...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Inverleven 1991-2010 Gordon & MacPhail

Inverleven? Yeah, Inverleven. What the hell, why not. My first, and probably last, Inverleven review.

Dumbarton distillery, or the Brick Behemoth by the Beach (can I copyright this?), was assembled by Hiram Walker & Co. during wartime (1938) because soldiers need their whisky or acetate, or both simultaneously. There was a column still for Dumbarton grain whisky, a pot still for Inverleven single malt and a Lomond still for fun.

The Inverleven section of the distillery was closed in 1991, while the rest of the facility was retired in 2003. The Lomond still (pot still + rectifier plates) is now parked in Bruichladdich distillery, where it farts out gin.

Not much Inverleven whisky out there. Most of it was released by Duncan Taylor, SMWS and Gordon & MacPhail. In fact, G&M cranked out five batches of the 1991 vintage. This was the only one that was bottled above 40%. In fact this is one was a single cask, bottled for The Party Source, back when that place was truly the whisky source.

See those last two sentences there? That's what I thought I was going to be tasting. Then I did the tasting and something didn't seem right. Then I actually looked my sample label and looked at the actual bottles online, realizing that I'd tasted this 40%abv Inverleven and not this 46%abv Inverleven.

Yes, I originally spelled it "Interleven"
on the label.
Distillery: Dumbarton
Brand: Inverleven
Ownership: Chivas Regal, at time of distillation
Region: At the top of the Lowlands
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Age: 18ish years (1991-2010)
Maturation: likely American oak
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Colorant added? Probably
(Sample comes from a whisky event)

The nose starts with black licorice, cardboard and chlorine. And that's it, for a while. Gradually, notes of nectarines and vanilla show up. Then roasted cashews and pecans. White bread. The palate begins very metallic and industrial. Then burlap, Werther's Originals and spoiled milk. The mouthfeel is very watery. Maybe the thinnest 46%abv whisky I've ever tried. [Ed. Because it's not 46%abv, you idiot.] It finishes with metal and spoiled milk. Vanilla and Werther's Originals.

DILUTED TO 40%abv, or <1tsp water per 30mL whisky
Or so I thought.
This was the actual dilution:
DILUTED TO <35%abv, or <1tsp water per 30mL whisky
Old milk, lemonade, vanilla and cardboard in the nose. Somehow the palate is thinner. [Ed. Imagine that.] Caramel and Loch Lomond-esque funk. Black pepper. Late sweetness. Very watery. The finish is sour and peppery. Notebook paper. It's slightly bitter, with an odd sweetness.

This whisky lands right where C-grades and D-grades meet. The palate's industrial side and the nose's occasional charm pull it up a few points. But its thinness and papery notes and spoiled milk drag it down. In any case, don't add water. There's too much of Loch Lomond or Chapelton Spring in it already. At least the secondary market hasn't gotten the hots for this bottle. Yet.

Availability - Auctions
Pricing - €100ish
Rating - 71