Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013
This little bottle of Glen Kella was a curious find among a larger mix of whiskies in an auction lot. I’d never heard of it before. Some research reveals that this is a controversial whisky that saw Glen Kella Distillery taken to court in 1997 by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA). They complained that the redistillation after maturation wasn’t in the rules and the resulting spirit shouldn’t be called whisky/whiskey. As a result no bottling from the Isle of Man distillery has been labelled whisky or whiskey since. They now refer to it as ‘Manx Spirit’.
What’s nice about this little story is that my bottle has ‘whiskey’ on it so I know it predates 1997. Back then the managing director of Glen Kella, Andrew Dixon, described the drink as “like a ladies’ whisky, light and sweet without the bite or the burn. It is a real whisky.” In the Wikipedia entry for the Manx Spirit it says “colourless, and can be used in cocktails without adding a brown tinge”.
I’ve read some tasting notes about this whisky which have included comments such as ‘paint thinner’, ‘sweet’, ‘sea salt’ (most likely from the Manx water which is added in the blend), and ‘heavily peated’. It sounds interesting but I can see why the Wikipedia entry mentions using it in cocktails. It doesn’t sound like the sort of whisky you’d enjoy au naturale.