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The original Speyside Distillery was established in 1895. Within a decade, however, production had ground to a halt. By 1911, the buildings had been demolished. The current distillery dates from the 1960s. It was founded by George Christie who saw potential in an old mill building on the banks of the River Tromie at Kingussie. The mill itself dated from the 1700s but that business had closed down, allowing Christie to acquire the building. Converting the sire would prove to be a long and laborious process, however. There were many excessive delays and no spirit was produced until 1990!
Since then, the distillery has become the home of Spey whisky, a single malt brand traditionally created from whisky sourced elsewhere in Speyside. Now that the company are able to produce their own liquid, however, an appetite for experimentation has appeared and the company has begun to produce some new, interesting isexpressions.
One such experiment is bottled as Beinn Dubh (Gaelic for Black Mountain). The Black is a single malt Scotch whisky that’s been finished in toasted ruby port casks from the Duoro Valley in Portugal.
A lot is made in the marketing about the appearance of this stuff but it has clearly had caramel colouring added. There’s no way it’s come out of a port finish looking like Coca Cola. I find it a bit problematic that a whisky named after its appearance has been cosmetically altered.
Smell: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cinnamon and Nutmeg, Plummy Red Wine. Slight Earthy note.
Taste: Coffee and Dark Chocolate, reminds me of sipping on a Porter. Raisin, Berry and Plum and a touch of Spicy Oak.
Thoughts: I actually don’t hate the whisky. There’s some interesting flavours there but it feels a little incomplete. A bit lacking in intensity, maybe. A higher strength could work wonders for it.
The asking price of £50 seems a bit steep given the lack of an age statement. Not sure I’d be happy with it if I’d paid that price. It drinks like a bit of an oddity. It isn’t terrible but if it weren’t for the ridiculous colour, I doubt it would linger in the memory. It’s a shame because I quite like the brand and feel like there’s a good idea here, it just doesn’t quite deliver.
If you’re crazy and the whisky reviewed in this article appeals to you, you can buy it from Master of Malt here.
Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.