Kinclaith 1965/1985 Cadenhead

The Bee Sting

Just to give you an idea how obscure this Lowlander actually is, I had been reading up on distilleries for almost two years until I finally came across a reference to this one. It took me another two before I was able to procure a miniature at an auction. And believe me, it did not come cheap!
To make it even more bitter sweet, I knew well in advance that I was not going to like it. Like that other ‘marsupial’ distillery that I still need to find, Ben Wyvis, no one shed a tear for Kinclaith when it was finally shut down in 1977 after a short run of just twenty years. Well here goes nothing, close your eyes, take a sip and hope that it will at least be a bit interesting.

distilled in 1965, matured for 20 years in a sherry wood cask, bottled in 1985 at 46% ABV by Cadenhead.

Nose: overall grassy, with grain, grain, glorious lowland grain on the nose, did we expect anything else? More? Apple skins and saw dust, with a menthol edge.

Mouth: light bodied and vegetal. Oh that alcohol still bites after all this time, like a bee sting on your tongue. This doesn’t bode well. Cheap eau-de–cologne getting accidentally sprayed in your mouth, liquid black pepper, notes of green apple, and nutmeg sprinkled tobacco leaves.

Finish: rather short and bitter, a mouthful of ashes with pepper dust.

The Verdict: on a whole interesting and original but thoroughly unpleasant. I can see a lot of similarities with a 60’s Coleburn I once tried. Though it eases the alcohol a bit, water brings little solace. It is all so odd and incomprehensible, I can’t see for the life of me how they were expecting to use this in blends, completely unmarketable. No wonder they snuffed out the life of this distillery in the mid-70’s.

Score: 66

Nose: 17

Taste: 14
Finish: 15 Balance: 20
   < 75: undrinkable, avoid at all costs
75-79: acceptable, give it a try but don't spend to much money on it
80-84: average, enjoyable whiskies mostly easy sippable entry-level single malt 
85-89: above average drams, often well aged expressions, open your wallet
90-94: excellence, sorry kids no x-mas presents this year, daddy needs this bottle
95-99: divinity, call your bank manager for another mortgage on your house