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Glendullan (pronounced: glen-DULL-an) is one of those big distilleries with a small reputation, understandably this is due to lack of promotion on Diageos behalf, they use most of its massive production for blending. However it is also curious because Glendullan has a fascinating history. It is one of those Clynelishesque complexities involving two same named distilleries operating simultaneously. Glendullan 2 was constructed in 1972 right next to the original one, which was eventually closed in 1985. To make matters even more complicated spirit from the two distilleries, although obviously different, was vatted together before bottling or blending. Confused? You will be.
Stills: 3 Wash 3 Spirit
Water Source: Convall Hills
Capacity: 3.7 Million Litres
1962-1972: The Original Glendullan.
Glendullan had two brand new stills installed in 1962 and was modernised in the process with the removal of the worm tubs and conversion to steam heating. Thankfully there are bottlings from this original distillery so we have some idea of what the original distillate was like. Several 1965s by Cadenheads give a very naked take on the distillate and show it to be very herbaceous, drying, waxy and floral, very in keeping with other excellent Speyside spirits from that era. There was also a brilliant 1966 by Douglas Laing for their Platinum series. It was a little heavier with wisps of smoke, pine resin and forest flora, still very beautiful.
1972-1985: The Confusion Years.
In 1972 a second, and very modern, Glendullan distillery was constructed next door to the original one. This one was a big blending beast with six stills and the most modern equipment available. For as long as the other Glendullan distillery was alive, the makes of the two distilleries were mixed together before blending or bottling. This means that any official bottlings from this time will be a mix of both distillates and that we wont be able to tell which distillery any modern single casks came from as they were all branded Glendullan. This is frustrating to say the least. There were some very good official 12yo versions in the early 80s that may or may not have been a mix of both distilleries. They showed some wonderful herbaceous, metallic and delicately peaty qualities, which suggests they came from the original distillery. There are very few bottlings that are certainly a mix of both distilleries but there are a number of single cask bottlings that do little to betray their origins. Some aged expressions from the mid seventies and early eighties are very nice, highly drinkable examples of good, modern Speyside whisky but that could be either distillery.
1985-Present: Only The Blending Beast Remains.
After 1985 it becomes much easier as the original distillery was closed. The character of new Glendullan is classically Speyside in style, fruity, floral, soft, malty and easy drinking, although several examples do show an intriguing salty note which help to give it a little backbone and individuality. The Flora & Fauna 12yo is a good benchmark expression with further solid examples from Signatory, James MacArthur and Cadenheads.