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Speyburn (pronounced: SPAY-burn) is sometimes considered one of those 'Glen Safe' style Speysiders that offers a house style that is a little too easy. It could also be argued that it is the epitome if classic Speyside style malt whisky. Either way the whisky it produces is of good, consistent quality and can age very well. It is also interestingly one of the few distilleries that hasn't changed too much in its history.
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Water Source: Birchfield Burn
Capacity: 2 Million Litres
Owners: Inver House
1962-Present: Honey, Cereals, Tea and Fruit.
In 1962 Speyburn converted its single pair of large stills to steam heating. Little else has changed since apart from the decommissioning of some big drum maltings a few years later. The distillery still uses traditional worm tubs even to this day and hasn't really expanded in any way since its birth. All this makes for quite comforting reading in this age of expansion and mass production.
There are not many bottlings of Speyburn around. An aged 1967/1988 by Moon Import was arguably the best of the lot with resinous, waxy, honied notes and lush green fruits. Like some of the best aged Speysiders but a little more nervous and aromatic in nature. Other notable aged examples are a pair of 1974s and a 1971 by Gordon & MacPahil, they were lighter and crisper with more spice and barley notes. Also an interestingly punchy 1975 15yo by Cadenhead's and a very good, full on, official sherry cask 1979 21yo.
The standard bottlings are generally good, although the 10yo could do with a little more inspiration perhaps. It seems that owners Inver House are using a lot of the stock for blending as they have not really done much to expand the portfolio as they have done with Old Pulteney and An Cnoc. Maybe they will in time, I hope so because Speyburn can be a very charming whisky when it wants to be.