Friday, 6 February 2009


...... CLOSED 1985
........ yet another closed distillery from the eastern highlands, this well regarded Malt is now only available as old, and expensive bottles which are not worth the money, however, if you get to taste this whisky, you can expect a stumbling aromatic, sweet-malt, spice-breezed, age-complex oak-suffused veteran !!!!!!


...... CLOSED 1983
....... an east-coastal highland distillery with a varied pedigree
it is somewhat ironic that, after various owners failed to make a success of the distillery, it is the 'vintage malt' drinkers of today who are impressed at how good many of the surviving old stocks are. Perhaps, any surviving whisky was saved in good casks which have kept well, perhaps it's just luck.
Whatever it is, this whisky is fruity, malty, layered and rewarding.


..... a substantial highlander of some history!
..... allegedly the oldest Distillery in Scotland (maybe!)
this excellent malt is more or less invisible behind the all-dancing, all-singing, sparkle-fest event that is the "Famous Grouse Experience", a family friendly Mcwhisky-ville devoted to Scotland's most over-rated Blend.
It's really so odd, you would hardly know that a great Malt was in production at all!
Malted honey, cream-barley and peppery spice with varied nutty tones circulating, older versions are rare but show old-fashioned gravitas.
Glenturret 21 y.o (Cask Signatory) 91/100


.... complex and beguiling speysider which contributes a little brulee to Chivas Regal Blends.
This is less well known than the other Chivas malts mainly due to it not being officially bottled or promoted as a single malt in recent years.
It has been up to some of the Indies to 'carry the torch!'
It take a bit of familiarization, however this is a rewarding whisky of substance and both sweet and biscuity with maple, scented nuts, vanilla and barley-drops.
Glentauchers 12 y.o. (Old Malt Cask) 87/100

GLEN SPEY 87/100

..... underrated, colourful speysider owned by Diageo, and doing it's little bit for blended whisky, '..........cos it's not got much of a profile in the Whisky Shops.
Shame really, 'cos this is a decent, juicy, honeyed Malt with smoke, nuts and exotic tea.
Glen Spey 12 y.o. 87/100


......... a mystery Campbeltown Malt that isn't Springbank, or generally as good as Springbank, but standards seem to have been raised recently by the Loch Lomond Distillery Company.
Briney, aromatic and substantial with a fresh peaty glow, this Malt is well worth a perusal, and even outshines their Campbeltown rivals who have been 'distracted' recently.
Glen Scotia 12 y.o. 86/100 .... if this had been 'craft instead of being branded, 92/100.

Feb'10 - Exclusive Malts Cask 1247 85/100 ( an odd malt-grappa-rum thing !


........... complex speysider with a lot of spicy soft energy, and allegedly, in big demand by Blenders.
Rarely have I ever come across such an over-processed, disfigured Malt in all my life.
E150 perma-glow and savage chill-filtration have effectively neutered this whisky.
Any bottles with 1970-something will be expensive but fine, but after that, you take a chance.
...... an exercise in style over substance.

The owners of this whisky should hang their heads in shame!
Glenrothes 1989 64/100

Feb'10 - have recently tried 4 Glen Rothes at the Advanced Whisky Course and discovered 1994/12yo 87/100, 1991/14yo 87/100, 1987/15yo 89/100 and 1985/20yo 90/100 ... which shows a big improvement on past experiences with this Malt. ... good stuff !

GLEN ORD 86/100

.... a robust northern highlander with a great reputation amongst the Blenders for the balance it brings to Blends, Diageo bottle it therefore the Malt signature of the 12 y.o. is a bit off-key due to the 'branding'
however, older Glen Ord's are worth the effort, with a Malt signature of wood, wood-spice, nuts and great under-stated balance.
Glen Ord 12 y.o. 88/100

feb '09 - official 12 y.o. now discontinued, so will be a modest collectors item.


...... a secretive speysider which rarely seems to get any fuss about it, Why? don't know but perhaps it's because we have a quiet Malt,
no drum rolls or fanfares,
just a decent working, sensitive, peat-less, grassy,
fresh-fruited, barley'd, Malt that surprises and rewards when you eventually catch up with it.
Glen Moray 86/100


... this engaging northern highlander has been the biggest selling Malt in Scotland for years, due mainly to consistent quality and refined complexity at a relatively young age.
The Malt at ten years has an engaging balance of floral,citrus,spice, nuts and fruit, and this balance is the key! ..... a french perfumier identified 26 separate aromas from this Malt, ......... ooh ! la! la!.
I won't try to narrow down the taste basics, I recommend you try it as an affordable whisky lesson.
Recently this Malt was purchased along with Ardbeg by L.V.M.H. who specialize in luxury 'Brands'.
I suspect standards will fall,
time will tell.
Glenmorangie 10 y.o. 91/100

Feb'10 - well, dispite my doom and gloom, standards havn't fallen yet, although I find the Glenmorangie 'Original' worth 87/100 and some very pretty bottles on shop shelves.

