This week’s whisky reviews, I remind you, are all of malts from unheralded Speyside distilleries; they were also bottled by Signatory. The week began with a Dailuaine 13, 2007 that was bottled for Specs in Texas. It continues today with an 11 yo Inchgower, which I think was just a regular release in Signatory’s Unchillfiltered Collection series. There are actually at least three Inchgower 11, 2007s released in this series that were all bottled in 2019 from proximate casks. I am sorry to inform that I don’t know which of those this sample is from. At the time that I acquired it I did not think to check and at this juncture I no longer remember who the source was and so cannot ask them. But maybe it’ll be representative of at least those casks. As to whether it’ll be representative of the distillery is a more complicated question. Most of Inchgower’s production goes into Bell’s, or at least it used to. Other than the 14 yo in the Flora & Fauna series, Diageo has released very few official Inchgowers in recent years. It is therefore one of many Scottish distilleries known far better through indie releases. Such have been all the other Inchgowers I’ve reviewed—which, oddly, have also all been older whiskies: the youngest before this one was a 20 yo. Anyway, let’s see what this is like. Continue reading
Category Archives: Inchgower
Inchgower 22, 1998 (Sovereign for K&L)
Let’s close out Sherry Cask Week (and the month in whisky reviews) with another distillery that has not featured very much on the blog over the last 8.5 years and which I have very little experience with off the blog as well: Inchgower. (See here for Monday’s Blair Athol and here for Wednesday’s Dalmore.) One of the many Scottish distilleries that produces largely for blends, in this case for Bell’s, Inchgower doesn’t really have much of an identity as a single malt. Outside of appearances in Diageo’s Flora & Fauna series—which highlights its lesser-known distilleries—and the occasional special release, there is no OB release I am aware of. It does show up from indies and all the ones I’ve previously reviewed have been indie releases, and have been in the general age group of this 22 yo from a refill sherry butt which is part of K&L’s 2021 cask exclusives. Well, I liked all those other 20+ yo Inchgowers I’ve reviewed—and I also liked the Blair Athol 12 from this K&L set—and so I’m hopeful this will be good as well. Continue reading
Inchgower 20, 1998 (OMC 20th Anniv. Release)
Okay, let’s make this a week of reviews of unsexy bourbon cask whiskies from unsung distilleries. Yesterday I had a review of a 20 yo Glentauchers bottled by Signatory; today I have a review of a 20 yo Inchgower bottled by Hunter Laing as part of their series commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Old Malt Cask line. I’ve reviewed a bunch already from this series: Ardmore 22, 1996, Tamdhu 20, 1998, Bowmore 22, 1996, another Bowmore 22, 1996, Glen Grant 27, 1991, Laphroaig 12, 2006, and Arran 21, 1997. I only scored one of those below 85 points (against all odds it was the Laphroaig), and a couple of them I thought were very good indeed. When I first opened this bottle I thought it was closer to the Laphroaig end of the range; I opened it for my local group’s January tasting and nobody was overly enthused by it. However, as the bottle has stayed open it has really blossomed and I’ve been drinking it down at a rapid rate. Here, before it’s all gone, are my notes. Continue reading
Inchgower 20, 1995 (Hepburn’s Choice for K&L)
I have been accused before of reviewing too many long-gone bottles that were never released in the US to begin with. Accordingly, here is a review of a bottle that was a US exclusive and which is no longer available. You’re welcome!
This Inchgower was selected by K&L in California and was released last year (I think). I don’t really put much stock by K&L’s reviews of their own bottles. Driscoll’s notes on Spirits Journal contain a lot of words that are often used to describe whisky but they very rarely seem to describe the specific whisky he is flogging. I’ve been burned once too often by what seemed like good values based on his gushing. These days, therefore, I wait till trustworthy sources report on bottles they’ve purchased. If this means I miss on the occasional quality bottle which sells out before I get a positive report I trust, so be it. Anyway, in this case the positive report I trust came from Michael K. at Diving for Pearls. Michael really liked it. I opened my bottle a few months ago for one of my local group’s tastings but have only just gotten around to reviewing it*. Continue reading
Inchgower 33, 1980 (Malts of Scotland)
I have a poor record with Inchgower, liking only one of the three I’ve reviewed for the blog. All were from bourbon hogsheads, however, and this one is from a sherry hogshead. Maybe that’ll be the difference—the classic distillery profile is supposedly sherried. Age/era certainly won’t be: the one I liked the least was close to this in age and distilled only two years later. This was bottled by Malts of Scotland for the 10th anniversary of the French whisky.distilleries.info site, which was, as it happens, the very first whisky website I consulted when I began to become deranged about whisky about a decade ago. I hadn’t looked at the site in a long time before tonight and I’m very pleased to see that it looks just the same now as it did in 2004/2005 (i.e: like it was designed in 1994/1995). What I always appreciated about the site was the number of notes taken on the same whisky over a period of time. A much better model than my own. Continue reading
Inchgower 24, 1990 (Maltbarn)
Here is another 24, yo from 1990 from another relatively obscure Speyside distillery in Diageo’s portfolio: Inchgower. Inchgower produces mostly for blends—as with other Diageo workhorses, a Flora & Fauna bottling may be the only regular official release (I’m not counting the special Rare Malts and Manager’s Choice/Dram releases). Johannes of Malt Madness says of Inchgower that “the malt whisky is of excellent quality – at least the stuff they used to distill around 1980”. I am hopeful that someday soon I’ll get to experience some of this. I’ve not had very many, all have been pretty old and none have excited me (see here for quick notes on the two I’ve reviewed for the blog).
This one is from 1990, so well past Johannes’ cut-off for excellence, but who knows, it might be special too. Like Wednesday’s Glen Garioch it’s also from Maltbarn and is also still available. Continue reading
Quick Hits: Two Older Inchgowers
“Quick Hits” will cover tasting notes of whiskies I have small’ish samples of that are not sufficient for me to draw detailed notes from. They should be taken with a larger pinch of salt than my other notes are. They do not include ratings.
First up, two Inchgowers from the 1980s. I know very little about Inchgower and indeed these are the first whiskies I’ve had from this distillery. I gather the profile is generally sherried; these however are both from bourbon hogsheads. Will they make me want to try more?