Although Glenburgie is among the oldest of the active distilleries in Scotland it has remained out of the spotlight and as such could be considered among the "lesser known" of Speyside's distilleries. Whisky production is known to have occurred on the current site as far back as 1810, yet Glenburgie was actually opened in 1829 by William Paul who hired renowned industrial architect Charles Doig to design the distillery.
With most of its single malt production destined for Ballantine's or Old Smuggler brands of blended scotch whisky, a sighting of a Glenburgie bottling is a rare occurrence. Over it's lifetime, Glenburgie has changed hands 9 times and each owner has restricted its output to blending with only a small amount of single malt made available to independent bottlers. For a number of years Glenburgie produced 2 different styles of single malt on the same site. In 1958, then-owners Hiram Walker & Sons installed a pair of Lomond stills to produce a variant called Glencraig supposedly named after former production director Willie Craig. Until the stills were removed in 1981 Glencraig was occasionally available as a single malt but, like Glenburgie, most of the spirit was used for blending. The current owners, Pernod-Ricard (held by Chivas Brothers), expanded the distillery's annual capacity to 4.2 million litres following their acquisition in 2005.
Discovered by chance at an NB Liquor store in Rothesay, New Brunswick, it's the first bottle of Glenburgie I've ever seen. This 10 year old expression was matured in refill sherry hogsheads and first fill sherry butts and bottled at 40% ABV by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail.
Nose: Aromas of apples, lemon peel and berry compote atop vanilla cake accompanied by light herbal tones and wood shavings.
Palate: Soft yet oily texture with a slightly grassy and malted sweetness alongside mixed berry jam, and coconut.
Finish: Off dry, relatively brief and showing cooked fruit, a dusting of cocoa powder, with a twist of citrus at the end.
Overall: A lovely dram from start to finish; this is so easy to drink. Reminiscent of re-fill sherried Glen Elgin, Glen Grant, or even Tomintoul, this 10 year old expression is a remarkably smooth aperitif style whisky with rich, almost chewy, fruit flavours. Simply gorgeous and its quick finish compels me back to the glass for more. A tremendous value at $47.29. If you should come across this one in your travels, pick it up. And hey, if it's not your kind of dram, I'll come by and help out.