Glenury Royal Distillery
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Glenury Royal is another of these lamented closed distilleries that did not survive Diageo’s purges in the 1980s. Many of these closed distilleries were much more eccentric in nature, for example Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor, a fact which probably contributed to the decision to close them. However, Glenury was one of the more consistent of these distillates, old school in nature but still occasionally a difficult distillate, it has many fans that mourn its loss. There have been a surprising number of bottlings in recent years, although this is doubtless a very temporary phenomena. Many have been excellent so it would seem that now is the time to try Glenury, a last gasp before it disappears down the plughole of overpricing forever.
1960-1985: Expansion The Death
Glenury was refurbished at several points throughout the sixties. It started in 1962 with the switch from direct firing, in 1962, to internal steam heating. This was followed in 1965/66 by a vast reconstruction that added a second pair of stills and converted all the worm tubs to modern condensers. Finally, in 1968, the floor maltings were closed and Glenury’s transformation into a modern distilling 'plant’ were complete.
The oldest examples of Glenury generally hail from the mid-late sixties. Although Diageo launched a 50yo a number of years back, however this was excessively tannic and had probably been a little 'overcooked ' in its sherry cask. Much better was the glorious official 36yo 1968, this was a big oily, resinous, minty and fruit laden dram with little phenols wrapped up in plenty wax and mineral notes. This is a profile very typical of Glenury from the late sixties to the mid seventies. Other great bottlings are a 1964 and a 1966 in the Cadenhead’s dumpy series, there are just as fantastic and old school as you would expect such bottlings to be. A 1973 by The Whisky Agency was super-fruity and out of this world, easily one of the best Glenurys ever bottled. Similarly Blackadder have bottled two stunning 1973s, one at 30yo and the best one at 36yo. Glenury was also one of the few sherried examples to appear in the Rare Malts series, the 1970 29yo is a herbaceous, waxy, mineraled sherry stunner. These are all stellar bottings of old style highland whisky from a tragically lost distillery so you shouldn’t need me to tell you to go out and get them if the opportunity presents itself.
Later distillations from the late seventies up to closure were more austere in character, more grassy, lemony, flinty and very much in the style of these early 80s Diageo distillations, like with St Magdalene, Millburn and Banff. Excellent examples can be found from Duncan Taylor and Signatory.
Bottlings of Glenury are certain to start drying up very soon, they were scarce for a long time until a couple of years ago. The latter distillation may well age to the same perfection as the early seventies examples but if there are any left to bottle by that time they will probably be out of our collective pockets range. Another criminally lost distillery, as with all these closed eccentrics, try it while you still can.