Glenburgie (Pronounced: glenBURgee)
57°37'19.7256 N, 3°31'3.6264 W
Benromach, Dallas Dhu, Glen Moray, Miltonduff
1829 (although an all new distillery was built in 2004)
3 Wash stills, 3 Spirit stills
4,200,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Pernod Ricard > Allied (Domecq) (since 2005)
Alves, Near Forres, Morayshire
+441343 850 258
Hardly, although G&M made some 'licensed' bottlings
Below, on Whiskyfun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
1) Most of the Glenburgie malt whisky is used for blends like Ballantine's and Old Smuggler.
2) Glenburgie is located not far from Forres is the village of Alves.
The town is famous as the location of Knock Hill where Macbeth is said to have met 'the weird sisters'.
3) Glenburgie was officially founded in 1829 - but there are indications that a distillery existed on the site by 1810.
4) The Glencraig malt whisky that was produced in the Lomond stills at Glenburgie was named after Willie Craig, a former production director at Hiram Walker. Because the Glencraig spirit from the Lomond stills had to be kept apart from the Glenburgie spirit, the distillery had two separate spirit safes and spirit receiving vessels. This was a fairly unuasual set-up, making Glenburgie one of the few small malt whisky distilleries with double equipment.
5) The malted barley was ground in a Porteous mill during the 1990's. At the mashing stage, four 'waters' are applied instead of the usual three - or at least this was the case in the 1990's. The first water was pumped into the mash tun at 63.5 degrees Celcius. The second water is added at 95 degrees Celcius and the two final waters raise the temperature to boiling point.
6) Glenburgie was totally rebuilt by Allied Distillers in 2003 and 2004 before the distillery was sold to Pernod Ricard.
One might even say that an all new whisky distillery was constructed on the grounds of the old Glenburgie distillery. Chivas Brothers subsequently expanded Glenburgie further.
Glenburgie 26yo 1983/2010 (54.7%, Signatory Vintage C/S Collection, Hogshead, C#9811, 184 Bts.)
Nose: Initially not very expressive, but it starts to show a faint sweetness after a few minutes. Taugeh?
It mellows out with more air - and then further when I diluted it to +/- 46% ABV. Some spices later on.
Taste: An explosion of passion fruits opens up into a more generic fruity centre. Drinkable at C/S. Bitter finish.
Score: 85 points - this benefits greatly from a splash of water; neat it scored only +/- 82 points.
Glenburgie 10yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail 'OB', Bottled circa 2004)
Nose: Oily with a hint of antiquity (?). A weird one. Hard boiled egg white. Madeira. Sour cream. Subtle smoke.
Taste: Phew!!! Herbal and very bitter. It loses many points here. This is a malt for sniffing, not for drinking.
Score: 70 points - although I should point out that the nose alone would have put it well in the 80's...
Glenburgie 13yo 1990/2003 (57.9%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Reserve', Cask #12510)
Nose: Loads of lovely sherry notes in the nose. Sweetness and fruits. Recommendable!
Not as sharp as you's expect at this strength. My kind of malt, needless to say.
Taste: Sherry as well, but it's not as obvious as in the nose. All in all very nicely balanced.
Score: 84 points - it lacks that little bit of extra personality it needs to reach the upper 80's.
Glenburgie-Glenlivet 16yo 1985/2001 (59.6%, Cadenhead's, 18.75cl)
Nose: Round & fruity with a solid base. Very pleasant. Classic example of a good malt whisky.
Taste: Potent and malty at c/s, but a little nondescript. One of the better 'MOTR' malts I've tried.
Score: 85 points - I usually like my malts a little more 'opinionated' but this is an excellent malt whisky.
Glenburgie 8yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Bottled +/- 1999, 5cl)
Nose: Sweet and creamy at first, with surprising smoke, organics and peat after a while.
After yet some more time it becomes distinctly sherried. Pears? Garlic? A very funny whisky.
Taste: Flat start, but it rounds out quite nicely in the center with malty and nutty notes.
Some smoke as well. Rather unique, actually! I wouldn't call it 'good', but I wasn't bored.
Score: 76 points - sure, it has flaws, but it packs a surprising coastal punch for an 8yo Speysider.
Glenburgie 8yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail 'OB', code IC/DAH, Bottled +/- 1993, 70cl)
Nose: Sweet and fresh, surprisingly expressive at 40%. Menthos? Some 'veggy' notes as well.
Over time 'veggy' evolves in the direction of organics; quite lovely! Vegetal notes remain prominent.
Taste: That's too bad - there's little beneath the smoothness at first. Later burnt coffee bitterness.
A hint of soap perhaps? A little uneven, but definitely not boring. More interesting than I expected.
Score: 77 points - not really my style, but a very enjoyable nose. MUCH better than the 1997 bottling.
Glenburgie 1948-1961/1981 'Special Vatting' (40%, Gordon & MacPhail)
(Series of bottlings released in 1981 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana).
