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Inchgower is one of those malts who’s output goes almost solely into blends and yet has still managed to build a very respectable reputation upon a small amount of bottlings through the years. It is a robust and full bodied, often well sherried style of malt that has many aficionados. Ideal for vigorous dramming sessions where smoke, food, laughter and a late night need something thick and flavoursome to cut through to the brain and soul underneath all the revelry.
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Menduff Hills
Capacity: 2 Million Litres
1966-1980: Expansion And Blending.
Inchgower was rebuilt extensively in 1966 with a second pair of stills added and a technological update that involved the installation of condensers and steam heating. There are very few bottlings that date from before this refit. One of note is a 1959 17yo by Cadenhead’s, as expected it is a typically old style dram full of wax, hessian, lamp oil, slight medicinal peat notes and all kinds of metallic, mineral and fruit complexities. An excellent, if hard to find, example of historical Inchgower in other words.
Bottlings generally start from around the late sixties, many of them are long aged examples with the best being bottled by Douglas Laing, The Whisky Fair, Duncan Taylor and Cadenhead’s. Aged Inchgower is a spicy, thick, waxy highland style of distillate, out of bourbon or refill it can be excessively rich, oily and resinous with minerals and plenty green and garden fruit character. It is more commonly found in sherry which is usually full of dates, figs, coal, soot, minerality, resinous, tobacco and muscular sweet oak characters. It is frequently excellent at a variety of ages although it can age very well up to +/-40 years, many of the aged examples from the late sixties/early seventies are stunning with no bad examples to be found. The official Rare Malts examples from the seventies are still easy to find and are excellent benchmark naked examples of the distillate.
1980-Present: Oily, Fruity and BIG.
Yonger bottlings that hail from the 1980s onwards are also often quite stunning. Great examples are to be found from Adelphi, Jack Weiber and the SMWS. Inchgower has, surprisingly, lost none of its muscularity and punch, these mid aged bottlings are usually spicy, coastal and malty affairs with plenty orangey fruits and hints of chocolate. Thankfully they are usually pretty affordable as well.
There is a younger Flora & Fauna 14yo bottlings, this is a well sherried, clean and fulsome highlight in this series that, thankfully, remains readily available. There are few other officlal examples currently available, the Manager’s Choice bottling from 2009 was good but not exemplary. The best examples remain the independent ones but thankfully they don’t seem to be drying up anytime soon and Inchgower still seems to be an excellent distillate.