The Speyside distillery was officially founded in 1976 by George Christie. Distillation was in George’s blood since he used to be a… submarine captain, who probably missed the sound of trickling liquids. Building of the distillery commenced already in 1962 and was finished in 1987. Lots of the building was done by George himself, so it took him a while. We have to wait a further three years for the first distillation. (December 1990), The spirit has to age for at least three years to be called a Whisky, so in 1993 the first Whisky was released under the name “Drumguish”, from the name of the place the distillery was built. In 1999 the first Single Malt was released under the “Speyside” name, an 8yo. In 2012 the distillery which already changed hands a few times was sold to one of its clients. Harvey’s of Edinburgh. Harvey’s again changed the name of their Single Malt, calling it simply “Spey”. In 2014 the new range was released, starting with this Tenné, but also a 12yo and a 18yo were released.
Color: Salmon, like a modern rosé wine from the south of France.
Nose: Extremely malty. It’s like holding the grain in your hand. This smell makes up most of the beginning of the nose. Given some time the Port starts to “work”. Initially a more glue like sensation which turns into an overly fruity and acidic distilled Port that is used to fortify Port. With even some more breathing, a hint of sweetness and wine gums come to the fore, combined with some rural or farmy notes. After that it tones down and gets more powdery with even a tiny hint of gunpowder. Stale beer in the finish but also some vanilla. Wine finishes can be pretty funky.
Taste: Pretty sweet, bitter oak and again malty. It comes in layers and in that particular order. First a very friendly sweet candy like aroma, when that moves over, the roof of your mouth gets a bitter sap attack which evolves into a slightly toasted and oaky taste, mixed with sandalwood, (the Port probably did that), and licorice. Intertwined is the taste of malts. On top, a slightly acidic and fruity note, but that’s it actually, not a lot more is happening. The ABV of 46% gives it some strength and some hotness for the finish.
This expression is said to be a minimum of 8 years old. It is an extremely malty and pretty simple Whisky. For me, the Port finish didn’t bring a lot of complexity to the mix. Just giving it a shift in profile. Malty and simple, not bad, but also nothing to get overly exited about. Anonymous at best, except for the bottle itself. Looks very luxurious with its beautiful tartan ribbon.
Having said all that, it’s a lovely distillery and I hope they will get better with every release.