North British 1991
Lowland Single Grain Scotch Whisky
Jointly owned by Diageo, the world's largest spirits producer, and Edrington, owner of Macallan and Highland Park, and having a production capacity of over 70 million litre. This is the North British grain distillery. Its whisky is mostly used for the owners' own blends, such as Johnny Walker (Diageo) and Famous Grouse (Edrington). Besides grain whisky, other types of alcohol are produced as well, such as certain variants of Smirnoff Wodka.
Only a tiny part of the production outturn is set aside to mature to premium grain whisky over many years. Like our cask no. 200319 from 1991. During more than 32 years, our whisky transformed from New Make Spirit into a top distillate that warrants highest enjoyment.
Back to the distillery: It is located in the west of the Scottish capital Edinburgh, where it was founded in 1885 and put into production in 1887. Except during the two world wars, the distillery was active almost at all times, however with highly fluctuating production volumes. How much the outturn was in 1991, we do not know. We do know, though, that we had the privilege in early summer 2023 to bottle just over 130 litres of the 1991 production volume in the form of a wonderful venerable single cask bottling for the enjoyment of our whisky friends.
Have a look at the Tasting Notes of whiskynotes.be: Invergordon / North British / Cameronbridge | review (whiskynotes.be)
Colour: bright shining gold.
Nose: Very fresh and present. Wild gorse and other decent floral – however not perfume – notes. Mild sandalwood. Almonds, a fair amount of coconut and some ground coffee beans. All joined by vanilla and a tropical bouquet of ripe fruits. Summer feeling for every season.
Palate: The expectations raised "on the nose" are fully confirmed on the first sip! Coconut, vanilla, gorse, sandelwood, etc. make their appearance on the palate too. Some herbs come forward as well, giving the whisky additional structure. They compete in harmony with ripe bananas, succulent mangos, fresh melons and other exotic fruits. This Single Grain is a vital expression with a velvety – almost oily – texture.
Finish: A good friend could not have said it better: "The journey with this whisky culminates in a charming bitterly finish, which grounds the tasting experience and brings back the connoisseur to reality." The bitter almonds blend deliciously with the coconuts and some floral hints. The herbs remain noticeable and are accompanied by the fresh fruits.
Verdict: This venerable Grain Whisky, despite having aged for over 32 years, showcases a surprisingly fresh, vivid and precise character, without the slightest alcoholic notes. The whisky has a pleasing complexity and takes any connoisseur on a delightful sensory journey. Starting with creamy coconut notes, over to an abundance of tropical fruits and a decent floral bouquet, and ending with bitter almonds and mild herbs.