GLEN MHOR 85/100

............ CLOSED 1983
... this characterful highland Malt from Inverness was part of a twin Distillery operation with Glen Albyn, however, being old, charming and making good Malt was no protection from closure, and now the distillery is a shopping centre.
.............. lovely!
The taste is considered nutty, cereal and malty, and surviving bottlings have had the advantage of time in refill, old (traditional) casks, and therefore, the provenance is good, and the experience ..... probably positive.

Bottles of heritage.....
collectors ahoy !!!


...... medium-weight speysider, churning out the Malt for Diageo's Blends.
Not a lot of this whisky out there, although (as usual) the Indi's come to the rescue if you want to try some of this.
It seems to be well regarded as a medium-intense, heather-honey concoction with flurries of barley and spice.
Glenlossie 1993 (Murray McDavid) 84/100


..... CLOSED 1983
. this characterful highland distillery with it's love-me/hate-me Malt
had a colourful period when a cow-boy (yee! haa!) bought it, then got bored and wanted a Cattle Ranch around Ben Nevis, (yip-i-yee!!) then no-one was interested in poor old Glen Lochy and it was shut forever. (Aw!)
But, fear not, this intense, citrus/gingery/woody bruiser may still be found lurking on the dusty shelves of some Indi bottlers.
Glen Lochy 26 y.o. (D Taylor Ltd) 91/100


..... big speysider with big heritage.
Never has a Malt stood so high up on it's plinth,
never has it looked more insecure !!!
anyway, many moons ago distilling was a fusion of civil disobedience and moonshine !, then this geezer got a licence to legally make the stuff and the stuff was amazing, then he made shits-loads a money and people hated him for being a 'scab' so he got two lovely pistols and shot a peat fire in an Inn and made more money 'cos his stuff was brilliant, then other Malts wanted to be his Malt and called their Malts "Theirs and his Malt"
and it still happens today with Indi bottlers 'cos pointless tradition helps sell stuff.
Modern Glenlivits are O.K. ranging from good to awful, and older Glenlivits, if you can find any are frequently stunning!
Glenlivit 15 y.o. (french oak) 77/100
Glenlivit 37 y.o. (Lonach) 95/100

Feb'10 have been told the Nadurra versions are good but still to try for myself, but in the meanwhile I have tasted the Standard 12yo 84/100


..... one of the very few lowland distilleries left, and provider of floral, light and sweet Malt for Diageo Blends.
Standards are reasonable, but the whisky is too perfumed for many tastes although that situation does improve with maturation years.
This distillery is a tourist hot-spot being nearest to Edinburgh and houses a Museum of Distilling containing a scale model of a highland Distillery.
............... Lovely.
Glenkinchie 12 y.o. 84/100


...... this modern speysider was built as an 'innovating' Distillery that used new technologies, ......... and the results have been 'variable'.
Sweet, salt, smooth and pleasant it is really a blend-filler Malt.
This is now Chivas Regal's 'technical centre'
..... and that's about it.
Sometimes the Indi's have decent ones.
A rather minor collectible.


..... big fat speysider that doesn't take prisoners.
This Malt has a distinctive personality, and is available in huge age range from 5 to 50 years.
Bold, malty, barley with lashings of dried fruit, nuts and marzipan, ..... young versions are spirity, old versions hugely mellow
I love this stuff, and once you get to know it, you see it's signature pop up in all sorts of old niche Blends and Pure Malts.
Glen Grant 34 y.o. (S.M.of S.) 92/100


... the most lowland highlander Malt in Scotland !
Quite lowland in it's style and this is further influenced by the claim that no peat is used in the malting process.
Quality barley types are claimed to contribute to the finish of this Malt and this reputation is rounded off by being a pretty distillery in a very pretty location, like Edradour, but different.
The malt itself is grainy, soft-barley, soft spiced and when good, it's good, when bad, it's ........ !.
One problem seems to be a legitimate 'craft' claim followed up by a pointless 'brand' presentation.
Glengoyne 17 y.o. 88/100

Feb'10 - an ongoing interesting wee Distillery which now sells 'Futures' Casks of Malt, and remains Craft orientated although not 100% yet !


........ one of the few maritime speysiders, and just recently re-opened after being moth-balled for many years, this is a delicate whisky by whisky standards, which means that when it's good it's fantastic, and when it's less good ,its forgetable.
Sweetish, floral, briney, slight sea-smoke, complex and enormously engaging.
This is well worth a try, if you don't find the new 'fancy' bottlings too expensive.
Glenglassaugh 15 y.o. (Cadenhead) 95/100

Feb'10 Lean times for this elegant Distillery as Manager Stuart pulls it back to 'normal service'.
Some success achieved with bottling New-make spirit.


