Moving on to the Lowlands region in Scotland for the first time for my next review. My first experience of a Lowlands whisky was the Glenkinchie 12 year old. This whisky was also recently named ‘Best Lowland Single Malt’ at the 2013 World Whiskies Awards. This 12 year old is the new entry level bottling and was released in 2007 to replace the 10 year old.
Whisky: Glenkinchie 12, 45% ABV (Cost around R600)
Region: Lowlands, Scotland
Style: Single Malt
Age: 12 Years
One of the few remaining Lowland distilleries, Glenkinchie’s was founded in 1825. The distillery was later purchased and restored by an association of whisky merchants and blenders from Edinburgh in the 1890s. It was restored as the model Victorian distillery village we see today, complete with its distinctive red brick buildings, houses for workers and even a bowling green.
Glenkinchie’s two fat old copper pot stills are also a distinctive feature, among the largest in the industry and together producing an impressive 1.3 million litres annually. Tradition still has its place here; for example, six wooden washbacks are still used for fermentation, two made from Oregon pine and four from Canadian larch. A single cast-iron worm tub cools the spirit, in preference to a more modern condenser, giving a whisky of greater character and depth.
Colour: Pale yellow gold to straw with many thick legs.
Nose: A very fragrant nose, that is surprisingly light, with floral and sweet notes. Also get pears, caramel, vanilla, marzipan and citrus fruits (most notably lemon). Despite a slight dustiness, it is still a very clean nose.
Palate: A sweet and soft start that is quite florally that leads to citrus fruits (lemon again) and freshly cut hay (straw). Warm sweet spicy notes of dried fruits and stewed fruits come through with lovely subtle hint of smoke. A mouth that is clean, crisp and light but has a depth to it
Finish: Medium with spicy (ginger) and floral notes, almost herb like and quite drying.
Overall: For me this is a great example of a Lowland whisky. It is clean and fresh with the right mix of fruit, grass and smoke. I like the way the spice and smoke integrate with the sweeter characteristics on the palate. It is a very easy drinking and light dram that is perfect for a summer’s afternoon, or any warm afternoon for that matter.
My Score: 82