Category Archives: Glen Albyn (closed 1988)

Blackpool Trams (Glen Albyn) 12-year-old ‘Dreadnought No.59’

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 10th January 2017

None I can find.

It took me a while to find out that this miniature is by the independent bottler ‘Signatory’. They’re not mentioned on the label but sometimes the bottle appears at auction in a Signatory box (mine didn’t). It was bottled in 1993 as number 2 of a series of four tram-themed miniatures for ‘The Wee Dram’ in Blackpool. I’ve been unable to find out what ‘The Wee Dram’ was but I’m assuming it was a shop, or possibly a pub. It’s not the current ‘Wee Dram’ shop located 90 miles away in Bakewell because that only dates back to 1998.

Although I’ve been unable to find a review about this specific bottle I have a similar mini Glen Albyn 12yo by Signatory bottled in 1993. Unfortunately it doesn’t fair very well where a reviewer says “one of those notorious bad casks of Signatory in the past.” It makes you realise that some whisky has more value in a collection than to a whisky drinker.

The four trams in the series of miniatures were:

No.1 – Longmorn 12yo ‘Blackpool Trams standard car no.40’ (on Whiskybase here)
No.2 – Glen Albyn 12yo ‘Blackpool Trams Dreadnought No.59’
No.3 – Glenury Royal 14yo ‘Bolton Tram no.66’ (on Whiskybase here)
No.4 – Glenturret 14yo ‘Edinburgh Car’

Although this was billed at ‘series 1’ there wasn’t a second series. A list of Signatory miniatures including the Tram series can be found here.

Glen Albyn 1980 12-year-old, Signatory Vintage

Bought: Whisky Auction, 22nd November 2016

67/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)

Yes, I confess I bought this miniature even knowing its poor rating on Whiskybase. But the problem is not due to the size of the bottle because the full 70cl version can only muster 61.33/100 from 3 votes. One member explains why “very, very, very strange whisky. One of those notorious bad casks of Signatory in the past. The distillery used to have a hit-and-miss reputation as well. Seems that this whisky has matured in an oil barrel.” Oh dear. We get to enjoy their tasting notes later.

So why did I get it? Because I’ve become a crazy collector of ‘Signatory Vintage miniatures in cardboard tubes’ that’s why! You had to ask. I now have a total of eleven, seven of which are from closed distilleries. To be fair on myself this Glen Albyn mini was being sold with two others, neither of which were considered to be as bad. Normally I would say that miniatures are a cheap way of getting a taste experience from a closed distillery but this Glen Albyn wouldn’t be a fair example. The liquid is better off staying in the bottle and joining the investment merry-go-round or tucked away in someone’s collection (mine for now).

Here are the tasting notes from Malt Martin on Whiskybase:
Nose: What’s this! Lots of gasoline. Like filling up your car at a petrol station. First I thought this was due to my glass, but it is really the whisky. Acetone and plastic. Later on some leafy and flowery notes. Biscuits.
Taste: Astringent and sharp. Orange peel. Lemon grass. Zesty. Also cereal and porridge. A little perfume. Lavender. Heather. Very strange again.
Finish: Medium long. Sourness. Pepper and a little nutmeg. Bitterness at the end.


Glen Albyn 1976-2012 Gordon & MacPhail

Bought: English Whisky Company, 6th November 2015

96/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
84/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 3 maniac votes)
85.45/100 – Whiskybase (average from 13 member votes)

This vintage bottle of Glen Albyn was a new addition to the Whisky Bible in 2013 where it scored an amazing 96/100. This put it in the category of “superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live”. The author, Jim Murray, says about the taste “I’m shaking my head in disbelief. Not through disappointment, but wonder! How can something of this antiquity still fill your month with so much juice? The barley still offers a degree of grassiness, though this is camouflaged by the softest bourbon characters I have seen in a long time. The honeycomb is in molten form, as is the vanilla which appears to carry with it a fabulous blend of avocado pear and ulmo honey.” He summaries with “wow!” and concludes with “the delivery really does take us to places where only the truly great whiskies go.”

85.45/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent mark, as is 84/100 on Malt Maniacs where one reviewer gives the tasting notes “Dry smokiness, in quite gentle doses however. Then a fruity berried style beneath. Taste gets that dry raspy smokiness, in a very interesting mix with the berries and fruit. This is a quite special whisky”.

Glen Albyn was sadly one of the distilleries that closed in 1983 so whisky casks for new bottlings are getting rarer and rarer. It’s certainly a good investment but it’s also nice to know that a lot of the remaining casks from the distillery are delicious, should the desire to drink it take over!

Glen Albyn 1976-2012 NAS 70cl