Glen Elgin’s claim to fame is its inclusion in the historic White Horse blend, a brand that was first trademarked in 1890. But I’ve found Glen Elgin to produce a spirit that can comfortable stand on its own legs. Uncharted Whisky’s Glen Elgin 2011 11 Years (nicknamed Killer Queen) is a good example.
It’s an interesting distillery, Glen Elgin is. The stills are relatively small and their lyne arms lead into six wooden worm tubs. This kind of setup would suggest a heavy, sulphury new make, but that’s not the case. The long fermentation (anywhere between 80 and 120 hours) combined with slow distillation make for a fruity spirit with plenty of depth.
Today’s Killer Queen comes with a slight caveat. After initial maturation (in presumably ex-bourbon casks) it was finished in ex-Madeira casks. And just in case the Madeira wouldn’t have a strong enough influence on the whisky, they were small octave casks. Let’s hope the integrity of this Glen Elgin hasn’t been compromised.
Glen Elgin 2011 11 Years (53.9%, Uncharted Whisky Co., 2022)
Nose: Very subtle with light touches of orange peels, gratings of pickled lemon and whispers of peach and nectarine. Also some honey, nougat, and a sliver of ozone and chalk. Delicate stuff. Taste: An immediate sweet first impression with some lovely tart fruits. There’s orange blossom honey, pink grapefruit and tangerines, but also dark caramel and subtle oak spices. Finish: Soft rose petals, lingering caramel and oranges. Medium to long.
The finish in first-fill Madeira octave casks made me a skeptic, but it honestly turned out perfectly fine. The Glen Elgin 2011 11 Years from Uncharted Whisky Co. is a delicate balancing act – the cask influence is noticeable but complimentary and remains at bay just enough.