By Richard Thomas
What is Kininvie, I hear you ask? That is a reasonable enough question because heretofore they have only gotten the barest ends of their toes into the single malt game, and if you are a distillery in Scotland you are known to the general drinking public by your single malts and only your single malts.
Kininvie was built by William Grant & Sons to ease production strain on Glenfiddich, the biggest malt distillery in Scotland. Among the meaner variety of Scotch snob, the place is often dismissed as a bunch of pot stills in a shed. On top of being relatively unknown, Kininvie is also one of the younger distilleries in Scotland, having begun production in 1990 (the Kininvie 23 year old is drawn from the oldest stock the distillery has).
It’s adjacent to the more famous Balvenie, and contrary to what the aforementioned mean-spirited snobs say, Kininvie is a fully functioning facility, sharing only a grain mill with its neighbor. If you have encountered malt from Kininvie, it was probably either in the cheapo Clan MacGregor blend or in the Monkey Shoulder triple malt.
This Kininvie 17 year old is bottled at 42.6% abv, and represents a marriage of 4/5 ex-bourbon and 1/5 ex-sherry malt whisky. The color is solid gold, with a nice luster to it. The nose is very aromatic, wafting up out of the glass with an easy grace, carrying a scent of sweet cookie spice, butter, and peppery wood in a balanced row.
The flavor has a silky texture, delivering sweet tobacco spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and backed by that toasty, dry wood. Towards the end a trace of ash appears. The finish follows that tobacco note, leading into a long, warm wind-down and a sweet, spicy afterglow.
Initially, the Kininvie 17 Year Old was only released as a travel retail item for Taipei’s airport, and at that time pricing data was not available. What is known is that it comes in 375 ml, half-sized bottles.