...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Single Malt Report: Glen Keith 15 year old 1995 Signatory cask #171183

Glen Keith was 14 years dead until 2013.  Seagrams had shut down its production in 1999, then sold it to Pernod Ricard (via Chivas Regal) two years later.  During Seagrams ownership (1957-1999), the company tested out both triple distillation and peated whisky in attempts to create ingredients for its blends.  Upon its reopening under Pernod, the distillery is now loaded with new equipment which more than doubles its old capacity.  While I assume the vast majority will be headed to blends like Chivas and Ballantine's (thus with less experimentation in the works) I do hope they consider bringing an official aged single malt to the market in the next decade.  In the meantime, we must explore the independently bottled releases.

And this just happens to be another one of the Glens I haven't reviewed previously.  And another sample from Mr. Florin!

Distillery: Glen Keith
Ownership: Pernod Ricard
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Age: 15 years
Distillation year: 1995
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask#: 171183
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The color is a reassuring light amber.  The fruit basked of a nose holds bananas, apricots, pears, peaches, and apple juice.  A lot of apple juice, actually.  There's also some vanilla pudding and a hint of yeast.  The palate is a sweetie with big notes of sweet tea, honey, rock candy, and cream soda.  There are also medium notes of malt and fresh ginger.  The finish is sweet, long, and pleasant.  It has a spicy zing, that may actually be the fresh ginger.  A little bit of fruit punch in there too.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The nose is subtler.  The apple juice remains, but there's also orange candy, anise, and hints of sage and thyme.  The palate remains sugary, malty.  Lots of honey, a few flowers.  Cream soda and molasses.  The sweet and spicy finish has noticeable notes of honey and apples.

A very sweet single malt that treads the thin line of enough and too much, this Glen Keith is a knockout compared to yesterday's Glenturret, but is really just a solid low-oak sweet fruiter when compared to the rest of the single malt world.  There used to be a number of these Glen Keith Signatory single casks lingering on US retailers' shelves, but they've been mostly snapped up.  If you've opened your bottle, let me know in the comment section below what you think of it.

Availability - 
Maybe a handful of US retailers have one of these GK Signatory UCFs

Pricing - $70-$80
Rating - 84


  1. I got this in 2013 from The Party Source for $65 - a tad high at the time, partly justified by Glen Keith being hard to find. I opened it in May 2015 and enjoyed it leisurely over the next 6 months. Here were my notes:

    Nose: malty (Ovaltine), lemon drops, fresh, with some sweet bitterness; typically Speyside. It reminds me of Speyburn 10yo and the G&M Glen Grant. Also, a slight metallic/coppery edge. With time a floral element emerges (freesia, snow drops?). Flavor: clean and naked, like on the nose, with malt and lemon drops. Very pleasant and harmonious, very much what you'd expect from a Speyside whisky. Finish: a bit sharp, with a metallic tinge. The age shows in the sweetness and balance, but the new make was not totally tamed - relatively inactive cask. The 'nakedness' is quite enjoyable, but the metallic, slightly soapy element detracts somewhat from the whole. I liked it better and better on subsequent tastings. Interestingly, it improves with water - the metallic, soapy side goes away. 81pts.

    1. I went to TPS last weekend. Man, are they cleared out. They have about half the whisk(e)y selection of the average Total Wine. PIcked up some (hopefully) fun $10 bourbons and one Ben Nevis.

    2. That was one of my fears when Binny's stopped shipping for a while. It's awfully hard to support the kind of depth that TPS used to have without being able to reach a national customer base. Hopefully the KY leg rethinks its position, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

    3. How hard would it be for them to open a store across the river? Although I've never bought from an OH store.

    4. Yep. Probably the third worst state to buy whisky in, behind Utah and Pennsylvania.

  2. The notes for this are an interesting contrast to the Archives Glen Keith I tried. That one was from a bourbon barrel and was much more active, so it was on the opposite end of the spectrum and almost over-oaked. There are some other Glen Keith bourbon barrels that have been bottled and I'm curious if some of the younger ones hit the sweet spot.

    1. I think you and I found similar oak content in the Archives bottling. If you find any good Glen Keiths let me know. The sherried one at K&L looks interesting, though mostly because of the price.