Google Kinclaith, Killyloch and Glenflagler

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 16, 2019


Cold case: Kinclaith, Killyloch and Glenflagler

Indeed, this won’t make much sense, but you see, there are old whiskies that any serious taster will never put aside in an old shoebox. Indeed let’s not take the risk of forgetting about them and letting them go stale! (tsk-tsk, just any excuse…)

Kinclaith 24 yo 1965/1989 (51.4%, Cadenhead, 150th Anniversary)

Kinclaith 24 yo 1965/1989 (51.4%, Cadenhead, 150th Anniversary) Three stars
I believe this same juice had also been bottled as a ‘black dumpy’ by Cadenhead. It’s to be remembered that Kinclaith used to be Strathclyde’s malt distillery and that it was only active between 1957 and 1975. So, it’s probably even rarer than a Kardashian solving an equation of third degree. Yeah, even second. Colour: pale gold. Nose: not much of a quiet Lowlander (it was a Lowlander), rather a style that reminds me of several other old-school dryish malts, such as Millburn, or Glenesk. So not the tiniest piece of fruit, rather bags of grass and leaves, then baker’s dough, and yeast, graphite oils, soot, plaster, concrete, and then more menthol. Enough to bring texture to a good blend… forty years ago. With water: ooh the old days! Paraffin aplenty, fabric, Barbour grease, rabbit fur (yep)… Mouth (neat): a feeling of quaffing cold-distilled ale at first (remember Brewdog’s?) then some kind of pine-y bread and the feeling of crunching some grapefruit-flavoured wax. Much better than it sounds, despite the touches of soap that are there too. With water: please don’t add any water, should you stumble upon a bottle. It just wouldn’t swim on the palate, and would just sink and get very cardboardy. Unless you added just a tiny drop of H2O to 5cl of whisky. Finish: medium, dry, rather on ale. Comments: it’s not an easy-sexy-ooh-ah malt whisky, quite the contrary. After all, it was ‘an ingredient’. Having said that, the waxy part was pretty fantastic.
SGP:262 - 82 points.

So, please another closed Lowland distillery that used to start with a K, and an even rarer one if that’s even possible…

Killyloch 22 yo 1972/1994 (52.6%, Signatory Vintage, sherry Killyloch 22 yo 1972/1994 (52.6%, Signatory Vintage, sherry cask, cask #206413, 230 bottles)

Killyloch 22 yo 1972/1994 (52.6%, Signatory Vintage, sherry cask, cask #206413, 230 bottles) Four stars and a half
Killyloch was made at Moffat (Garnheath) just like Glenflagler, and was, to my knowledge, a slightly peatier version, while another distillate, which I have never tried and that used to be called Islebrae, was much peatier. Killyloch’s Longrow, if you will. It is said that they had planned to christen the make Lillyloch instead, but that some worker made a bad stencil by putting a K instead of the initial L. In true Scottish fashion, the distillers decided to change the name rather than the stencil, as the make was only aimed for blending anyway. A funny story that dear Michael Jackson was always telling with much wit…  Colour: gold. Nose: it is clearly a mild peater, perhaps a bit in the style of Highland Park. So not as much a filler as I had thought. Good pinesap, paraffin again, a touch of coconut, sour fruit wine (red currants?), clearly some cured ham, then more oils and waxes. Teak oil, gun oil, a little damp earth… It’s a very interesting nose, much more complex than I had expected. Class! With water:  a great wild IPA, made with good citrusy hops and good Brettanomyces. Really. Mouth (neat): very good! Although I’m sure that’s partly down to proper bottle ageing. Great fatness, beeswax, vanilla and croissants, a salty tang, some lovely earthy tones, myrtle, some white pepper, a little citron liqueur… A drying oak tends to be willing to come to the front, but the spirit stands up well so far. Having said that, with water: no, that holds very goodly. Finish: rather long, on some kind of salted and smoky citrus liqueur or wine. Comments: try to try this, it’s worth your effort while it’s not even very expensive, since no one knows the name. What our American friends call an unicorn. Well, it’s sure that it’s not Macallan, is it.
SGP: 452 - 88 points.

Right, and who says Killyloch says Moffat, and who says Moffat says, indeed, Glenflagler.

Glenflagler 23 yo 1972/1996 (51.3%, Signatory Vintage, cask #228442, 255 bottles)

Glenflagler 23 yo 1972/1996 (51.3%, Signatory Vintage, cask #228442, 255 bottles) Four stars
Not the first Glenflagler we’re having these months, isn’t that funny? Colour: gold. Nose: to tell you the truth, we aren’t that far from the Killyloch, this is just a tad lighter indeed, and rather more on oranges. So it’s more approachable globally, fruitier, easier… Whiffs of flour and old banknotes in the background. Pre-Euro Scottish pounds sterling, I suppose? Not much else to add, this is not Bora 1972, mind you. With water: it got very medicinal. Vicks, bandages, camphor… Earthy as well. You do feel this was bottled not only because it’s a very rare name, well done Signatory! (if I may, even if I’m 23 years late). Mouth (neat): good, tenser and sharper this time, and really shock-full of fresh oranges, with additional cinnamon and, I have to say, sawdust. Lovely notes of angelica too. With water: excellent! Pine needles, green liquorice, chestnut honey, some kind of oriental balm that you may eat… And mint cordial. Really and once again, it is a surprise. Even if, I insist, this baby should have improved after those 23 years in a good bottle. Finish: this is the weaker part, it’s pretty long but it’s getting a notch drying. No problem. Comments: I’m so glad I could try those two ‘Moffats’ head to head. They’re more similar than what some would think, and yet more different than what others would believe. You’re right, that does not take us very far.
SGP:451 - 87 points.

(Thanks a lot, Angus, François and Lau!)







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