Gold Re­serves

Cour­tesy of Wil­liam Grant & Sons, whisky en­thu­si­asts in Sin­ga­pore have two more rare sin­gle malts to add to their col­lec­tion. By Rachel Ang

Men's Folio (Singapore) - - Lifestyle -

It’s in­ter­est­ing to some­times stop and won­der whether Wil­liam Grant had imag­ined the great suc­cess that his com­pany, Wil­liam Grant & Sons ( WGS), would be­come when he first founded it in 1887. De­spite it main­tain­ing its in­de­pen­dence by keep­ing its own­er­ship in the fam­ily, WGS is now the com­pany be­hind some of the most pop­u­lar and iconic spir­its brands such as Hen­drick’s gin and Sailor Jerry spiced rum, not to men­tion the lead­ing brands of Scotch whisky such as the hand­crafted Bal­ve­nie and the world’s most awarded sin­gle malt, Glen­fid­dich. Now, WGS has in­tro­duced two more names to its sin­gle malt range in Sin­ga­pore: Kin­in­vie and Lady­burn.

Sweet And Dis­creet

When the pop­u­lar triple malt Mon­key Shoul­der was re­leased, it was not un­com­mon to catch am­bas­sadors un­der the em­ploy of WGS chuckling to them­selves and declar­ing that the blend of in­gre­di­ents that went into cre­at­ing it was “a KGB se­cret”. This was es­pe­cially amus­ing be­cause it was, in fact, made out of a mix of whiskies from three WGS dis­til­leries: Kin­in­vie, Glen­fid­dich, and Bal­ve­nie. While the sec­ond and third la­bels are prac­ti­cally house­hold names even to any whisky novice, the first is not nearly quite as well known.

One of the youngest dis­til­leries in Scot­land, the Kin­in­vie dis­tillery started pro­duc­tion in July 1990. It was opened by Wil­liam Grant’s last sur­viv­ing grand- daugh­ter, Janet Sheed Roberts, in the back garden on the Bal­ve­nie dis­tillery grounds in Dufftown, Mo­ray. The whisky pro­duced in this dis­tillery was used only as a com­po­nent in other WGS blended whiskies un­til fairly re­cently. In par­tic­u­lar, the Kin­in­vie 23 Year Old Batch No. 1 was first re­leased ex­clu­sively in Tai­wan in 2013. Amer­ica, main­land Europe, and the United King­dom saw Batch No. 2 the fol­low­ing year. The lat­est re­lease is that of Batch No. 3, which has been blessed upon Tai­wan, China, Europe, the UK, and now Sin­ga­pore.

Cre­ated by in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned malt master Brian Kins­man, the Kin­in­vie 23 Year Old sin­gle malt has been ma­tured in first-fill bour­bon casks and mar­ried in hogsheads and sherry butts for nearly a quar­ter of a cen­tury to give it a dis­tinct Spey­side char­ac­ter. Bot­tled at 42.6 per cent ABV, this whisky holds a rich and vi­brant aroma of ripe fruits, but­tery sweet vanilla, and a note of fra­grant blos­soms; an el­e­gant taste of deep vanilla oak­i­ness lay­ered with wood spices, zesty citrus, and candied orange peel; and an en­dur­ingly sweet fin­ish with a flo­ral back note.

Those keen on adding Kin­in­vie to their col­lec­tion will be de­lighted with the dis­creet pack­ag­ing with min­i­mal brand­ing and a pre­mium matte fin­ish, and the fact that each bot­tle is la­belled with the year of dis­til­la­tion, batch num­ber, and bot­tle num­ber.

Liq­uid His­tory

Still more in­ter­est­ing for whisky col­lec­tors and con­nois­seurs alike is the launch of the Lady­burn Scotch whisky. What ex­actly makes the Lady­burn such a cov­etable la­bel? Let us count the ways.

For starters, while some ex­perts might ar­gue against the ex­pected re­la­tion be­tween the age of the whisky and the plea­sure that is given in con­sum­ing it, it’s still dif­fi­cult to find a 40-year- old sin­gle malt on the mar­ket. Fur­ther­more, while most peo­ple have been made fa­mil­iar with the term “High­land”, “Low­land Malts”, on the other hand, are not as com­monly heard of, and Lady­burn num­bers one of only nine that are made avail­able out­side Scot­land.

As if that didn’t al­ready make it highly de­sir­able, this par­tic­u­lar sin­gle malt is made avail­able in a lim­ited edi­tion, sin­gle batch re­lease, which orig­i­nates from the Lady­burn dis­tillery built in 1966 by Charles Grant Gor­don, great- grand­son to Wil­liam Grant, and was only in oper­a­tion for nine short years be­fore shut­ting down in 1975, and after­ward be­ing com­pletely de­mol­ished in 1976, earn­ing it the ti­tle of short­est oper­a­tional dis­tillery in the his­tory of Scotch whisky. In other words, the an­cient re­serve casks res­cued from the Lady­burn ghost dis­tillery, from which this 40-year- old Scotch is be­ing bot­tled, have no way of be­ing added to; once gone, the Lady­burn whisky can never be re­placed.

The Lady­burn dis­tillery was de­lib­er­ately built near the Pen­whap­ple reser­voir in Gir­van, Scot­land, so as to ben­e­fit from the qual­ity of the water from the reser­voir, which was recog­nised as be­ing per­fect for the dis­til­la­tion of su­pe­rior whisky. This has re­sulted in a golden liq­uid with a unique Low­land flavour pro­file, char­ac­terised by a del­i­cate aroma of earth­i­ness that might be iden­ti­fied as pol­ished wood or leather. On the tongue, it is soft and mel­low with a sug­ary sweet­ness laden with trop­i­cal fruits and mel­ons. Some say it has a hint of spice and white pep­per, end­ing in a long and lin­ger­ing oaky fin­ish. Rest as­sured, this is very much Lady­burn’s nat­u­ral form, as WGS has wisely cho­sen to bot­tle it at cask strength and non- chill fil­tered, to pay due homage the beauty of the Lady­burn’s fleet­ing ex­is­tence in an in­dus­try that cel­e­brates longevity.

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