–1. 110. 341–3 Longrow 13. George 316 oxidation 72–3 Pakistan 437 palate 84 Passport blend 234 Patterson. 34. see ageing Maytag. 97. 31. 344–70. 324. 46. 128. 81 Isle of Skye blend 413 Macnab Distilleries: Lochside 340 Macnab’s blends 340 Malt Advocate 7 malt whisky 6–7. Douglas. J. 264 Kirin 435 Knockando 18. 439 lauter system 50 Lawson blends 219 Ledaig 63. 256. 377–9 Mosstowie 375. 70–1. Ian & Co Chieftain’s range 81 Dun Bheagan range 81 Glengoyne 56. 21. 78. 225–9 Mortlach 59. 29 producers 29. 344. 387 plain malt 27–8 Poit Dubh 413 Port Charlotte 13. 78 Glen Scotia 63. 43. 398 Littlemill 56. 62 mash tuns 21. 329–32 Linlithgow 397. Jim 81. 174–5 Pyysing single malt 10 range 66–7 Rare Malts series (UD/Diageo) 75. 288 Macallan. 399 Long John blends 123 Kinclaith component 319 Tormore component 429 see also Whitbread/Long John Longmorn 60. 18 pure malt 31. 74–9 proof and alcohol content 17. components of Cragganmore 194 Glendullan 255 Old Potrero Single Malt 9. 44–6 Peerless 81 Penderyn Single Malt 10 Pitlochry 22 Pittyvaich 59. 432 Midleton. 441 oak casks 6. 14. The 59. 432 Milford 437 Millburn 373–4 Milltown 410 Miltonduff 60. 33. Bill 72.

bottlers 81 wood. 57–60 flavours 21. 213–14 single cask 19. 57. 432 terroir 37. 418–19 tasting notes 83–4 Te Bheag blend 413 Teacher’s blends. 380–1 unchillfiltered malts 19. 66 washbacks 51 water 18. and ageing process 69–73 wood finishes 14–16 worm tubs 52. 70. 413 Slyrs Bavarian Whisky 438 Smith. 78. 45 whisky tourism 22 Scottish Leader blends 158 Scott’s Selection 78. 409 Longrow 13. 252 Glendronach 252 Teaninich 420–1 Tennessee whisky 14. 278–9 Glenlivet Whisky 279 Smoky. 234. Robin 80 Tullibardine 56. 33. 404. 40 Scapa 62. William 256 Scandinavia 10. 81. 284. 40 Scotch Malt Whisky Society 11–12. 425–6 Tomintoul 78. 437 St George Single Malt 434 St Magdalene 397–8 Sanderson. 77 Ben Wyvis 126–7 The Dalmore 202–5 Fettercairn 215–16 Isle of Jura 63. 63. 28.433–4. 413–15 Tamdhu 43. 71. 404. use of term 32–3. 435 seaweed 45. 279. 66 single grain whisky 33 single malts 31. 278. 338–9. 34–5. 404. components of Ardmore 102. 81 Seagram 75–6. 316–18 Stillman’s Dram series 77 Tamnavulin 278. 345 rock. 404–9 Glengyle distillery 10. 66. 46 map 60–61 water 42 Springbank Distillers 63. 126. 47. 410–11 Strathmill 412 strength 16–17. Jamie 80 Walsh. 384. 402–3 Speymalt 367 Speyside Distillers 78 Drumguish 210 Speyside 210 Speyside region 22. 334. 213 Takara Shuzo Co. Takeshi 12 Talisker 63. 439 vegetation 21. 67 Sullivan’s Cove Single Malt 436 Suntory 12. 393–6 Rothes Burn 59 Royal Brackla 85. 436 Hakushu 436 Hibiki 12 Yamazaki 436 Swan. 432. 418. 56. 15.G. 439 Tamnavulin 278. 387 Scotland 37. The 109 Skye 49. 191 Glenlochy 284–5 United States 9. 33. 408–9 multiple malts 13 on-site bottling 17 Springbank 13. 436 Stevenson. 32. 433–4 Usher’s blends 191 Valinch 150. 413 Wright. David. 95. 11. 32. 39–40 Tobermory 63. David 344. 377 Strathisla 59. bottlers 81 Edradour 11. 422–4 Tomatin 60. 427–8 Tormore 429 “tower” brewery design 430 Tucek. 42–3 soil 37 Spey river 42. 78. 35. 404–7. 78. 51. 40 geology/landscape 39–42.INDEX Robertson. 404 Hazelburn 13. Hedley 63. 416–17. 48–9 Sendai 435 serving whisky 440–1 shell-and-tube condenser 53 sherry casks 14. 45–7 Victoria. 346 Shetland 10. 66–7 Vintage Malt Whisky Company 80 vodka 32. 441 rum casks 14 rye whisky 9. 145–7 Royal Lochnagar 57. Robert Louis 412 Stewart. 73. 63 shops 442 Signatory. 251. 432 climate 38 distilleries 10–11. 430–1 Tyrconnell 433 UDV 425 North Port 251. 59 Speyburn 59. 40–2 Rosebank 41. 44. 114. Maurice 248 warehouses 16. 441 Whitbread/Long John Glenugie 306 Kinclaith 319 White Horse blends 221 Whyte and Mackay 63. Dr Jim 73 Sweden 10 Switzerland 438 Symington. 33 Singleton. Peaty One vatted malt 439 snow 21. 31. 51–3. 399–401 Schwäbischer Whisky 438 scoring system 84 Scotch. 53. 29. 77. 85. 42 Waldvierteler distillery 437 Wales 10 Walker. 79. 110. 18. 78 Tomatin 60. 78 Taketsuru. of Glenfiddich 67 Stillman’s Dram series 77 stills 27. 345–6 Yoichi 435 448 . 21. 37–8 derivation of name 27 see also malt whisky Whisky Exchange 333 Whisky Galore 81 Whisky Magazine 7. 202. 77. 16. Queen 338 vintage editions 18–19. 405 Yamazaki 436 yeasts 21. 153 VAT 69 blends. George & J. 39 peaty 44 for reduction 17 serving whisky with 440-1 sources 41–4 Western Highlands 61 whisky 32. 418–19 Whyte and Mackay blends 215 Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon 76 Wilson & Morgan. 17. components of Glenesk 256 Teaninich 420 vatted malts 29. 80 United Distillers (UD) 75. 63. 53. Andrew 11. and flavour 21.

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