Founded in 1898 by William Simpson and James Carle this distillery is today one of Diageo’s sleeping gems, well known for producing whisky for the blended market Glen Elgin is one of the distilleries that is loved by the indie bottlers and whisky lovers who know its reputation..
The capacity of this distillery is 2.7 million litres of alcohol per year, produced from the 6 stills and wormtub pairings and although the vast majority does disappear into blends there is always bottles available although not under the official distillery label.
As a distillery that is generally only available under the indie label, there does not seem to be any harm to the reputation of this liquid but instead it probably enhances it.. Why I hear you ask..
Well consider this, if this was released under the official label then we would probably be looking at expressions with a 40% abv or just above, possibly with added colour and filtered, instead we have more often than not a high Abv if not cask strength, natural colour and again more often than not a single cask !! What’s not to like there ?
Offering up bottles of whisky with the above merits does add costs though and that can put off the average buyer of whisky, i am not talking about those who buy from the supermarket for a whisky to wind away the hours, slapped in a tumbler with coke added, no these bottles are aimed at those who want to sit down with a whisky. Try to understand its story and appreciate that whisky in its unadulterated state is a beautiful thing indeed..
Colour here is not important, we understand or at least any one reading this piece should be of the understanding that colour is not such a big thing ! it might give a clue to what casks have been used and it might be an indication to age but it can very often be an indication of how liberal the company can be with E150…
I very rarely consider colour anything other than asthethics, a glance may be given but that’s about it for me, i am certainly not one who raves about colour and adds it to the reviews, its just not always relevant so don’t get too hung up over it..
So with the indies offering us natural colour and hopefully cask strength or at the very least a decent high Abv then the next important thing to consider is no chill filtering, leave those oils and fats it there, we want all those natural flavours left just where they are supposed to be, in the liquid !
Then we get to my favourite part.. Single casks, this is where things start to shine for me, i love single casks, they offer so much more, they give us a far greater story and understanding of the distilleries..
Think of it this way, each distillery is a book, each cask is a page within that book.. Read the pages and you start to learn and understand what the book is about, this translates to try enough single casks from the distillery and you will see a pattern emerging, listen to its story, read the signs it offers you and remember what you learn.. Give it a chance and the whisky might even start to talk to you ( no im not loosing it ! ) the liquid does whisper its secrets to you if you allow it to !
Bartels are an independent bottler who bottle under the Highland Laird name and are the Uk distributor for Malts of Scotland label, they also release blends under the His Excellency label which was originally first released back in 1961 but was then re released back in 2013.
Highland Laird is a label for which the bartels company release their hand picked single casks, cask strength, natural colour offerings from.
Todays review is for this stunning 2011 Glen Elgin vintage.
8 year old Glen Elgin Review
Distillery.. Glen Elgin
Age.. 8 years
Distilled.. 9th March 2011
Bottled.. 20th November 2019
Cask.. Re charred Hogshead #801801
Bottle.. 16 / 314
Nose.. Light and floral with plenty of fresh fruits. Freshly peeled apples, poached pear and a soft pineapple note lead nicely into soft honey and caramel notes, underneath these layers there can be found a subtle lemon citrus note, digestive biscuits and soft spices.
Palate.. The gentle heat and prickly pepper notes soon give way to a real fruity note that mingles so well with the sweetness from honey notes, citrus notes begin to blend into soft chocolate and lemon cheesecake flavours..
Finish.. Gentle spices and fruity..
Thoughts.. It is hard to find many faults with the indie bottlers and to be honest its becoming a market that is getting saturated with new companies starting up all the time, although competition is good it can also be detrimental. I always have a few indie bottlers that i trust without hesitation and often buy without any notion of how good that particular whisky might be, this is all down to trust.. Bartels was not one of the bottlers i had noticed in the past and that only made me the looser in this situation..
Having had the pleasure to sit down with Bartels at a recent festival and getting the opportunity to try some of the whisky, buy some of the bottles and understand more about the passion the team has i soon became intrigued enough to get some of these bottles cracked open and review the liquid..
I have already reserved a future bottling that I am already excited about and as soon as i have that you can believe a review will follow shortly after..
I would tell you to get out and buy this while you can, after all I tried it, I BOUGHT it and I loved it.. but instead I think id better give you the negative, there has to be a negative right !.. Well let me tell you this.. There is now two bottles less as another was purchased!! I also know someone else who bought one.. you have been warned..
For more information regarding Bartels whisky then check out their website Here