............. slightly bonkers east highland distillery with a quietly growing reputation for variable, but interesting Malt.
Whilst chatting to the seller in a local west-end wine shop in Glasgow, she told me that an old Professor popped in every day for bottle of the 15 y.o., day after month after year, till he died of alcohol abuse.
It was only the 15 y.o., nothing else.
The flavour is of sawdust, varied wood-notes and pine/spices.
Glen Garioch 21 y.o. odd!/100

Feb'10 - 'Founders Reserve' 86/100 This Malt does have a great character, and the odd experience of rock-salt on the finish.


..... CLOSED 1983-85
.....a lowland lost-cause which allegedly wasn't a bad whisky, just unlucky.
Very rare now so few get to taste it and few get to hoard it in their collections.
Also appears under the name of 'Killyloch'.

GLENFIDDICH 87/100 iconic speysider, and the biggest selling single Malt in the world.
A decent, honest, basic barley-malted whisky, this is the Malt that the connoisseurs come back to to get their bearings after zonking their noses on all the obscure, rarefied, demanding stuff !
Old Glenffidichs are competent, but it is the young whisky that really sparkles with it's fresh, grassy, soft-barley, smoke-hint oiliness.
Glenfiddich solera reserve 15 y.o. 88/100

Feb'10 - 12yo 83/100


..... substantial, complex speysider of some repute, and famous for being family Distillery owned by George, George, George, George, George, George, George, George, George, John, George.............
Get past the tartan-tinged 'family' flannel which is a bit cheesy and you arrive at a very decent Malt in many permutations but in need of some 'craft' presentation.
Fortunately, they don't do all those fiddly 'winey' finishes and a sample of this Malt is well worth the effort!
Glenfarclas 21 y.o. 92/100

Feb'10 - 30yo 92/100 ... and still direct-firing of the Stills.
We like that.

GLENESK 70/100

... CLOSED 1985.
...... eastern highland enterprise that proved that provenance amongst distilleries works both ways.
This Malt was unlucky, it's really quite poor,
barley-sugar and dust.
......... so now the whisky collectors scoop up all the increasingly rare Indi bottles and drink de-caff coffee and Red Bull whilst gloating over their trophies from dead distilleries, ................ooooh what fun.
Also known, and frequently labeled by the Indi's as


... big ,fat, delicious speysider which contributes a lot of 'fullness' to Diageo's blends, and a lot of happiness to Malt drinkers, ... who would be even happier if this whisky was 'craft' presented.
Rich barley, crisp apple, heather honey and mapled-spices.......
this Malt is a lesson in good provenance and how, when a Distillery is lucky, and looked-after properly, the return is rewarding
in terms of the sipping experience.
Glen Elgin 12 y.o. 89/100 (92 if it was crafted!)


... lighter natured speysider, providing for Diageo blends, this whisky is considered middle ranking between the light and the strong natured whiskies making it a 'balancer' in blending craft.
Sweet, cereal, clean-tasting and 'grassy' Malt which is worth the education of tasting.
Glendullan 12.y.o. 87/100


.... a great big colourful speysider for which the term "fat and juicy" is most appropriate.
This whisky enjoys a huge reputation as an aged sherried Malt which sends Maltsters into orbit !
Malty, fruit-cake, big vanilla and caramel-peat.
..... official bottlings are rewarding, whilst Indi bottlings are a bit more variable.
Glendronach 12 y.o. 88/100

April'09 - Now sold to Benriach Distillers and four
new versions will be available soon.
I reckon all will be good, but look out for the 18 yo 'Allardyce', .... I suspect 'excellence'.


..... the whisky distilled on Lomond stills at Glenburgie Distillery, this is as well thought of as Glenbugie itself and can be found (increasingly rarely!) from the Indi bottlers.
So, if you see it, buy some history.


.... middle-weight eastern highland Malt of reasonable provenience, along with the Tomintoul Distillery, make whisky for Angus Dundee Distillers.
This Malt is light, sweetish and citrus-orange and barley sugars, with an elegant delivery of it's component flavours.
Frequently available from the Indi's, it offers that 'east-highland' character.


....... elegant and refined speysider, and an important addition to the Chivas Regal Blends.
This Malt is well regarded amongst connoisseurs and Maltheads as one of those frequently rewarding whiskies that wears age well.
Interestingly, this distillery contained an additional Lomond still from 1958 to 1981 and this produced a Malt called Glencraig, which was also rather brilliant!.
Complex, bitter-sweet and wood-spiced, it's well worth the effort of checking out the Indi's for a bottle.
Old Malt Cask Glenburgie 13 y.o. 88/100

Feb:'10 - Chivas cask Edition 15yo 88/100


.............. ruthless big speysider, and part of the Chivas Regal concoctions this Malt is considered complex for all the wrong reasons.
Most frequently available through the Indis' this whisky gets very variable reviews and is best left to the blenders.


