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The distillery on Gallows Hill
In 1830, the Elgin West Brewery began producing local ales at Gallow Hill, once the scene of public executions. Responding to the whisky boom of the late 19th century, however, owners Robert Thorne & Sons decided to add to their acquisition of Aberlour by converting the West Brewery into a distillery. The first spirit run took place on the 13th of September 1897. Unfortunately, the whisky industry took a catastrophic nosedive in the early twentieth century and Glen Moray was deemed surplus to requirements. It closed in 1910.
The site was saved from ruin in 1923 when Macdonald and Muir (later to be renamed Glenmorangie) took it on. The ’50s and ’60s saw expansion, with the breaking of new ground in 1962 uncovering seven human skulls, an unpleasant reminder of the hill’s grisly past.
In the ’90s, the brand began to experiment with white wine casks, one of the earlist to do so, with Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay finishes both coming to market in 1999. Today, the distillery is owned by La Martiniquaise, creators of the blended whisky ‘Label 5’, one of the top selling whisky brands in France.
Since 2014, Glen Moray has been widely available in the form of their ‘Elgin Classic’ range, consisting of the original Elgin Classic, a Peated version and a Sherry Cask Finish. The entire range is available at bargain basement pricing across multiple supermarket chains with the Sherry Cask available at anything from £20 – £35.
Smell: Floral and Perfumed with Fresh Fruit – Apples, Lemon & Lime, Pears – then Sherry, Caramel and a touch of Coconut.
Taste: Sherry, Vanilla, Apple, Pear, Honey, Caramel and Cinnamon.
Thoughts: The ‘Elgin Classic’ range is very much in the bargain category, regularly discounted in UK supermarket chains, the quality, however, is surprisingly good for such a low price.
It’s certainly not a sherry bomb but the fortified wine makes its presence felt and adds another layer of flavour to the dram. Glen Moray have mastered the art of offering people a decent drop for a good price. Go into this with reasonable expectations and you should be pretty satisfied. Especially if you paid £20 for it.
*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.