Near the town of Crieff but tucked up a wee windy road the distillery of Glenturret would be impossible to find if it weren’t for all the Grouse. It is the smallest and has claim to be the oldest distillery in Scotland. Lying on the banks of the river Turret in a pretty green valley, the wafting vapours sign post the way. If they are not mashing you can always rely on the hundreds of signs to the Famous Grouse. Unfortunately this beautiful quaint little distillery has become the “home” of the Famous Grouse tourist attraction. It is also the home of the Glenturret 1997 Vintage we will sample this month.
The spirit from Glenturret makes the back bone of the Famous Grouse blends. This leaves very little left to be bottled as a single malt. As such, the lovable German bar manager informed us that it is IMPOSSIBLE to buy this whisky as a single malt outside of Scotland! IMPOSSIBLE! (Little did he know of the cunning ingenuity of the Single Malt Whisky Club.)
The Glenturret distillery is quite an experience. The stills are in immaculate condition, and the staff are very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. Tours through the distillery are very informative and give great insight into whisky production. There is a wonderful restaurant serving authentic Scottish fair, deep fried mars bars aside.
So what of the Glenturret 1997 Vintage? The first thing you will notice – it is a vintage. As you may remember from the Balblair, vintage whiskies tend to have a little more character than aged whiskies as they are from a single annual crop of barley. Being from a small distillery it is from a larger cut, which mean more feints and foreshots are taken. This means more grassy, citrusy flavours from the foreshots, but also some estery flavours (think candle wax). Aging in refill sherry hogies for 10 years, means it won’t be too woody by comparison to the Miltonduff. Sherry flavours and a redder colour than whiskies taken from bourbon barrels. Here are the official tasting notes: