I don’t really have a feel for Glen Keith. I know, if done right, Glen Keith can be a nice, fruity whisky. But I’ve never visited the distillery, nor have I ever tasted one that really blew my socks off. I just don’t have any sort of emotional connection or past with Glen Keith.
You could argue that’s a good thing, because if I did, I would be less objective when evaluating the spirit. Which I guess is true, but that would also be a bit boring, now wouldn’t it?
I love Benromach, for instance. I have fond memories of the time I interviewed distillery manager Keith Cruickshank, after I already came away impressed during an earlier visit where I was shown around by Susan Colville. That’s a bit of an extreme example though, as I understand not everybody gets opportunities like that.
Another example might be of the time I picked up an independent Ardmore bottled exclusively for the Whisky Castle in Tomintoul. I was touring Scotland with friends at the time, had a lovely time in the shop, and then a nice bit of lunch in the adjourning cafe. Ever since, I equate Ardmore with that lovely experience.
There’s dozens of examples for other distilleries, I just don’t have one for Glen Keith. And that’s a shame. Maybe this 24-year-old bottled by Gordon & MacPhail can change that, but most likely not. A whisky has to be truly transcendent to transform what is in a way a quite lonely experience (writing tasting notes behind a desk).
Better to get a few friends together and try a Glen Keith in their company. That’ll have to wait though…
Glen Keith 1993 24 Years Old (49.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, Batch 18/078)
Nose: Fresh orchard fruits with a veneer of chalkiness and vanilla pods. There’s a hint of coconut, as well as wet limestone. Gets a little sweeter with time, think tinned pineapple. Not super complex, yet balanced and quite delicious. Taste: Nice fruitiness and sweet pastry notes. Warm and comforting. Hints of lemon peel, and a bit of thyme, although a tad too much oak. Think cloves and sawdust. Finish: Lingering oak and herbs.
The nose is lovely, the palate not completely up to par, yet still very good. Overall, a delicious offering from Gordon & MacPhail, but it doesn’t provide me with that aha moment.