.............. CLOSED 1983.
....... another decent northern highland whisky with character and that old fashioned sensibility that many contemporary Malt sippers appreciate.
Now rare and hard-to-get, only the Indi's offer this rare creature, and frequently all boxed up as a collectible with a price to match!
I haven't tried this, but other tasting notes mention smoke, honey-barley and complex spice.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


............ odd ball highlander from the east coast, and a big contributor to the Blended whiskies of Whyte and Mackay.
Very sweety, gummy, estery, dense, with loads of confectionery.
If you have a sweet tooth and drink coke, buy this,
If you have refined tastes, don't,
at least, not until it has 20 quality oak years under it's belt.
It's an honest whisky, but even the Indi versions are a challenge.
Bet this would take a good smokey peating though......


...... sweet little maid of the highlands, this Distillery was made for picture postcards, it's so lovely and little, in fact, the smallest commercial distillery in Scotland,
and a favourite visit for folk who don't give shit about whisky ...........'cos it's just so lovely.
The Malt can be lovely too, floral, sweet, minty! and a bit of butter.
I once bought an Indi bottle said to be 'superb'
.......... it was O.K.
and I recently tried a wine finished version which hilariously tasted of un-leaded petrol.
I know this wee distillery produces some good whisky but I just haven't come across it yet.


...... a big speyside grafter, Diageo's biggest contributor to the cause of big selling blended bottles.

"Rome was built on 7 hills,
Dufftown built on 7 Stills!"

... so the legend goes, and this is one of them, a Malt rarely seen on it's own, (some say thank goodness!)
I'm not going to comment as I never truly slag off a Malt until I've tried it for myself.
But if you get to try it before me,
......... hold your nose!


...... an overlooked highland Distillery somewhere in Perthshire! ... where, judging by the whisky produced, the sun rarely shines.
A modern conversion in 1966 from a cotton-mill, this distillery never had it easy, producing a cereal, modest, mildly fruity Malt of no great personality.
Since taken over by the latest owners, things have improved, ... and I hope it finds it's way!
Deanston 12 y.o. 80/100


........... a highland Queen, and a delightful white-washed wee distillery stranded on one of the most wind-swept heaths in Scotland,
and, ...Dalwhinnie is officially twinned with Las Vegas , Yee-har !!
This distillery produces a 'light' style of whisky, which like Braeval,
packs a big punch!
Only the 15 y.o. version is commonly available but it tells the story well of what a truly engaging character this Malt is.
Aromatic, heathery, honeyed and sustained elegance.
Forget the 'Double Matured' Edition which is a disappointment,
And look out for the occasional older bottlings, they're bruisers,
This whisky is part of the Diageo stable, therefore, could be even better
than it is if only the 'Branding' could step down a level.
Dalwhinnie 15 y.o. 88/100 (92/100 as a 'crafted' Malt)

DALMORE 87/100

........A big beefy highlander with a complex array of dried fruit, smoke-strands, marmalade, tobacco and old-man stuff !!!
Well regarded by Malt-buffs on its own, and by Blenders for their blends.
I really enjoy this old-fashioned, rich whisky, but it does come across as a bit 'engineered' and over diluted so to occasionally sample varied individual cask offerings are a special treat. A couple of Indi bottlers do respectable mid-aged bottlings.
On an interesting note, Dalmore appeared a few years ago as a 62 year old Malt with only 12 bottles obtained from several casks .........???
A man in England paid £34.000 at an auction for one bottle, ........... more money than sense if you ask me!
Dalmore 12 y.o. 89/100
Dalmore Cigar Malt 70/100


....... CLOSED 1983.
.... a gregarious highland Malt of good calibre,
rarely do you find a disappointing version, and here again you find yet another fine Distillery dumped and discarded by businesses that claim to know what they are doing.
Dallas Dhu is now an "Industrial Heritage Centre" operated by Historic Scotland, and forms part of the whisky trail of Scotland showing a 'museum' traditional highland Distillery without the 'distraction' of making whisky!!!
My question!
What's the bloody point ?
anyway, pwhew! got that off my chest.... You can find good offerings at some of the Indi's.


....... a substantial speysider of some character, this was originally the sister-distillery of Talisker, and some of the older buffs claim that you can taste a bit of both in each of the whiskies !
Anyway, asides from that, this is a big malty dram which can be great if your lucky,
and sort of O.K. if your unlucky.
The official 16 y.o. bottling 82/100 is way-over processed and such a disappointment as to what it could have been if
left alone with a 'craft' presentation, .
... so your unlucky here,
......... better luck next time !