1) The Ladyburn distillery used to use six stainless stell washbacks.
2) The grain stills at Girvan (home to Ladybank's pot stills) went into production on Christmas day in 1963.
3) Ladyburn is among the rarest Scotch malt whiskies - although bottlings from its sister distillery Kininvie are even harder to find. That's hardly surprising - Ladyburn operated for no more than 10 years. Incidentally, the history of both distilleries is quite similar. Both were founded by WM Grant & Sons, both were not traditional malt whisky distilleries with their own sets of buildings and equipment and both were abandoned again after just a few years.
4) The last time I checked there were just a dozen different bottlings of Ladyburn on the Malt Maniacs Monitor.
5) The name 'Ayrshire' (the part of Scotland where Girvan is located) was used for some bottlings of Ladyburn.
Ladyburn 31yo 1975/2007 'Rare Ayrshire' (47.5%, Signatory, Oval, Bourbon, C#554, 165 Bts.)
Nose: Starts with with a punch. A fairly strange combination of vinegar and citrus. Some old, wet mop?
Certainly not boring. Some dry woody notes and faint garden spices like basil and rosemary perhaps?
Palate: Starts off big and round - but not to sweet. I felt that the mouth feel resembles a grain whisky.
No wait... on second thought and on closer inspection it actually seems more like an Irish whiskey.
Score: 79 points - which is just a tad disappointing, given the hefty price tag on this (admittedly beautiful) bottle.
But then again I assume that this type of bottlings is bought mostly by collectors anyway.
Ayrshire 30yo 1975/2005 (48,9%, Wilson & Morgan, Ladyburn distillery, C#3376, 223 Bts.)
Nose: Phew... Pretty unique. Very old (rotting?) leather in the nose. Rich and sweet. Menthol or eucalyptus?
Not terribly expressive at first, but it shows a lot of subtle complexities over time. Sherry. Ozone?
Taste: Very fruity overall. Some oil on the palate as well. A third try even showed more to love.
During round three (and given enough time) it climbed up further to 89 points.
Score: 89 points - one of my favourites at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2006.
Ladyburn 27yo 1973/2000 (50.4%, OB by William Grant)
Nose: Very peculiar, but not unpleasant at all. A strange combination of peanuts and cinnamon.
Taste: Pretty peculiar on the palate too. Sardines! Then lots of wood & fruit. Good mouth feel; quite 'chewy'.
Score: 82 points - not bad at all, but this was actually my least favourite Ladyburn expression for a long time.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Ladyburn 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 Ladyburn page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Ladyburn 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.)
Ladyburn (Pronounced: Just as it's written)
Ailsa Bay, Bladnoch
Closed - demolished in 1976
2 Wash stills, 2 Spirit stills
William Grant & Sons Ltd. (since 1966)
Girvan Distillery, Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
Not really, unless you count a few bottlings from 2000
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
After William Grant & Sons Ltd. built a grain distillery at
Girvan in 1963, they added another set of stills (pot stills this
time) to the complex in 1966. With these stills they produced
the 'Ladyburn' malt whisky. The main purpose of both of the
distilleries was production of whisky for the Grant's blends,
but over the years a handful of 'official' single malt whiskies
were bottled as well.
The malt whisky distillery was located in a corner of the
Girvan grain whisky distillery. The malt whisky installation
was closed again in 1975 and demolished in 1976, but the
(single) grain whisky from Girvan is still sold today under the
name Black Barrel. This makes Ladyburn (possibly) the malt
whisky distillery with the shortest history in all Scotland; it
was operational for less than a decade.
The short production history is one of the reasons that
Ladyburn is mostly of interest for malt whisky collectors.
That being said, most of the expressions I've tried so far all scored well in the 80's.
Many 'high profile' distilleries can't boast about results like these, so it would seem that Ladyburn is one of the few obscure distilleries that actually produced malt whiskies that were worth hunting down. However, bottlings are just so rare that you'll probably never find more than a dozen different expressions.
Some of those bottlings were not even bottled under the name 'Ladyburn', but under the name 'Ayrshire'
- the name of the area where the 'Girvan' distillery is located. Based on our experience so far it would seem that the bottlers Signatory Vintage and Wilson and Morgan both used this 'pseudonym' for Ladyburn.
I've sampled one expression by Italian bottler Wilson & Morgan that was released as 'Ayrshire' (this was actually my personal favourite with a score of 89 points), while Signatory Vintage releases its bottlings of Ladyburn under the 'Ayrshire' name as well.
It seems that Ladybank distillery will remain a pipe dream
forever. It was one of those schemes where 'Joe Public'
was offered the rare opportunity to invest in a brand new whisky distillery. Like many other similar schemes, the
rewards (or at least part of them) would be reaped in the form of 'free' whisky after the distillery was up & running.
Unfortunately, many of those pipe dreams remained just that...
In those cases, the investors were left behind befuddled; how could
it have gone so wrong? The site and/or brochure looked so good...
So, keep in mind that FRAUD & WHISY BLEND WELL TOGETHER!
And even if the distillery project is a success and manages to get
through the first few difficult years, investing in casks or bottles that
have not yet been produced remains a risky business. That's even
the case when you're buying future casks or bottles from a well
established distillery. The risks are even greater in the case of a
distillery that's not even be operational yet - and may never be.
Anyway - that seems to be the case with Ladybank - but Ladyburn
is an altogether different story. Nevertheless, bottles of from the
Ladyburn distillery are almost as rare as bottles from Ladybank.
Should you find an affordable bottle: that may be your only chance.
And I'm afraid that's about it as far as the history of the Ladyburn distillery goes...
But don't despair - you can read on for some trivia and a few tasting notes on the few bottlings I've sampled.
Is the distillery or