This week's review focuses on a whisky from a distillery that most people would not have heard of. Considering a large amount of Scottish distilleries were built and designed with a view to being workhorses in order to produce whiskies for blends, this should not come as a surprise to many.
The distillery in question is Glenlossie and it was founded in 1876 by John Duff, who also was one of the founders of Longmorn distillery. Duff remained the owner of Glenlossie until 1909, when the whisky bubble burst and economic hardship forced him into bankruptcy and to relinquish his holdings within the distilleries in which he had a share.
Glenlossie operated independently for a further decade before being taken over in 1919 by the Distillers Company Limited (DCL), which we all know was the predecessor to what is now known as Diageo.
The distillery has remained within Diageo's control ever since and was even expanded in 1962 before a sister distillery, Mannochmore, was built on the same site in 1971. Glenlossie has the capacity to produce up to 3 million litres of pure alcohol per year while Mannochmore is able to produce double of that, all thanks to a powerful expansion over the last few years.
The site is also home to a dark grains plant which is used to convert the draff from the distillation %process into processed cattle feed. But the most striking feature of the Glenlossie/Mannochmore site has to be the Glenlossie Bonds, which is a massive bonded warehouse which has the capacity to store up to 250,000 casks of whisky which is produced on site as well as other Diageo owned and operated distilleries within the vicinity.
Glenlossie whisky is used in a multitude of blends and is one of the primary components of the Haig range of blended whiskies. As 99% of the production is earmarked for blending, only a small amount of whisky is sold as single malt and most of it is through various independent bottlers.
The focus of this week's review is the Glenlossie 1997 16 Years Old expression which has been bottled by The Maltman at a standard abv of 46% and drawn from a single bourbon cask.
So, let's get to the review!
Glenlossie 1997 16 Years Old (46% abv)
Colour: Bright gold
Nose: An intensely fresh and fruit-filled note on initial entry, with the trademark scents that one would associate with a bourbon cask (vanilla, cinnamon and cream) as well as fat white grapes making an appearance. Barley sugar, mint and subtle oak intermingle very well and there is a slight alcoholic note to this dram, which might have something to do with the abv of 46%.
Palate: Fresh and coats the palate well, although for some reason the fruitiness that was evident on the nose is curiously not as pronounced on the palate. Cinnamon, black pepper and star anise dominate the proceedings and there is just a tiny hint of citrus which is somewhat reminiscent of mandarin oranges. Chewy malt and a hint of barley sugar round things off and there is a fudgy note at the very end.
Finish: Medium in length on the finish and the not as spicy as the palate, with the fudgy note becoming more pronounced. Cocoa powder and barley sugar at the very end.
Balance: Perhaps skewed towards the spicy side of things, although the fudgy note at the end does give this dram a rounded and decidedly sweeter feel. The mouthfeel is oily with a slight drying feel later on.
Considering that Glenlossie isn't very well known, it is highly regarded by the blenders who come into contact with it and on the basis of this particular expression, it isn't difficult to see why.
The Glenlossie 1997 16 Years Old is bottled by The Maltman and it can be purchased at The Single Cask by the bottle or the dram for in-bar consumption or for retail/takeaway purposes.
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