Glen Keith Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
By Franz Scheurer
Glen Keith is on the banks of the river Isla in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Right below its outer walls is a small waterfall plunging into a deep pool where, in spring, you can watch the salmon jump the rapids in their spawning journey upstream. The pool is aptly named ‘linne a bhradan’, the leap of the salmon.
As the name suggests the distillery is located in Keith, in the far north of Scotland, and it was the first distillery in Scotland to fire its stills with gas and to computer-control the entire operation. Until 1970 its whiskies were triple distilled, after 1970 they changed to the usual double-distil method. Originally there was also a blend Glen Keith, with the first original single malt bottling coming onto the market in late 1994 with no age designation, simply marked ‘Distilled before 1983’. The distillery was originally built by the Chivas & Glenlivet Group to satisfy the worldwide demand for brands like Chivas, Regal and Passport. The lion’s share of the distillery’s output still goes into these blends but the 10 y/o Glen Keith Single Highland Malt is now imported by Orlando Wyndham and it is available through BWS in Adelaide and most of the Vintage Cellar stores.
Glen Keith 10 y/o, 43%, $59 Score: 7.9/10
Colour: Polished pine with shades of ripe Sauternes
Nose: Alpine meadow with heather, gentian and honey with slightly buttery, almost malolactic undertones.
Palate: after a very mild start confirming the nose, it builds on the sweeter, Demerara sugar notes with vanillin and coconut wood flavours starting to kick in. There is tobacco, bacon and eggs and hints of drying grass.
Nose: tobacco flavours come to the fore
Palate: water doesn’t change the above flavour profile but does add a considerable amount of tobacco and cigar box elements.
Summary: this is a very pleasant, very balanced and fragrant whisky. It’s not too alcoholic and is dangerously easy drinking. I reckon it’s the best value Single Malt on the market in Australia at present.
Whilst having cocktails on a mountaintop on beautiful Turtle Island, watching the sun set in a pool of orange, burnt ambers and reds, I came up with a cocktail for the occasion and named it ‘The Green Turtle’. Its attraction lies in its simplicity, its clean, punchy flavours and the way it refreshes mind and body on a hot, tropical evening. Here is how it’s made:
2 standard nips of Amaretto
2 standard nips of freshly squeezed limejuice
Stirred and served over lots of ice.
Try it on a summer’s night and let me know what you think.