Bought: Morrisons, 18th February 2018
74.25/100 – Whiskybase (average from 6 member votes)
Glen Keith distillery got going in Speyside in 1957, was mothballed in 1999 and reopened in June 2013. Owned by Chivas Brothers its output was destined for blending, forming part of Chivas Regal, Passport and 100 Pipers. There have been plenty of independent bottlings of Glen Keith single malt but very few official releases from the distillery. The first was in 1994 with the appearance of the ‘Glen Keith 1983’. Whiskybase list only 9 releases of single malt from the distillery with the ‘Distillery Edition’ being the most recent one in 2017. Of the previous 8, 3 were before the 1999 closure and 5 were after the 2013 reopening. All are over 10 years old and score from 81/100 (good) to 88/100 (excellent) on Whiskybase.
What isn’t over 10 years old or anywhere near it is the ‘Distillery Edition’. You have to think that a lot of the whisky in it is 3-4 years old since production started again in 2013. The good news is that there’s likely to be some vintage stuff in the mix from 1999 or earlier. Then E150 colorant is added to keep everything looking consistent (boo, hiss!). For a distillery NAS (no age statement) I would generally expect most of the liquid to be between 6-8 years old. Clearly that’s not the case with the ‘Distillery Edition’. But is that a bad thing? New distilleries such as Wolfburn have had great success with 3-year-old releases. Where Glen Keith score over Wolfburn is that they have old stock to mix with the new to help remove any rough, spirity edges.
Although the score on Whiskybase doesn’t promise much the comments online at Master of Malt and Amazon are surprisingly good. They include, “pleasantly surprised! Wasn’t expecting much for the price but is pretty decent”, “nice smooth whisky”, “a good dram for a nightcap” and “everything I like in a young Speyside. Light, slight fruitiness, nice sharp nose, nicely balanced.”
Tasting notes from Master of Malt:
Nose: Sweet and crisp with orchard fruits and a malty character. Toffee apples and banana skins linger.
Palate: Through oaked dryness and an oily note comes vanilla sweetness with helpings of apricot yoghurt, dried mango and nectarines. Suggestions of chocolate pudding, a slight grassiness and a little spice form the backdrop.
Finish: Subtle floral notes and new oak, with a little honey.
Not a review about the ‘Distillery Edition’ but here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with a history of the Glen Keith distillery before he reviews an independent bottling:
Bought: Morrisons, 8th May 2017
82.33/100 – Whiskybase (average from 3 member votes)
You can tell that the whisky industry is booming when distilleries primarily used for blending start producing single malts. We had the Tamnavulin ‘Double Cask’ last year and now the Glenallachie ‘Distillery Edition’. Both appeared in UK supermarkets and were instantly discounted from their RRP of £32 (which they’re not worth) to the low £20s. Both are NAS (no-age statement) but in fairness to the Glenallachie it’s doing better than the Tamnavulin with regards to reviews. 82.33/100 on Whiskybase is an extremely good mark, albeit from only 3 votes so far.
The ‘Distillery Edition’ is doing equally well over on Master of Malt with 4.5/5 stars from 2 votes. Comments include “definitely found my new dram” and “the nose for me is a spirity flapjack, a palate of spicy apples with a warm long lasting finish. A smooth tasting treat!”
Tasting notes from Master of Malt:
Nose: Caramel-dipped apples and pears, with hints of brown sugar and digestive biscuits.
Palate: Oodles of vanilla, with a zesty kick of fresh citrus at the centre.
Finish: Fruity esters last long on the finish.
There are no specific YouTube reviews yet for the Glenallachie ‘Distillery Edition’ but here is Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ covering the distillery’s history before reviewing another example of Glenallachie single malt:
Bought – ASDA, 15th October 2014
93.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
83.7/100 – Whiskybase (average from 186 member votes)
84/100 – Ralfy – Glenfiddich 15yo Distillery Edition – YouTube (July 2014)
The rating from the Whisky Bible 2014 dates back to the 2010 edition. The author, Jim Murray, says of the nose “quite astonishing and, even with its spice nip, one of the great whisky noses of 2010.” He then says about the taste “my word!! Just so lively…enormous complexity from the very first mouthful.” It’s only the finish where Mr Murray feels this malt falls down slightly because it ends too quickly. Nevertheless, with a mark of 93.5/100, the classification for this single malt is “brilliant!”
If you listen to Ralfy’s YouTube review, one thing he and Jim Murray agree on is the presence of bananas. Ralfy even suggests “roasted bananas?!” Add this to sultanas, heavy fruits, barley, vanilla, spices and coconut and you’re in for quite a tropical surprise of loveliness. If you’re interested in a whisky with Speyside sweetness expanding in numerous directions, with a 51% kick and non-chillfiltered, then this dram has your name written all over it. Definitely one to add to your letter to Santa!
I’m being a bit picky here but I’ve been pondering, why “Distillery Edition”? With Glenmorangie giving names like “Quinta Rubin” and “Lasanta” to 12yo bottlings, and Glenlivet naming a 16yo “Nadurra”, I’m wondering if the Glenfiddich marketing department were at the pub on the day scheduled for thinking up an interesting title. After several drinks, the names they were coming up with were certainly interesting but not the sort of thing considered fit for public consumption. I would think “Distillery Edition” is stating the blatantly obvious – it’s an edition of whisky that’s come from the distillery. Wow! I’m only bitter because they didn’t accept my suggestion of “The Dog’s Bollocks” when I wrote to them regarding new whisky names.