1) Glentauchers malt whisky is said to be a key component of the Ballantine's and Teacher's blends.
2) Buchanan's first brand was Buchanan Blend - which became eventually known as Black & White.
3) Glentauchers is one of almost two dozen malt whisky distilleries that were founded over a century ago during the 'whisky boom' of the late 19th century and which have managed to survive until this day. The other survivors include Aberfeldy, Ardmore, Aultmore, Balvenie, Benriach, Benromach, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes, Knockandu, Knockdhu, Longmorn, Tamdhu and Tomatin.
4) Two other distilleries that experimented with the production of a silent malt (malt whisky from column stills) were Convalmore (also in Speyside) and the Lochruan distillery in Campbeltown that closed down in the 1920's.
5) The Glentauchers malt whisky distillery is used as a training distillery for the Allied / Chivas group.
(Meanwhile, the defunct Glen Keith distillery was used as a laboratory for the Chivas group.)
Glentauchers 10yo 2000/2011 (46%, Aberdeen Distillers / Blackadder, C#ABD1010, 360 Bts.)
Nose: Starts off floral, but moves in a farmier and veggier direction after a few seconds. Hint of lime?
Opens up after some breathing, but doesn't really develop in a particular direction. A lot happening though.
Taste: Oy... Pine and menthol - and that's not something I'm particularly fond of in my whiskies...
Young, sappy tannins. A mouth feel that reminded me of absinth. An altogether 'green' whisky.
Score: 75 points - certainly not boring, but like many modern young malts the finish is too dry for me.
Glentauchers 16yo 1990/2007 (46%, Duncan Taylor NC2)
Nose: Starts off fairly sharp and prickly. Hint of aceton? A very 'clean' malt.
Some vanilla sweetness and spices emerge , but it remains very subdued.
Taste: Very little sweetness and it drops off in the centre. Weak, woody finish.
The finish lacks the sweetness you usually get from a (fresh) sherry cask.
Score: 74 points - another one for the 'bourbon wood' crowd.
Glentauchers 14yo 1990/2005 (58.5%, Adelphi, Cask #14429)
Nose: very subtle at first. It gained some momentum over time but never really reached my heart.
Maybe that's partly because I needed to focus on deciphering the extremely fine print on the Adelphi labels.
Granted, the bottles are very attractive - but the designer seems to be more interested in a pretty label.
Taste: Meanwhile, it performed fairly well on the palate (sweet and hot with a hint of pine).
This finally brings the score into 'average' territory with a score of 70 points.
Score: 70 points - a nice whisky that lacks some personality.
Glentauchers 14yo 1990/2004 (46%, G&M 'Reserve', Cask #14516)
Nose: It's quite solid and malty in the nose with a little more substance than most 'old school' CC bottlings.
Malty with faint hints of smoke and lemon.
Taste: Quite solid and malty on the palate as well. Maybe still just a tad 'MOTR'.
At 46% it feels much bigger that the average CC at 40%. Quite dry in the finish with a touch of bitterness.
Score: 82 points - although I couldn't find anything that really stands out this time.
Glentauchers 13yo 1990 (59.2%, James MacArthur)
Nose: Sorrel? Lots of farmy notes in the start, growing nuttier and sweeter. Surprisingly complex.
Hint of 'bad breath' and some metallic overtones. Spices too. 'Menthos' sweets. Very interesting.
It keeps developing too, even before I added water. In fact, I think water didn't improve the whisky
Taste: Phew.... Quite harsh - even considering it's bottled at almost 60% ABV. No sweetness whatsoever.
That's too bad. I would have expected much more finesse after the beautiful nose. Aspirin bitter finish.
Sometimes it's a trade-off, and in this case it's a whisky best for nosing, not so much for drinking.
Score: 74 points - but in this case the taste pulled it decisively from the upper 80's.
The nose is exquisite, but the finish is too bitter to score above average.
Glentauchers 12yo 1990 (46%, Whisky Galore)
Nose: A very distinctive buttermilk aroma, but not much else. Gooseberries? Some spices.
Very hard to describe. Developing organics. Almost 'sweaty'. Entertaining development.
Taste: Smooth start, quickly followed by a pleasant malty centre. Hint of chloride?
Some menthol & something 'veggy'. Loses a few points on the palate.
Score: 79 points - pretty decent; it seems Duncan Taylor owns quite a few 1990 casks...
Glentauchers-Glenlivet 24yo 1977/2001 (57.5%, Cadenhead's, Bourbon Hogshead, 276 Bottles)
Nose: Polished, but a little middle-of-the-road. Rum. Opens up very nicely, though.
First more spices and organics emerge, followed by more fruits and flowers. Nice!
Taste: Very pleasant. Not very outspoken, but it has a charming liquorice side to it.
Score: 84 points - This is almost getting boring: it's the best Glentauchers I 'ever' had.
Glentauchers 1979/1998 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, bottled 1998)
Nose: Quite soft. Citrussy. Chemical fruity sweetness.