Nose: Big, sweet and round with pickles and organics. Complex and quite punchy at just 40%.
Taste: the 'antiquity' was very obvious. Some delicate smoke and a fairly bitter finish.
Score: 87 points - in the same range as the scores from the other maniacs.
Glenburgie 5yo (40%, OB, Bottled Late 1960's, Italy)
Nose: Apple, hint of beer and chartreuse... Some sweetness, growing lighter and herbal over time.
Taste: A little flat, but pleasant enough. Round, smooth centre, growing woody towards the finish.
Score: 78 points - above average, but not much more. I didn't notice any obvious 'old bottle effect'.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glenburgie Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Glenburgie page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the hundreds of Glenburgie expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.)
2002 - A 15 years old official bottling of Glenburgie is released.
2003 - The old Glenburgie distillery is demolished and construction starts on a brand new complex.
The reconstruction costs more than 4 million GBP. Except for the four stills, most of the equipment is brand new.
The refurbishment is finished in 2004; the only remaining old building at the distillery is the customs house.
2005 - Pernod Ricard / Chivas Brothers become the new owners of the brand new Glenburgie malt whisky distillery through the acquisition of of drinks conglomerate Allied Domecq.
2006 - Two extra stills are installed, bringing the total number of stills to six (three wash, three spirit).
The maximum production capacity is increased from 2,800,000 litres of pure alcohol per year to 4,200,000 litres.
One could even argue that the new Glenburgie distillery has little to do with the old one...
The distillery was acquired in the 1930's by Hiram Waker and Gooderham & Worts Ltd. Glenburgie is one of those obscure distilleries that produces a malt whisky that is used almost exclusively in blends, in this case mostly Ballantine's. Not too interesting so far, is it? But there is something else that sets Glenburgie apart from most other obscure 'production facilities' in Scotland; its history with Lomond stills. In 1958 two so-called 'Lomond Stills' were installed and used to produce a special malt under the name 'Glencraig'.
This pair of Lomond stills was removed again in 1981 to make room for a second pair of normal 'neck' stills, so Glencraig was produced for no longer than two decades. Chapter 4 of the Beginner's Guide provides some backgrounds on the difference between normal 'swan neck' stills and 'Lomond' stills. Vestiges of the original offices and warehouses have survived the successive reconstructions, but the floor maltings were closed in 1958, just when the new Lomond stills for Glencraig were installed.
Although it seems that Glenburgie itself was also closed in 2000, I understand that
the distillery is in production again and blooming. And even though bottlings are still
quite rare (most of the Glenburgie malt whisky is used for blends like Ballantine's and
Old Smuggler) they are not nearly as rare as Glencraig - the whisky that was distilled
in the 'Lomond Stills' at the premises until 1981. Bottler Gordon & MacPhail has issued
fresh bottlings of Glencraig fairly regularly in the past, but that's likely to decrease.
So, Glencraig was produced for a little over two decades; between 1958 and 1981.
Meanwhile, there had been other changes in ownership. Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd.
that owned Glenburgie since 1937 had evolved into Hiram Walker-Gooderham & Worts Ltd.
over the years. This company was acquired by Allied-Lyons in 1987, and so was Pedro Domecq
a few years later in 1994. Soon afterwards the company began trading as Allied Domecq plc.
Allied Domecq (and therefor Glenburgie distillery) is owned by Pernod Ricard since 2005.
Water has often been in short supply at Glenburgie. Attempts were made to find extra sources
by sinking boreholes but without any significant success. There has been an improvement in the
situation though - nowadays the cooling water from the distillation process is retained and
pumped back into the distillery dam for continuous recycling or to the cooling tower for storage.
This helps alleviate Glenburgie's water supply problems and is friendlier for the environment too.
The Glenburgie distillery (also known as Glenburgie-Glenlivet and
Glen Burgie / Glenburry) started production under the name Kilnflat
in 1829. Well, at least officially - rumour has it that Glenburgie distillery
was founded almost two decades earlier in 1810 by one William Paul.
The 'Glencraig' malt whisky has been produced at Glenburgie as well.
After being closed in or around 1870 it was revived again in 1878 by
Charles Kay under the name Glenburgie. There were other changes
in ownership in the 1880's before Glenburgie was enlarged in 1890.
The history remained dodgy for four more decades; incorporated as
a limited company in 1895, liquidated in 1925 and finally silent from
1927 to 1935. Well, not quite that 'finally', obviously...
can be made
even more enjoyable by doing
this in the company of others.
And while you are drinking the
whisky, your enjoyment can be
enhanced further by a good
conversation, preferably about
a suitable topic - like whisky.
And when you're talking about
whisky, nothing quite rises the
spirits like a fundamentalistic
debate about what makes a
distillery: the copper pot stills
or a set of buildings . If you'd
be inclined to go for the 2nd
option, Glenburgie distillery
was founded in 2004 when a
brand new building was built.
the picture above shows the new '2004' buildings, the picture at the very top of this page shows the old buildings.
Is the distillery or