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Historical records tell of illicit stills in the countryside around the village of Alves, Morayshire as early as 1810 but the first official distillery wasn’t registered until 1829. Known as Kilnflat and founded by one William Paul, the distillery was in operation until 1870 when financial difficulties brought production to a halt. Later acquired by Charles Kay, the distillery was renamed Glenburgie and reopened in 1878.
By 1936 the distillery had come under the ownership of Canadian firm Hiram Walker, beginning a long term association with their ‘Ballantine’s Blended Scotch’ brand, a relationship which continues to this day, despite Glenburgie’s sale to Chivas Bros. in 2004.
Indeed, such is the usefulness of the Glenburgie spirit as a blend component, it is rarely bottled as a single malt in its own right.
Perhaps the best opportunity to sample this somewhat elusive spirit is to look to the world of independent bottling. Elgin-based firm, Gordon & MacPhail for instance currently offer a 10 year old, bottled at 40% for a very reasonable price.
Smell: Very pleasant nose with Berry & Butterscotch, Orange, Lemon Meringue and Almond Marzipan.
Taste: Fruity with some light Peppery Spice, Caramel and a touch of Sherry, Dark Chocolate and Oak.
Thoughts: A very affordable wee dram at around £32 a bottle. While it may be a rather unknown Speyside dram, the quality on offer in this Gordon & MacPhail bottling suggests that this is a distillery with something to offer the world of single malts. Worth looking out for.