A little nutty. Hint of peat in the background. Disinfectant?
Taste: Fairly simple and a little bland. Sweet and malty. Dry burn.
The finish is more interesting and lasts for quite a while. Good mouth feel.
Conclusion: 76 points - not very impressive for a malt this old; it lacks complexity.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glentauchers 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 Glentauchers page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the hundreds of Glentauchers 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.)
Glentauchers (Pronounced: glen-TOCH-ers)
57°32'3.912 N, 3°3'1.0584 W
Strathisla, Strathmill, Glen Keith, Craigellachie
Active (mothballed between 1985 and 1992)
Rosarie Burn (via a large reservoir)
3 Wash stills, 3 Spirit stills
4,500,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Pernod Ricard > Allied (Domecq) (since 1989)
Mulben, Keith AB55 6YL, Scotland, UK
Below, on Whiskyfun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
2000 - During the 1990's the only semi-official bottlings of Glentauchers were released by Gordon & MacPhail.
In 2000 the owners at the time (Allied) released their own 15 years old official bottling of Glentauchers.
2005 - Pernod Ricard (through their subsidiary Chivas Brothers) become the new owners of Glentauchers.
2006 - two brand new spirit receivers are added to the distillery equipment of Glentauchers. All three pairs of stills used to share the same low winers and spirit receiver; now every pair of stills has their own spirit receiver.
2007 - A stainless steel full lauter mash tun with a capacity of 12 tonnes is installed at Glentauchers.
distillery was founded during the height of the
'Pattison Crisis' at the end of the 19th century. Unlike many other
distilleries that were founded around the time, they have managed
to survive until this day. Nevertheless, the 'brand' is fairly obscure; Glentauchers has always been used almost exclusively for blending.
Glentauchers was built in 1989 by James Buchanan
(creator of the
famous 'Black & White' and 'Buchanan' blends) and whisky trader
W. P Lowrie from Glasgow. Buchanan's is said to contain almost 50
percent malt whisky, most of it from the Dalwhinnie distillery. Within
a few years W. P. Lowrie was confronted with financial problems
and eventually Buchanan gained control of the entire operation.
Construction at Glentauchers started on May 29th 1897 at Tauchers Farm. The founders chose this
location because of the accessible road in front of the new distillery and a nearby railroad network. The
construction of a railway siding at the back of the distillery building enabled fast, cheap transportation
of goods and supplies. These days the railway siding is no longer used, but I can imagine a situation
where the costs of railroad transport becomes competitive again. After all, as oil and gasoline prices
grow, the rising costs of transportation will be reflected in higher prices for the malt whisky consumers.
What's more, transportation via railroad is environmentally friendlier...
Glentauchers was extensively remodelled in the 1920's and (after the original turbine was replaced with a steam engine in 1995) electricity was installed in 1958. The distillery was rebuilt in 1965.
At the same time the number of stills was expanded from two to six, and four years later the floor maltings at Glentauchers were closed. The distillery was mothballed in the 1985 by DCL before it was acquired and reopened by Caledonian Malt Whisky Distillers (a subsidiary of Allied Distillers) at the end of the decade. The production of malt whisky at Glentauchers resumed in 1992.
In 2005 Pernod Ricard / Chivas Brothers became the new owners of the distillery.
Glentauchers is still rarely seen as a single malt, which means that the majority
of the malt whisky that's produced at the distillery is still used for blends. That
doesn't mean that Glentauchers can't ever be found as a single malt though; in
the 1990's Gordon & MacPhail managed to release some semi-official bottlings.
The Glentauchers distillery was designed by John Alcock, a local architect from Keith.
The work was carried out under the supervision Charles Doig & Son of Elgin, the famous architect
firm that was involved with the construction of dozens of other distilleries in Scotland. It took circa
twelve months to build and fully install the Glentauchers distillery. The malting of the first barley
began in May 1898 and the first mashing took place in June of the same year. With the distillery
finished within a year, everything looked promising - but then the Pattison Whisky Crisis occurred.
Many distilleries suffered when the bubble burst, but Glentauchers escaped relatively unscathed.
Glentauchers is located on the road to Craigellachie
distillery, on the edge of the Craigellachie Forest and
some four miles from Keith. It's nearby the majority
of the central Speyside distilleries, a tad to the East.
The distillery is quite interesting from a technical point of view; before World War I, Glentauchers experimented with continuous production of malt whisky. At some point they left this path again and focused on the 'regular' production of malt whisky. A few other distilleries in Scotland were involved with similar experiments in the past, but these days there's a clear distinction between malt whisky (produced in pot stills) and grain whisky.
Glentauchers was an important distillery in the 'stable' of James Buchanan & Co. - the company that was an important part of Distillers Company Limited (DCL) when it was founded in 1925. The distillery was then passed on to DCL subsidiary SMD (Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd.). DCL was later acquired by Guinness, forming United Distillers, which later became part of Diageo. Glentauchers is now owned by Pernod Ricard.
Is the distillery or