Google Closed Distilleries A Random Assortment

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2017


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

April 14, 2018





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Closed Distilleries:
A Random Assortment
It’s not a session which makes much sense really, but I have a bundle of samples from a variety of closed distilleries and, well, it’s always fun to taste such historical nuggets. We’ll try them in random order, but first, let’s kick off with a grain as a wee aperitif...


Lochside 31 yo 1962/1994 (56.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)

Lochside 31 yo 1962/1994 (56.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
I’m no big grain fan but I do tend to find that the old Lochside grains had a little something ‘extra’ to them. Let’s see if this theory holds malt! (Oh dear). Colour: Deep gold. Nose: I must admit, this is a lovely combination of furniture polish, quince, sultanas, some good VSOP cognac, toasted brioche and some glazed pastries. The wood aspects feel nicely polished rather than sawdusty and varnished or aggressive. There are also some crystalised citrus fruits and hints of some very old demerara rum. With water: some lovely notes of preserved fruit, apple pie, custard and aged muscat. Really develops beautifully with water. Mouth: Flambed banana, a little juniper, some oaky vanilla and orange cocktail bitters. Perhaps more typical aged grain territories here but still good. A little incense and chamomile as well. With water: just as on the nose water improves things. There’s wood spice, but also a little tobacco, olive oil and an earthy turmeric not. A hot mustard seed note rises with time. Finish: Long, oily, full of wood spice, polish and some dried fruits. Comments: I do still feel these old Lochside grains tend to display a slightly more substantial character. Would be interesting to know about the production process at the time and how it differed from the legendarily fruity malts they were making in tandem. Water worked well with this one.
SGP: 531 - 87 points.



St Magdalene 21 yo 1982/2003. (56.5%, Hart Brothers)

St Magdalene 21 yo 1982/2003. (56.5%, Hart Brothers)
Serge tried this one on WF back in 2006 and gave it 89. Colour: White wine. Nose: Prickly at first, then some underripe greengages, white flowers, tart gooseberries, cider apples, hay, chopped parsley and a little nectar and pollen. This sense of ‘heat’ continues with notes of grated horseradish and mustard seed. There’s also a chalk and pebbley mineral side ascending with time. With water: soft earth, white pepper, camphor, lamp oil and a chocolate lime sweetie. Some riper garden fruits as well such as cut green apples and a hint of grape must. Mouth: Bready, lemony and rather punchy. Full of sunflower oil, light waxes, hessian cloth, minerals, clay, chalk and a single pineapple cube. Muesli and assorted other drying cereal notes. Plus a scattering of mixed dried herbs. With water: mineralic and drying still, but the oilier, fattier and waxy qualities are also louder with water.  Who said Lowlanders were always delicate? Finish: Long and oily with toasted seeds, buttery toast and yellow flowers. Comments: I’ve always had a soft spot for St Magdalene and this one does nothing to dispel that. It starts out somewhat difficult but slowly charms you as it goes along. Was hovering around 87/88 but I think, on balance, I agree with Mr S (although not sure about the peat?)
SGP: 451 - 89 points.



Rosebank 12 yo 1980/1992 (60.1%, Kingsbury, sherry butt, cask #2467)

Rosebank 12 yo 1980/1992 (60.1%, Kingsbury, sherry butt, cask #2467)
Colour: Amber. Nose: Pow! A big fug of dense sherry, dark chocolate, prune juice, fig jam, soft earthy notes, camphor and many dark, stewed fruits. Notes of soft brown sugar, old cognac, earl grey tea, lemon oil and a wonderfully thick rancio note. Totally fabulous, old school sherried Rosebank! With water: it really starts to reach perfection now with this rising tropical fruit note. Papaya, dried mango, pineapple syrup and a gravelly earthiness underneath still. There’s also still plenty darker fruit notes such as sultanas and dates. Mouth: Extremely earthy and nutty. Full of hessian, bitter chocolate, cocoa and big meaty notes such as mutton and game. Dried raspberry, coal dust, aged mead, tar liqueur and black tea. A mighty dram! With water: leaner, more mineral, more citrus peel, cocktail bitters, turmeric, a distant lick of peat, some mineral oil and pink grapefruit. Totally brilliant! Finish: Superbly long, pin sharp, mineralic, earthy, chocolatey and all kinds of fruity. Comments: Those good folks at Kingsbury didn’t half select a few sensational casks over the years. This one is a total stonker! I feel like we will now need a short interlude...
SGP: 662 - 93 points.



