By Kurt Maitland
Glenkinchie another member of Diageo’s Classic Malts series, last covered on this website with the better known Lagavulin 16 Year Old. With the closure/mothballing of Rosebank in 1993, it became one of the few surviving Lowland distilleries in Scotland, and can be found in the farmland 15 miles outside of Edinburgh, near the village of Pencaitland.
The Glenkinchie label was not well known until 1989, when United Distillers (now Diageo) started marketing it under the Classic Malts brand. Some wondered why Glenkinchie was chosen to instead of Rosebank, which was the better known distillery at the time. While Glenkinchie has always operated with just two stills, they are some of the largest stills in Scotland. I think the distillery’s greater production capability made the choice, both for use in the Classic Malts series and for closure, easy for Diageo, as they would have had to spend a considerable amount to get Rosebank up to the same capacity as Glenkinchie.
Nose: Light and fruity with barley, Lowland grass, crisp apple and a bit of cocoa.
Taste: Bottled at 43% abv, the texture of this whisky Smooth then quickly turns a bit spicy and astringent. A little more burn than one might expect, and it packs more cocoa and malted barley on the tongue than on the nose. It’s almost as if the fruit and cocoa switch their pole positions. That said, I get a citrus note intertwined with the pepper of the finish. This expression is still light and sweet, making it an excellent intro to a Diageo single malt and a good starter before you get into meatier, more complex Diageo releases like the Mortlach or a Clynelish or a sherry bomb like a Glendronach.
The water makes this release a bit sweeter at first but then lengthens and mutes the spicy finish.
Finish: The fruit shifts into a lemony citrus tail that is dry, spicy and semi-sweet.
To me is a nice, straightforward relaxing dram. A “sipper” that you would have no problem coming home from work and having a nip of. It’s not complex but it doesn’t need to be. Its simplicity is a strength.
This release is usually in the $50 range. That said I’ve occasionally seen it in the mid to high $40 range. Over in the UK, £35 is the norm.