Tag Archive: Clan Denny


Clan Denny / Douglas Laing: North British : 1991 (Scottish Single Grain Whisky: 25 Year: 46.7% ABV)

Visual: Very pale yellowed grain. Fast thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Baileys. Orange cream to choc orange. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Water adds tannins, lemon cheesecake and menthol to grapes notes.

Body: Custard. Golden syrup. Apples. Calvados. Water adds icing sugar, lemon cheesecake, has more of a waxy and alcohol feel.

Finish: Apples. Pears. Creamy to baileys. Pear drops. Lightly waxy. Slight dry shortbread. Water adds light oak and white chocolate. More water brings out menthol notes and grapes.

Conclusion: This is a sweet and creamy one. Initially it really pushes a Baileys style – thick and creamy against young spirit style green fruit notes. There is a slight thickness to it, actually a kind of polish to wax feel that actually enhances the creaminess.

Water makes it drier and slightly spicier, but otherwise manages to marry the two sides of the neat whisky. The fruit notes become creamier in a soft lemon style over a sweet cheesecake like base, rather than the brighter green fruits of the neat spirit.

Here, with water, more of the bourbon cask influence shows, more oak, more white chocolate, all emphasising sweeter notes that makes this feel like a bright, dessert style, whisky. Adding just a drop of water does bring out more alcohol roughness, but if you can push through that, adding even more water mellows it down again and lets you enjoy the gentle lemon character.

It always keeps a touch of energy that comes from the grain spirit style, but matches it to a sweeter, gentler, dessert style which means it manages to be relaxing despite that grain energy. It feels like some thing to enjoy post meal and relax with.

A lovely bit of a dessert edged dram.

Background: One of about 300 bottles this is a single cask single grain whisky and the first of five whiskies I tried at the most recent Uber whisky tasting at Independent Spirit. Single grain gets a lot of shit as the lesser cousin of single malt, but there are some gems hidden in its depths as I have found over the years. Time will tell if this is one of them. This was aged in a refill hogshead cask. As is usual for these kind of events I was slightly distracted by the event, but still tried to do the best notes I could as who would know when I would get the chance to try whisky like this again.

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Clan Denny Girvan 1992

Clan Denny: Girvan Distillery:Vintage 1992 (Scottish Single Cask Single Grain Whisky: 21 Year: 59.6% ABV)

Visual: Quite thick viscous look in custard to gold colour.

Viscosity: Medium speed thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Caramel. Vanilla. Grain husks. Light sharp citrus notes. Custard. Sloe gin. Barley. Water makes slightly stewed fruit.

Body: Squeezed lime up front. Vanilla and custard. Warming but not burning. Cherries under cake sponge. Malt chocolate. Water removes the little alcohol presence and gives very smooth custard and toffee. Brings out apples, light cinnamon and twisted treacle.

Finish: Cherries and fruitcake. Raisins. Vanilla toffee. Light alcohol numbing. Malt chocolate and orange. Water adds cinnamon apples, but still has an alcoholic air.

Conclusion: Single grain, ok I will admit that even I take shots at single grain whisky at times. Unfairly. Well, mostly unfairly. Well, sometimes unfairly. This however puts its stall out and gives a good case for single grain whisky to exist.

For one thing it shows how with single grain the oak influence is very immediately evident, here with lots of smooth caramel, custard and vanilla flavour. Despite the abv the main body virtually never reaches that burning point where the alcohol obscures the flavour.

For another it shows a remarkable amount of depth. Neat you get a sharp lime touch on first sip, hints of dark fruit as you hold it, into a more evident fruitcake touched finish. With water the darker fruits shift and turn revealing green fruit flavours previously hidden.

It is that progression, both from sweet aroma to fruity finish, and in the progression with water, that makes it and between them it gives you a lot to examine. Now, the finish does always hold a slightly too alcoholic air for me, but for the most part it is very smooth and layered. Nothing harsh, just what I was looking for at the time.

It reminds me of blended malts in that it is very smooth, but here that single cask nature seems to present just enough of those slight odd unpolished edges that make up a charming whisky for me.

The distinguished end of easy going.

Background: Ok, Clan Denny is a name for a collection of (usually blended malt) Whiskys. Girvan is a single grain distillery. Ok, I’ve got it. This was drunk at Brewdog Bristol, recommended as something a bit different when I wanted a low peat whisky to start the day with. Now single grain and I have not got along often, but I have seen enough to know there are special grain whiskys out there. Therefore I took my pen, notebook and water and gave it a chance.

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