Ladyburn ‘Rare Ayrshire’ 36yo 1974/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, Bourbon Barrel #2608, 261 bottles, 500 ml)

As said before this distillery was briefly opened between 1966 and 1975. As far as vintages go not a lot were released. Officially a lot of 1973’s were released. This vintage was also released by Blackadder and Duncan Taylor. Signatory Vintage released a lot of 1975’s (and one 1974). Two of these 1975’s I have reviewed on these pages earlier. Last but not least in this case, Cadenheads had some releases from the opening year 1966, but that was a long time ago in 1979 and 1980. Besides these few ‘players” not a lot of Ladyburns are to be found. Now here pops up a 1974. As far as I know, there are three 1974’s released. Cask 2607 by Signatory @ 53.9% ABV (in 2011). Cask 2604 by Dutch bottler Van Wees @ 52.1% ABV, (also in 2011), and from 2010, Cask 2608 by fellow Dutch bottler Mo Òr @ 46% ABV. It’s not hard to guess how much (or how little) this got reduced. Rumour has it, these 1974 are pretty good.

Color: Light Gold

Nose: Very aromatic. Sweet and clean. Pops out of the glass. Fruity and lively. Great combination of farmyness and fruity sweetness. On the nose it’s already a lot better than the 1975 Ladyburns I tried before. Nice wood too. Great greenish notes with gravy. If the taste will be anything like the nose, we’ll have a winner on our hands. When this get’s time to breathe the lively fruits make room for something more dark and broody. Meaty and some perfume. Very interesting.

Taste: Fresh, fruity (pineapple) and in nothing you would say this is such an old malt. Not as complex as the nose is. The initial fruits are very quickly replaced by caramelized wood. Finish is good and slightly woody. But considering it’s age you would definitively expect more wood in this.

Very likeable Ladyburn. The nose is very much better than the 1975 Signatories I tried before. Taste wise, maybe not so complex, but less woody than the Signatories. Very nice Ladyburn, one of the best that’s still around, ánd reasonably priced as well!

Points: 86

Thanks again to Henk for this sample.

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Ladyburn ‘Rare Ayrshire’ 34yo 1975/2009 (45.2%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, Bourbon Barrel #558, 166 bottles)

Yes! Another example from the distillery that took its water from the Penwapple Reservoir, yes say it again, the Penwapple Reservoir. This time one of the many sister casks from the last year of operation, bottled by Signatory. Yesterdays cask was nice, but I couldn’t say it was worth your money (when you plan to drink it, rather than just mere collecting it), so will this be any better? This will be nice to compare to yesterdays one. Are they all the same? What does happen, when the same spirit is put into ‘supposedly the same casks’? In effect we can see a little bit here, what maturation in wood can do.

Color: Gold (slightly lighter than barrel #562)

Nose: Spicy wood. Clean and citrussy. Fresh sea air. Mocha and Cappuccino. Fresh cut grass. It’s different from cask #562, with a more typical Lowlander style. Fruitier, lemons and apples. Slightly woody with grass and hay. Lovely.

Taste: Sweetish, more estery sweet. This seems a bit  young too. Not very complex but a good body with apples. It has a different kind of sweetness, thicker and more tiresome if you have a lot of it. Nuttier too. Yes more hazelnuts. The finish has more woody influence and is a bit more bitter, but nothing to be afraid of. This has more balance and body. The other cask seems thinner.

No two casks are alike. whats the influence of cask, wood etc. Of the two, this is the better one. Nice full body and a great Lowlander. I enjoyed this one more. Good finish and nice aftertaste too. Because of the different sweetness this has, (corn-sugar), this seems to me less drinkable than cask #562. Still, who would try to drink the whole bottle at once, of this museum piece, so drinkability is not an issue here. Nice Ladyburn. Recommended.

Points: 84

Ladyburn ‘Rare Ayrshire’ 34yo 1975/2009 (46.9%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, Bourbon Barrel #562, 172 bottles)

Ladyburn wasn’t long around. Opened in 1966 and already closed in 1975. It was built by W. Grant & Sons within their Girvan grain distillery complex. Not completely uncommon in those days, since there were more malt distilleries on a grain distillery site. Glen Flagler was added to the Moffat site and Ben Wyvis was added to Invergordon. All three didn’t last long and are pretty scarce these days. These Rare Ayrshire’s are still around, but there will be a time soon, they will not, and prices will soar. So is this worth your money? Lets see…

Well officially there is no Ladyburn on the label, still it isn’t hard to guess what this must be. Out of the blue Signatory started to bottle a lot of casks from Ladyburn. Which is always nice since the place shut down in 1975 and whiskies from Ladyburn are getting more and more rare.

Color: Gold

Nose: Clean, like you would expect from a younger bourbon cask. Grassy, cold butter. Spicy yet light. Caramel, vanilla and clay. Powdery. Mild wood, which smells a bit odd here, small hint of rot maybe? It smells old now, but also not quite right. Grainy and with that, hinting at sourness. Finally perfumy and creamy.

Taste: Butter. Very grassy, lemonade-like. Mild wood, like liquid old sawdust. It’s not without body this. Caramel and powdery cream. Sweet and ever so slightly bitter. Nutty, hazelnuts. Not very balanced and rather anonymous. If you close your eyes you could imagine this being from a bourbon barrel. It slightly resembles Woodford Reserve.

I have to say that after some breathing it tastes better compared to when it was freshly opened. Beware, this Lowlander is easily drinkable and that’s not good for what is essentially a museum piece Whisky.

Points: 81