Glenkinchie Distillers Edition

Glenkinchie Distillers Edition: 1999 (Scotland Single Malt Lowland Whisky: 13 years: 43% Abv)

Visual: Deep yellow gold.

Viscosity: Quite thick streaks.

Nose: Fruitcake. Vanilla. Alcohol is noticable. Oak. Fudge. Not much change with water.

Body: Cherries. Vanilla toffee. Sweet lime. Alcohol. Fudge and cake sponge. Fruitcake and raisins. Water smoothes, makes soft vanilla and Madeira. Slightly spicy and with malt chocolate.

Finish: Sour black cherry. Lime. Vanilla and oak. Toffee. Raisins. Water adds malt chocolate and spicy raisins. Still slight alcohol feel.

Conclusion: Unusual barrel ageing has a way of overwhelming lighter whiskys. They can be very interesting, but they often lose what you love in the base whisky. I think that is the reason why Islay whiskys area popular choice for the stronger barrel ageing.

To a degree this one suffers from that here, there is fruitcake, Madeira and spiced raisins all coming in well, and the softer native spirit’s vanilla notes are there, but the lighter edge notes are not. What you end up with is the contradiction in terms of a weightier lowland whisky. This does not affect me that much as I was never a huge Glenkinchie fan, but it may put off enthusiasts.

It is a nice enough whisky, with the fruitcake and raisins particularly noticeable. I can definitely say that my problem is not with the quality of the flavours. For me the main problem is that what it adds makes the whisky more mainstream feeling rather than more unusual. It seems to make it more like a highland whisky, or perhaps some of the notes remind me of Aberlour from Speyside. These are not bad notes but they don’t stand out from what should be a special whisky.

On the quality side my only issue is with the alcohol burn, while not heavy it is still noticeable, even with water, and as of such is not really welcome in a lowland whisky. Or even the highland feeling one this is.

So, quality in how it is made, but it doesn’t add elements that make it special, either as a lowland whisky, or an event whisky, rather aping already well explored styles. Again, this isn’t bad, but from a Distillers Edition you expect more. Ok, but does not stand out from the pack.

Background: I forgot to check the bottling date, looking online it should be 2012, which would make it about 13 years old. Anyway, another distillers edition – I thought this was a new one, but no, seems it has been around a while. So of course I had to try it. I have a high opinion of the distillers editions. This one has spent its extra time in Amontillado casks. This was drunk in Brewdog Bristol.

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