September 04, 2016
This week's review will be the second in a four-part series which features the new range of bottlings under The Single Cask brand. The four expressions are as follows:
- Glentauchers 2002 14 Years Old
- Glen Keith 1995 20 Years Old
- Miltonduff 1995 21 Years Old
- Invergordon 1988 27 Years Old
The second bottling to be featured is the Glen Keith 1995 20 Years Old expression which has been bottled for the bar.
The distillery was founded in 1957 by Chivas Brothers (and their then parent company, Seagrams) in order to secure a stable supply of bulk whisky for the company’s Chivas Regal, Passport and Ballantine’s blended whiskies, among others. Construction was completed the following year and the distillery came onstream sometime after that.
The distillery was also the first to install a gas-powered still in Scotland in 1970 and had five operational stills at that time. The first official bottling, a 10 Years Old expression, was released in 1994 as a part of the Seagram’s Heritage Collection.
In 1999, after 41 years of uninterrupted production, the distillery was mothballed by Seagrams and remained closed until 2013. In that time, the ownership of Seagrams and Chivas Brothers was transferred to French spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard, which meant that the distilleries under the control of both companies was passed on to the new owners.
Pernod Ricard understood that the ever-increasing demand for whisky meant that new sources of production had to be found and decided that the time was right for them to make the necessary preparations. They proceeded with the demolition of the old Imperial distillery and built a new mega distillery on the same site under the name of Dalmunach.
At the same time, the company proceeded with the reconstruction and refurbishment of Glen Keith in order to restore the distillery to proper working order and the distillery came back onstream in April 2013 with an ungraded production capacity of 6 million litres of pure alcohol.
In terms of equipment, the distillery sports an 8-tonne full-lauter Briggs mash tun, 6 stainless steel washbacks (these are located in the new portion of the distillery), 9 wooden washbacks made of Oregon pine and 6 pairs of refurbished stills fitted with external heat exchangers, vertical condensers and subcoolers (these are located in the old portion of the distillery).
The stills have extremely long and relatively straight lyne arms and the desired character of the new-make spirit is fruity in nature. The distillery runs on a 7-day week schedule and has the capacity to do 40 mashes per week, which adds up to 6 million litres of pure alcohol on an annual basis.
This week's review will focus on an expression of Glen Keith which was distilled in 1995 and bottled after 20 years of maturation at a standard abv of 45.8% for The Single Cask.
The Single Cask Glen Keith 1995 20 Years Old (45.8% abv)
Nose: Initial entry presents an expressive and fresh nose with a fair bit of citrus. There is also a slightly herbal note which is reminiscent of sage and this is typical of the house style of the distillery. Peaches, icing sugar, violets and a dollop of vanilla-infused sugar also figure alongside cinnamon and oak.
Palate: The palate is sweet on initial entry, with white wine, white grapes and icing sugar intermingled with sage, basil, malty barley and cinnamon. The spices are definitely more prominent and lively on the palate than on the nose and combine well with the fruity and malty notes. With time, the sage recedes and the palate becomes increasingly dry and oaky.
Finish: Medium on the finish, with the oakiness taking control of the proceedings alongside a lingering sweet and fruity note which is reminiscent of poached peaches. The wood spices have receded into the background while the herbal notes of sage and basil and disappeared completely.
Balance: Quite a well-balanced and interesting dram which exhibits the sweet, malty, herbal, spicy and fruity aspects to a good degree. The mouthfeel is oily with a slightly drying edge to it.
The Single Cask Glen Keith 1995 20 Years Old is available for purchase by the bottle and by the dram for in-bar consumption and for retail/takeaway purposes. Please approach our friendly bar staff for more information.
Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask
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