(listens to Whiskyfun jazz recommendations for indeterminate amount of time...)  


Millburn 11 yo 1983/1995 (58.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Sherry)

Millburn 11 yo 1983/1995 (58.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Sherry)
For me, Millburn is the least tricky of the Inverness three. Although, I’m not sure that’s saying an awful lot... Colour: Gold. Nose: Typical, rather brutal, Invernetian austerity. All this kind of drying minerality, punchy wax, chalk, oatmeal, a hint of preserved lemon, salted porridge and something like ground concrete. You just feel straight away it’s going to be tough. Goes on with a little bit of vase water, a hot greenhouse and some cornflour. With water: gravel, a touch of soot and some grassy notes. Still brutal and rather aggressive though. Mouth: Big, rather uncompromising and some slightly unlikely notes of cardboard and porrdige in there. Some mashed potato, cooked asparagus, white pepper, sunflower oil and a little nutmeg. A little coca powder in there somewhere as well along with a slightly acrid ashiness. With water: these slightly cardboardy notes are only elevated with water, gets stringy, green and almost granitic in its stoniness - more Aberdeen than Inverness. Finish: A long, acrid mouth full of chalk with a few peppercorns and chunks of concreted in the mix. Comments: a perfect dram for the masochist in your life. Like trying to eat a box of water crackers with a gun to your head. Now, it’s not terrible, just totally extreme and utterly uncompromising. The kind of whisky you could use as fuel for a wasp-killing flame thrower in Drumnadrochit...
SGP: 242 - 74 points.



North Port 1980/1996 (57.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #74.3)

North Port 1980/1996 (57.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #74.3)
I have a soft spot for North Port, but I always felt that it remained a rather elusive and ‘unknowable’ malt. Colour: Straw. Nose: Lots of mirabelle eau de vie at first. Ripe pears, a little lychee, some sharp gooseberry, white flowers such as daisies and also some chalk and a cereal / weetabix note. Rather lovely and very fresh, although it’s very much in this old school, austere and extremely unsexy style. Although that’s a style that is very popular both at Whiskyfun HQ and Whiskyfun Edinburgh depot. Develops a clearer mineral edge with a little time. Some putty, rubbed lime skins and perhaps a little citrus infused mascarpone. While it is an ‘unsexy’ style, it still feels very easy. With water: a wee twist of lemon peel, some quinine (at the risk of appearing sacrilegious, it would probably work nicely with tonic) and finally some waxier tones as well. A little hessian and lick of something tropical begins to emerge. Mouth: Rather lean, crisp and bone dry. A young and punchy riesling. Some sappy, slightly green wood, white pepper, flints, more chalk and hints of porridge with the most miserly teaspoon of honey. Some cornflower and plain scones as well. With water: some barley water, a little touch of eucalyptus, lemon biscuits and a distant flicker of  caraway. Finish: Good length and surprisingly bready and yeasty. Some more very subtle lemony aspects, chalk and white stone fruits. Comments: A rather classical and extremely pure style of old school malt whisky. Totally naked and about as far from these wood-doctored contemporary styles as you can get. Exactly the kind of somewhat tricky, austere character that many of these less lauded closed distilleries so often display. However, there are glimmers of greatness in this one and, overall, I rather like it. Works well with a little water.
SGP: 351 - 87 points.



