Glenburgie 26yo 1983/2010 (53.7%, Bladnoch Forum, Hogshead #9801, 204 bottles)

Kilnflat was founded, by William Paul in 1810. The distillery was closed between 1870 and 1878. When it was opened again, by Charles Hay, he also renamed the place to Glenburgie, a name are more familiar with. In 1884 Alexander Fraser & Co. takes over only to go bankrupt in 1925. Again the distillery changes hands, and this time to those of James & George Stodart Ltd. In 1927 the distillery was mothballed and stays that way untill 1936, when Hiram Walker buys the distillery. In the mean time in 1930, Hiram Walker also gained a majority of James & George Stodart Ltd.

In 1958 the distillery also gets Lomond Stills to produce another SIngle Malt you might have heard of: Glencraig. This will go on for several years but finally in 1981 the Lomond Stills are removed again and replaced by conventional stills, making Glencraig a “closed distillery” and somewhat of a collector’s item. In 1987 Hiram Walker is bought by Allied Lyons. In 2005 Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) buys Allied Domecq becoming the current owner of Glenburgie.

In 2003 the distillery was demolished entirely and replaced (a bit further down the premises) by a new and highly modern distillery. Only the old customs house remains and the four stills, the boiler and the mill were brought in from the old distillery. By 2006 another pair of stills were added.

Unbelievable, this is only my first review of a Glenburgie. Amazing. That’s why I stared with this brief history “lesson”. Not so long ago I was asked about great, lesser known, Malts (from Scotland) a.k.a. personal favourites off the beaten track. Glenburgie managed to get into that top 10, that’s why I’m so amazed this is just the first review of Glenburgie, should have been much sooner. Glenburgie is a distillate that works extremely well in Sherry casks.

Glenburgie might be lesser known as a Single Malt, but that’s because a lot of it goes into the Ballantine’s Blend. In 2017, Chivas Brothers released three Single Malts under the Ballantine’s name. Huh? Yes Glenburgie 15yo (the heart), Miltonduff 15yo (the foundation) and Glentauchers 15yo (the finish), were released as such, to tell the story how they make up the Ballantine’s Blended Whisky.

Color: Almost copper gold.

Nose: Very big aroma, this leaps, or rather, attacks you, with a soothing friendly voice, from the glass. Nutty and fruity. Meaty and dusty. Some soft old oak right after that. Dusty old oak. Quite big and holding a promise of sweetness, sweet (and meaty) apples rather than the usual Sherry notes. The oak has an aroma reminiscent of tobacco and leather and hints of old Calvados. Very fragrant Glenburgie. Nice and spicy. In fact, this holds it all. Quite balanced, and very big, it’s so big it hides the complexity a bit. Try not to forget, this is a 26yo Malt. It doesn’t show a lot of evolution over time as well, it stays more or less the same when nosing it. But with a Malt so big and nice, who needs complexity and evolution?

Taste: Yes sweet on entry, but with a lot more. Cannabis and toffee. Crushed beetle again and lots of nuts. Yes, let’s throw in some caramel as well. The start is sweet and sticky. Quite hot and the 53.7% ABV printed on the label, seems a bit low. Very fruity but grassy as well, thick fat grass notes, different from fresh-cut grass or dry grass and hay, but as mentioned above, also the grass you smoke. It’s fatty grass and cannabis. Do I detect a nice tarry edge right behind the spicy oak? Hot black tea. Dries out towards the finish. What a wonderful complexity and blend of aroma’s. This bottle is now 1/3 down, and that’s a good thing, because right after opening, this was much tighter and closed. Amazing how the nose lacked complexity and evolution, and when tasting it now, it is all but complex and shows a lot of evolution as well. One has to stop oneself writing notes, since, this keeps emitting more aroma’s from my glass…

Wonderful Glenburgie, extremely drinkable, even at cask strength.

Points: 89

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Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Map label, IF/CCC)

Ahhh, yes, Gordon & MacPhail never cease to amaze me! Next up is this Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, G&M, Connoisseurs Choice, Map Label, IF/CCC), but now it turns out that the exact same bottle with the exact same code (IF/CCC) was also released with the Old Map label too. Why? Can we conclude from this that 1996 was the year the labels got changed?

Glencraig is the little sister of Glenburgie. Glencraig was the name of the whisky that was distilled from 1956 untill 1981 in a pair of Lomond Stills at the Glenburgie distillery. Another example of a true Lomond pair of stills existed at Miltonduff, where the subsequent whisky was named Mosstowie. Mosstowie was made between 1964 and 1981. A tad different was the case at Inverleven, where only the spirit still was of the Lomond type.

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Grainy. Apples. Every component from apple. Compote and waxy apple skin. Smells a bit thin. Did they reduce this too much? Very elegant wood shines through. Dusty vanilla, almost like smelling airborne powdered vanilla. Slight hints of orange juice. Creamy and some hard candy.

Taste: Wood is the main marker, but not bad. Sweet and fruity with liquorice. Actually the spiciness from the wood carries it. The grainy element is here too. This could have been a very old blend. Hints of french cheese, a Camembert. Funky, I love this cheesy element in this Whisky! Slightly warming. Given some time to breathe the whole gets more sweet. Still the wood stays with its licquorice element. Finish isn’t even bad. It stays longer than expected.

Yes, reduced too much. It is in places weak and watery, and it seems to me, that some areas of the taste got subdued a bit, wich affected the balance. Just let it breathe for a while in your glass and you will be rewarded. This is actually better than we think. Give it some time.

Points: 86