I'm venturing into Douglas Laing's territory again. On the table stands an Old Particular Glenburgie 1997. A glorious Speyside single cask, 18 years old and bottled at the standard 48.8% ABV for whiskies under 21 in the Old Particular range.
Glenburgie saw the light of day as the Kilnflat Distillery in 1810. Production only started 19 years (!) later. In 1870 the story of Kilnflat was over. When it was reopened in 1878, the owners baptised the distillery Glenburgie-Glenlivet, a suffix that has been (ab)used by many distilleries near the river Spey.
Single malt from Glenburgie is a key component of Ballantine's, the best selling blend from mother company Pernod Ricard. Its name features the new distillery building and Glenburgie is considered as the blend's spiritual home in the same manner The Famous Grouse calls Glenturret 'home'. The 17yo expression of the Ballantine's got elected Best whisky in the World in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011. A controversial choice to say the least and not exactly adding up to the man's credibility to some... And who knows what the good man has up his Panama hat this year...
The six stills at Glenburgie spit 4.2 million litres of alcohol a year. Official single malt releases are very rare or even nonexistent. There's a cask strength distillery only edition and Charles Maclean makes note of a 15 year old one in his book World Whiskey. Gordon & Macphail has a few Glenburgies with a distillery label in its range. And yet Glenburgie was a pioneer when it came to single malts. They released a single malt in 1958 under the moniker of Glencraig.
Another interesting trivia about Glenburgie is the fact that they are the first who appointed a female distillery manager. Margaret Nicol took the reigns in 1927 in an era where men dominated the whisky world. If a woman took up a leading role back in the days, it was very likely she inherited the distillery from her husband. Not so at Glenburgie though...
Identity Card Old Particular Glenburgie 1997
- Old Particular Glenburgie 1997
- Glenburgie Distillery, Alves (Speyside)
- Bottled by Douglas Laing
- 18 year old single malt
- Distilled June 1997, bottled August 2014
- Alcohol: 48.4% ABV
- Natural colour and un-chillfiltered
- Refill butt DL10873 (238 litres)
- 744 bottles
- Price: £70.00 (€80.81)
Tasting NotesColour: Wet straw in the glass. The whisky leaves thin slow legs on the glass. I poured it almost an hour in advance before nosing it. (A hungry-sleepy-grumpy baby interrupts my dramming sessions these days.)
Nose: Toasted oats with tiny amount of dried fruits. Dates and raisins. Lemon candy and wine gum. Lemon confit. Rose liquor and perfumed wood. Some green notes, think gooseberry and green apple.
A few drops of water adds warm spice to the nose. Cinnamon and cloves. Sugared almonds.
Taste: Dry and sweet. Wine gums. Lots of nutty flavours. Hazelnut and walnut. A creamy mouthfeel. Green eucalyptus candy and hoppy citrus flavours topped off with cinnamon.
Water brings the cinnamon forward. Baked apple and nuts.
Finish: Sweet on the tongue. It slowly dries the mouth and leaves lingering warm apple with cinnamon.
I'm pretty fond of Glenburgie. Nearly every independent bottling of them I came across were pretty good. It doesn't have the dark copper or amber colour one usually associates with sherry butts. So this cask was probably filled with a Fino or Manzanilla sherry in its previous life. Fresh and fruity flavours complemented by some warmer notes. A great whisky to welcome autumn.
A sample of this whisky was provided by Douglas Laing for a #SippinSpeyside session on Facebook. Since it's absolutely no use lying to one's self, opinions expressed in this review are of course my own honest opinion.