...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 3, 2015

WTF Is This? Glen Gyle 8 year old Vatted Malt Whisky

This is Glen Gyle whisky, but it is not made at Glengyle distillery.  It is instead a Loch Lomond-owned brand of vatted Highland malt whiskies.  Because Loch Lomond would not sell the brand name to Glengyle's owners once the distillery reopened, Glengyle had to name their whisky something else.  They went with Kilkerran, the name of the nearby church.  Glen Gyle is an older small sparsely distributed brand, so the Glengyle / Glen Gyle issue seems on the surface like a weird dick move on the part of Loch Lomond.  Or......did Frank McHardy and company really just want to name their whisky after a church?  If anyone knows more information about this situation, please let me know.  I'd be happy to remove my "dick move" comment if it's unwarranted.

There's almost nothing online about Glen Gyle, other than the Glengyle/Kilkerran situation.  There were a few bottles in online auctions.  There's a mostly blank page in Whiskybase.  Here are some better bottle photos.  And that's it.  There's no additional information about it in any of my whisky books.  If you know more about this whisky, please let me know and perhaps together we can fill in the blankety blanks.

I do know one thing, I'll never have the opportunity (or desire) to do three Loch Lomond products in one week again!
Sample was from this very bottle

Brand: Glen Gyle
Current Ownership: Loch Lomond Distillery Co.
Type: Scotch Vatted (or Blended) Malt
Age: 8 years
Bottling year: I'm guessing late '80s or early '90s
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(Sample purchased from Southern California Whiskey Club)

Its color is very gold considering its age, perhaps thanks to e150a?  Lots of fruit upfront in the nose: lemons, limes, and pineapple.  Then caramel and marzipan.  Gradually the esters steer towards roses and grapefruit.  Hint of hot cereal.  Also a tiny bit of blended Irish whiskey coarseness.  But overall, the whole nose is quite vivid for a 43%abv 8yo.  The palate is very sweet and malty.  Lots of lime.  Hints of peat and wood smoke.  Tannins gradually creep in, drying things out.  Vanilla and dusty sherry funk show up later on.  After a half hour, it's all bread crust, toffee, and pineapple.  In the finish it's citrus, more vanilla, and caramel.  Simple but inoffensive.  Smoke settles into the aftertaste.

Wow, that was unexpected.  I like this whisky.  I'm not sure what happened to the brand, and I seriously doubt they could get the quality whiskies they'd need for it, but if they could recreate this it would be great in the $30 range.  Loch Lomond Co. could actually have a hit on its hands.

I think there's some older stuff in the mix, maybe some old underproof sherried casks.  The subtle smoke is exactly the sort of thing I like in a number of Highland malts.  Though I remember reading somewhere that Glen Gyle contains Loch Lomond whiskies, either they're buried beneath stronger stuff or the distillery used to make better whisky than they do now.

So, if anyone out there has had Glen Gyle 8yo or knows more about it, please share in the comment section.  Thanks!

Availability - Auctions?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84


  1. I never knew this existed. I wonder if Loch Lomond is just holding onto the copyright until it expires.

    1. I'd only read about it before but yep it's real! Still don't know why Loch Lomond is holding the rights. I don't see how they profit by it. In fact I'd imagine that Springbank would have offered them cash for it.