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Glenturret

Glenturret

Glenturret (pronounced: glen-TUR-et) is a distillery that needs to be taken down a peg or two in my book. Firstly in relation to its nonsense claims about being the oldest distillery in Scotland, it was built in 1958 on the site of the old Hosh distillery that was founded in 1775, for some reason then choose to neglect this information on their labels. Secondly for the outrageous pricing of some of their bottlings a few years ago, £80 for an 8yo whisky? Anyway, that’s enough negativity, when it comes down to it it’s the whisky that matters and Glenturret is often a fine dram.

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Glenturret Distillery

Founded: 1959 (Hosh distillery founded in 1775)
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Water Source: Loch Turret
Capacity: 340,000 Litres
Owners: Edrington Group

1959-Present: A Simple Life

When Glenturret was constructed in 1958 it was a simple affair, two stills, both with condensers and seam heating as befitted a modern operation. Little has changed since, except the distillate itself, which is to be expected. Although they started off distilling in much the same manner as they do today there have inevitably been changes that affect the character of the whisky, particularly in the area of yeast strains and fermentations. As the industry grew massively from the late sixties throughout the seventies, mass production became the norm and more powerful strains of distillers yeast were developed that would give desired alcohol levels much quicker. These yeast strains quickly became more popular than the bakers and brewers varieties that had been used before and trickled down from the big blending monsters at the top of the industry to the smaller operations like Glenturret as well. The cumulative effect was that whisky got less fruity as stronger, more active fermentations led to less esters and acidic compounds in the wash and that meant less fruity precursors in the distillate. These kinds of small but important changes are easily noted at distilleries like Glenturret where the rest of the production process remained more 'static’.

The character of Glenturret has been somewhat divisive over the years, it can have quite an 'extreme’ profile. Very oily and grainy, which in itself is rare combination in a whisky. Also some disjointed fruit in earlier bottlings. Most examples are also quite sweet with porridgy and vegetal notes in abundance. If you are not so interested in eccentric malts then the botltings that hail from the early 1990s onwards are your best bet as they show much more classical and structured profiles, sweet and compact with soft fruits and elegant cereal/honey notes. The bottlings from the 80s and backwards tend to be more inconsistent and wacky although 1972 was an excellent year with several great offical expressions hailing from then. Typically they are waxy, fruity and aromatic with very fragrant notes of rosewater, paraffin and dried herbs. Very interesting whiskies if you get a chance to try them.

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