Glenkinchie can be found just 15 miles from Edinburgh and is one of only three distilleries currently in operation in the Lowlands region. Maybe it is this close proximity to Edinburgh and the resulting tourist trade that has allowed the distillery to survive, while so many others in the Lowlands have perished. It is owned by multi national drinks giant Diageo and is one of their 'Classic Malts'. Large amounts of Glenkinchie whisky also go into the blending of the world famous Johnnie Walker brand. This particular whisky is a limited release (only 5000 bottles) and is bottled at cask strength (58.4% ABV). It has been matured for the first 10 years in a bourbon cask and then for the next 10 years in a cask that has previously held a German brandy called Asbach.
The colour is deep gold and the intense nose is old, woody and slightly musty. The presence of the brandy is prominent with hints of fruit coming through (dried pears and apples). After five minutes or so, the nose opens up well to reveal more complexity of candied orange peel, caramel and something bitter like coffee beans. On the palate, it is full bodied, which is unusual for a Lowland whisky as they are normally very light and fresh. This one is creamy and sweet offering an obvious brandy influence mixed in with raisins, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and rich vanilla. There is a burn from the alcohol as the level is so high, so I would recommend adding water. Once I added a dash of water this becomes a very, very good whisky with the flavours and the level of alcohol becoming more balanced and it feels great in your mouth. The finish is reasonably long with just a hint of liquorice at the very end. This is a really good whisky that shows how a different cask, can influence and enhance the final product. The brandy influences are there but are not overpowering. The limited release, quality and age of this means that if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, then it will cost around £65.