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Glen Albyn (pronounced: glen AL-bin) was one of a trilogy of distinctive and often unusual Inverness distilleries, its siblings were Glen Mhor and Millburn. They all shared many typical similarities in that they were all very old style highlands in nature, all very difficult and unsexy...
Glen Albyn (pronounced: glen AL-bin) was one of a trilogy of distinctive and often unusual Inverness distilleries, its siblings were Glen Mhor and Millburn. They all shared many typical similarities in that they were all very old style highlands in nature, all very difficult and unsexy and all were often inconsistent. They were all also very charming because such distilleries with real personality and distinctive idiosyncrasies are fast becoming thin on the ground these days. Glen Albyn is greatly missed as a result.
Glen Albyn had its two stills converted to steam heating in 1963 although its worm tubs remained in place till its demise in 1983 which partly explains the more old-style aspects of the distillate. Glen Albyn's typical characteristics are usually lots of grassy, green notes, along with some very kirschy, eau de vie characteristics. It also frequently displays very porridgy, milky, and flinty notes with sharp minerals and white fruits. It is easily the most extreme of the Inverness trilogy and thus the most controversial, many people find it too extreme and difficult but there are some stunning examples of it. A 1963 18yo by Cadenheads was a waxy and hyper mineraled, old school stunner, full of deft fruitiness and subtle oily notes. Another 1963 21yo by G&M for Sestante was similarly stunning with lots of aromatic, old school power. More recent bottlings that have proven excellent are a 33yo 1974 by Blackadder under the Clydesdale Company label. This was a meatier and more boisterous expression. Other fine bottlings have been done by Signatory and Duncan Taylor.
It seems unlikely that there will be many more Glen Albyn's in the future. Stocks are certainly low and it seems that it is more of interest to collectors than drinkers. This is a shame, if you get a chance to try it then do because it is an extreme style of whisky that is not made anywhere in Scotland these days and one day it will be impossible to find these bottlings anymore.