Glen Albyn 1975 26 Years Old (Rare Malts)
Inverness is one of my favourite places in the world. I go to stay there for a quick getaway almost every winter, sometimes more than once. It offers the amenities of a city (Hootananny is a must), yet the Northern Highlands and Speyside are close by. If you feel like it, even a trip to the Isle of Skye is not too much of an undertaking from Inverness.
One of the few things missing from Inverness, is a whisky distillery. Before the big whisky crisis of the 1980s, Inverness used to have three. Sadly, all of them are gone. No more Glen Mhor, Millburn and Glen Albyn. The latter of the three we’ll be tasting a whisky from today.
Glen Albyn – as well as Glen Mhor – was completely demolished to make way for superstores (sad emoji). Now all that’s left is its whisky. There’s not much of it though, if any. The most recent release registered on Whiskybase stems from 2012. I doubt if there’s a single cask left somewhere.
The rarity of Glen Albyn alone makes for an interesting tasting experience. But as we all well know (hopefully), rarity does not equal quality. The Rare Malts Selection, of which this Glen Albyn 1975 26 Years Old is a part of, has produced some gems, specifically from Brora and Clynelish, but also this superb Millburn. Will this Glen Albyn follow in their footsteps?
Glen Albyn 1975 26 Years Old (54,8%, OB ‘Rare Malts Selection’, 6.000 bts)
Nose: Starting off with glue and burlap, this definitely needs a little time to open up. Give it some time and prepare for notes of heather and subtle flower honey, with a soft acidity too. There’s some dried apricots too, as well as a thin layer of cardboard, pepper and mint. Finally some milk chocolate pudding.
Taste: Pleasant thick texture. Malty, with almonds, oak shavings and some oranges thrown in there as well. There’s a whisper of menthol and cigar tobacco, while it also has a spicy edge to it.
Finish: Lingering spices. Dry. A surprising hint of peat.
Granted, the nose is certainly interesting, as I picked up new aromas with every sniff. Nevertheless, it is quite shy, even with water. The palate is quite aggressive, making it a bit of a disappointment.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.