Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Lady of the Glen is an independent bottler of Scotch whisky, which means they source casks from distilleries all over the country and bottle them under their own label. Sometimes the whisky is good to go immediately, other times the team decide to rerack it into a second cask to add some new layers of flavour. There are many bottlers around who do something similar, but in my experience, there aren’t many that are currently achieving the same level of consistency as Lady of the Glen.
I was recently given samples of some Lady of the Glen bottlings and will be spending this week sharing my thoughts on some of the releases. First up, is a single malt from Glen Elgin Distillery in Speyside. The whisky was distilled in 2008 and bottled at 15 years old. The whisky spent 10 years in a hogshead before being transferred to a Profiler* barrique. It was bottled in Feb 2023 at a strength of 58.5%.
*The Profiler cask from the J. Dias Cooperage in Portugal follows a similar procedure to the Shaved Toasted Recharred (STR) process. Lighter treatment than that of a standard STR makes the Profiler more suited to longer finishing periods.
Glen Elgin Distillery is owned by Diageo. Located in Moray, it produces spirit for use in various blended Scotch brands. Official bottlings are limited to a single 12-year-old, meaning indies like Lady of the Glen often offer the best chance to sample this spirit in all its glory.
Lady of the Glen – Glen Elgin 15-year-old Single Malt
*Full disclosure: the sample featured in this review was sent to me free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Rich with baked and stewed fruits, preserves and jams alongside warm oaky spice. Highland Toffee. Cinnamon and ginger. Crumble. Toffee apples. Red apples. Raspberry jam. Cherries. Daim Bars (chocolate caramel bars with almonds!).
Taste: Intense arrival with a decent bit of heat (well, it is 58.5%). Toffee and blackcurrant (is that even a thing?). Brambles and slightly tart raspberries. Plum. Black pepper and chilli flakes – though the spice fades after a while. Touch of high-cocoa dark chocolate before the dry red wine finish.
Thoughts: This can only be described as an explosion of flavour. The “profiler” cask has certainly worked its magic and given the whisky some really intense wine-like characteristics. That said, you can still identify the profile of a Scotch whisky underneath. Even after a splash of water, the dram held together very well, offering a balance between spirit and cask, albeit with the latter taking centre stage. Sometimes I find red wine cask finishes a little too dry for my tastes but this wasn’t at all. There’s a little bit of dryness but not unpleasantly so. An absolute cracker of a dram.
Price: £95. It’s not a price everyone can afford to pay but for a single cask aged for a decade and a half, it’s actually fairly reasonable and I’ve tasted whiskies twice the price that couldn’t meet this kind of standard.
For more on Lady of the Glen: https://www.ladyoftheglen.com/