Glen Keith 21, 1996 (Single Malts of Scotland)

Yesterday’s review of a Glen Keith 22, 1995 doubled my erstwhile total, taking it to an awe-inspiring two reviews. Today I multiply that by a further time and a half with my third ever Glen Keith review. Feel the mastery! This is a year younger than yesterday’s bottle and distilled a year later. It was released by the Whisky Exchange’s sister company, Elixir Distillers (the artists formerly known as Speciality Drinks) under their Single Malts of Scotland Label. It is stated as being from a sherry butt but the label also says that only 294 bottles were released. That’s a bit low for a sherry butt at 56.2%. You might wonder if it was in fact a sherry hogshead but in that case 294 bottles would be a bit high. The only explanation I can think of is that the cask was split with someone else and that Elixir Distillers has only listed the number of bottles their share yielded. (Or maybe they put the rest to some other use: conditioner for Billy Abbot’s beard?) Anyway, let’s get to the whisky!  Continue reading

Glen Keith 22, 1995 (Archives)

This seems to be only my second review of a whisky from the Glen Keith distillery in the Speyside (here’s the first). It used to be owned by Seagram and is now part of the Chivas/Pernod Ricard holdings, along with Strathisla, Aberlour, Scapa etc. But unlike those distilleries it’s not really known for single malt whisky  and its production has historically been earmarked for blends. Also unlike the previously named distilleries, Glen Keith is not open to the public, though it is in the heart of the Speyside. We drove past it on the way to Strathisla this June. Strathisla is, of course, Pernod Ricard’s show distillery and it is an accurate allegory of the neighbouring Glen Keith’s status that Strathisla’s new make used to be piped to to their grounds for filling (I’m not sure if it still is).

As always, it is through the independent bottlers that we get to taste whiskies from distilleries such as this. My review today is of an older Glen Keith bottled this year by the excellent folk of Whiskybase for their Archives label. This is from a single bourbon hogshead and is still available. Like the Signatory release linked above, this is also from the 1995 vintage. The distillery was mothballed in 1999, by the way, and only reopened in 2013 by Pernod Ricard. This means this was distilled by the previous owners. Pernod Ricard launched a NAS Glen Keith last year; it remains to be seen if they will put out an age-stated release once their own spirit comes of greater age.  Continue reading

Glen Keith 19, 1995 (Signatory for Stoller Wines)

Glen Keith 19, 1995, Signatory
Here is another of my purchases from my brief Chicago trip last month. I’ve had very little Glen Keith before. It’s a relatively young distillery that no one’s ever gotten very excited about, albeit one that’s packed a fair bit of change into its brief history. It was built in the late 1950s and originally triple-distilled its spirit (unusual on the Speyside). In the 1970s it produced peated variants under the Craigduff and Glenisla labels. In 1999 it was mothballed and seemingly closed for good…until it reopened in 2013 with a doubled production capacity. Now, as then, it is producing a somewhat generic spirit for Chivas Bros./Pernod-Ricard’s blends and it’s mostly known to whisky geeks through a number of independent releases in the 2000s—and, of course, individual casks can hit far above the average. Unremarkable as its reputation is, I’d have been willing to bet that it would eventually have turned around if the owners had only been far-sighted enough to keep it closed. Anyway, let’s see what this one is like.  Continue reading