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The original Speyside Distillery was built in 1895. Within just ten years however, production had ceased and the site was completely demolised by 1911. The distillery that carries the name today dates from the 1960s and was founded by one 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 by 1965 the business was closed, allowing Christie to acquire the building and begin converting to a distillery. This was to prove a long and laborious process however, with many excessive delays. Indeed, it wasn’t until the 3rd of December 1990 that spirit ran from the stills for the first time.
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 apetite for experimentation has become apparent and the distillers have begun to produce some new and varied expressions.
One such experiment has been bottled as Beinn Dubh (gaelic for Black Mountain). ‘The Black’ is matured in Ruby Port casks from the Duoro Valley in Portugal. One small criticism however; if you’re going to name a whisky after its colour, you really should confirm on the label that it is all natural. If colouring has been used to darken the liquid (which I suspect it has) then its a bit iffy to name it ‘The Black’…
Smell: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cinnamon and Nutmeg, Plummy Red Wine. Slight Earthy note.
Taste: Coffee and Dark Chocolate, reminds me of a Porter. Raisin, Berry and Plum and a touch of Spicy Oak.
Value for Money: £50 for a NAS malt reduced to 43% seems a little pricy.
An unusual malt, like nothing I’ve ever tried before really. I suspect it has been chill filtered however and feel like it could really have benefited from a more natural presentation. Some weight would have worked wonders here. As it is, it presents as something of a curiosity, albeit a fairly drinkable one.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, 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.