One of the few remaining Lowland distilleries, Glenkinchie’s rural location amid fields of barley, just twenty miles from the hustle and bustle of the capital, makes this “The Edinburgh Malt”.
This is rolling farm country, perfect for growing barley and described by Robert Burns as "the most glorious corn country I have ever seen".
Founded in 1825, the distillery was later purchased and restored by an association of whisky merchants and blenders from Edinburgh in the 1890s. It took ten years but the result was the Victorian distillery that we know today, with its characteristic red-brick buildings, houses for workers and even its own bowling green.
Glenkinchie's light character is borne from its distillation in some of Scotland’s largest stills; matured for 12 years, the result is a light, floral whisky with a fresh, creamy taste.
“Sweet and creamy with a lightly aromatic edge.” Dave Broom, whisky writer and expert.
With just two Lowland distilleries left in production, Glenkinchie single malt whisky is the undisputed champion of the light Lowland style. With its interesting visitor centre and charming setting, this also makes an ideal first distillery visit for today's tourists. With more than 40,000 of them visiting each year, Glenkinchie remains at the centre of Edinburgh life.
South and East of Edinburgh, where the high, green Lammermuir Hills begin to roll more gently north towards the Firth of Forth, lies the farming country of East Lothian.
Acres of barley grow in this "Garden of Scotland", in fields fed by water softly flowing down from the hills.
This golden barley became destined for Glenkinchie Distillery when, in 1837, local farmers John and George Rate were to become the first recorded licence holders. They ceased production at Glenkinchie in 1853 but the premises were opened again in 1890 when a consortium of wine merchants and blenders from Edinburgh and Leith reformed the Glenkinchie Distillery Co. Ltd.
Glenkinchie was finally rebuilt in the 1890s as the model Victorian distillery village we know today – with its distinctive red brick buildings, houses for workers and even a bowling green.
Tradition has its place here; for example, six wooden washbacks are still used for fermentation, two made from Oregon Pine and four from Canadian Larch.
Glenkinchie's two fat old copper pot stills are also a distinctive feature, among the largest in the industry and together producing an impressive 1.3 million litres annually. A single cast-iron worm tub cools the spirit, in preference to a more modern condenser, giving a whisky of greater character and depth.
GLENKINCHIE 12 YEAR OLD
Glenkinchie is a light, delicate whisky; Sweet and creamy with a subtle floral fragrance.
This subtly sophisticated Lowland single malt is a superb pre-dinner drink; try it taken straight from the freezer.
Aromatic, vanilla, cut flowers and beneath, a clean, toasty note. Increasingly sweet and creamy, with fresh citrus, lemon cheesecake.
Sweet, soft start becoming flowery. Crisp mid-palate then butter icing, lemon cheesecake and freesias.
Herbal and drying, a little like pot-pourri.