2013 Berry Bros. & Rudd Glen Elgin, Small Batch, Cask Ref. 800468/69/70, Bottled 2023, Speyside, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (46%)
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Glen Elgin Distillery, Speyside
Glen Elgin Distillery is situated 10 miles south of where the river Lossie exits to the sea and about 40 miles east of Inverness Founded in 1898, it was built and designed by the notable distillery architect Charles Doig of Elgin.
It was the last distillery to be built during the boom years of the 1890s. Charles Doig, made an apocalyptic prediction, that this would be the last distillery built on Speyside for fifty years. Even this turned out to be conservative; it was actually 60 years before Tormore became the next. Work on the buildings began shortly before the 1898-99 collapse of Leith whisky blender, Pattisons, that famously drove a buoyant market for malt whisky into recession. Local legend has it that many of the workers went unpaid and that they only got their money when they threatened to demolish the chimney-stack.
Glen Elgins creators, William Simpson, a former manager of Glenfarclas, and James Carle, an agent for the North of Scotland Bank, saw their investment of £13,000 diminish to £4,000, when they were forced to sell it for a quarter of its cost within a year of its eventually beginning production in May, 1900. The distillery has had a string of owners before 1936, when it was taken over by the UDV through the Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. Despite all the difficulties during the post-war years, the distillery has been refurbished in 1964 and the number of stills has been tripled.
Much prized by blenders, Glen Elgin was for years a core component of the blended Scotch, White Horse. In the recent years it has been made available as a single malt. True to its Speyside provenance, its style is smooth, mellow and sweetly honeyed with a dash of tangerine fruitiness. Soft spring water comes from the area of Millbuies Loch to the south-east of the distillery.
To some Speyside represents the jewel in whisky’s crown. Speyside is the home of legal whisky production and it’s best known examples. Around the world Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas typify all that whisky, at it’s best has to offer. At it’s heart running from the Monadhliath mountains north to the sea, is the River Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Britain, and also well known for its salmon fishing.
Speyside is the principal whisky-producing region: Speyside has within it some forty-six operating distilleries - over half the total number in the entire Scotland.
Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character They are typically highly perfumed, feminine and elegant.
The classical nature of Speyside’s malts means that a number of the finest malts are used almost exclusively for blending. It is the top Speysider’s that give good blends their ‘Top Dressing’.
Malts such as Mortlach, Glen Elgin, Strathmill and Benrinnes are rarely found as distillery bottlings, however when individual casks are tracked down by independent bottlers such as our Own Selection Single Malt Whiskies the resultant whisky can be quite wonderful.
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The nose opens with Glen Elgin’s trademark burnt marmalade notes, alongside some apples and pears. A little time in the glass brings forward notes of crème brûlée with spiced cream. The palate is muscular, reminding us of Glen Elgin’s traditional worm tubs, while a perfect balance of fruit and oak waltz over the tongue. With characterful liquid like this, it’s hard to fathom why Glen Elgin isn’t one of the biggest names in Scotch whisky.
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