Dallas Dhu 18 yo 1977/1996 (58.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)

Dallas Dhu 18 yo 1977/1996 (58.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
After all these years, I’m still on the fence about Dallas Dhu. Colour: Straw. Nose: Nice! Lemony wax, some flints, a little earth, minerals, olive oil, brown bread...pretty textbook old school ‘highland’ style malt whisky. Goes on with a little pollen, aspirin, old paper, lychee, camphor, coal hearth and fresh herbs such as parsley and marjoram. With water: now it moves more towards wildflowers, pollen, nectar and honey eau de vie. Perhaps an old hay loft as well and some oily rags. Mouth: lovely, rather fat texture. Olive oil, soot, wax, some cereals, fresh malt, a touch of runny honey, green fruit syrups and a little orange liqueur. Very pleasurable! With water: cereals, brake fluid, waxes, citrons, mustard seed and coal dust. Great! Finish: Long, earthy, waxy, honeyed and full of robust cereal and barley sugar notes. A little orangey and spicy in the aftertaste. Comments: I was anticipating Dallas Don’t, but this is quite the opposite. One of the nicest and most pleasurable Dallas Dhu’s I’ve tasted in about as long as I can remember. It’s old school but the richness of texture, waxiness and honeyed edge balance the more austere edges perfectly. Like drinking a perfect old riesling (I know I keep using that analogy for old highland malts, blame Serge and Olivier!).
SGP: 452 - 90 points.



Pittyvaich-Glenlivet 16 yo 1977/1994 (60%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)

Pittyvaich-Glenlivet 16 yo 1977/1994 (60%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
Not much to say about Pittyvaich, I’ve not had many over the years. Colour: Light amber. Nose: slightly saline at first. Notes of old Amontillado, wet earth, a rubber band, dark chocolate, hessian, crushed walnuts and some aged pinot noir. There’s also a little game, talcum powder, BBQ char and cherry heering. It veers into maraschino cherry territory as well which increases this overall impression of a decent Manhattan cocktail. Orange peel, salted liquorice and cloves should also all be noted. With water: marzipan, a little salted meat and some peanuts. Still rather big and punchy. Mouth: a rather big and earthy sherry, but it’s also clean and pleasantly fruity as well. Notes of strawberry wine, orange luxardo and walnut oil all come through. A little nougat, chocolate Brazil nuts, dunnage warehouse and cough medicine as well. With water: softer on the palate with water, some green fruit notes emerge now, along with sultans and red currants. A little raspberry jam doughnut as well. Finish: Medium-long and quite drying with lots of earth, some residual tannins, bitter chocolate and spices such as cloves and cinnamon. Comments: Very good. A big, clean, well-sherried Pittyvaich. Perfect for cold weather, comfort dramming.
SGP: 552 - 89 points.  



And one for the road...  


Port Ellen 35 yo 1978/2014 (56.5%, OB Special Releases, 14th Release, 2964 bottles)

Port Ellen 35 yo 1978/2014 (56.5%, OB Special Releases, 14th Release, 2964 bottles)
Once again, Serge has already written notes for this one, but I feel it would be a shame not to include it here. Colour: Gold. Nose: The thing that is quite striking about these older Port Ellens (and Caol Ilas as well) is the way the peat and maritime aspects intersect overtime to form this almost labyrinthian complexity. At random I get whelks, iodine, beach pebbles, creel nets, an oily peatiness, brine and dried kelp. There’s also lemon skins, wild flowers, heather, langoustines and fish sauce. Some peppery aspects, a little leathery note and some unlit cigars, then gorse and toasted poppy seeds. Really rather beautiful. With water: leafier and more earthy now with a bit of bonfire smoke, some chai tea and a few sprigs of dried dill. Mouth: natural tar, gentian, soot, kippers, brine, olive oil, myriad dried herbs, salted cod and a beautiful, undulating minerality. Preserved lemons and salted almonds with a little black olive tapenade as well. There’s also a lean meatiness as well, like a salted bacon fat note. A little smoked tea and some wasabi. With water: again it moves in an earthwards direction. Notes of flint, tea, sandalwood, coal dust and umami paste. Some black olive bread and a little rosemary. Finish: Long, resinous, coastal and citrusy with some lingering smoky notes and an ethereal peatiness. Comments: These bottlings are expensive no doubt, but they’re also quite beautiful whisky. Port Ellen seems to age spectacularly well, in my book.
SGP: 456 - 92 points.



(Big thanks to Hans, KC, Dirk and Nicolas!)  







Whiskyfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed