Glenkinchie is just fifteen miles from the capital, earning it the title “The Edinburgh Malt”. But it’s strange to think of that dark and distinguished city when you see fields of barley or the green Lammermuir Hills rolling north towards the Firth of Forth. Founded in 1825 by the farmers John and George Rate, Glenkinchie operated under the name Milton Distillery until it was licenced and renamed in 1837. The new name came from the Kinchie Burn which runs through the glen, which itself derives its name from “de Quincey” who originally owned the land and burn. It was later rebuilt into the redbrick Victorian masterpiece you’ll see today, complete with houses for the workers, bowling green, those two fat old copper pot stills and the largest wash still in the industry. A traditional 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 is very aromatic and flowery overall, like breathing in a country garden. Noticeable vanilla, cut flowers (daffodil, blossom and hints of lily) and beneath these, a clean, toasty note. Becomes increasingly sweet and creamy, with a lightly aromatic edge and fresh citrus, which all brings to mind lemon cheesecake. Water makes it still more creamy and scented. The palate has a sweet soft start, like crême anglaise, soon becoming flowery again. A really smooth delivery, especially after adding a drop of water. The mid-palate is crisp and then the flavour settles into a tightly focused bundle of butter icing, lemon cheesecake and freesias.
Glenkinchie 12 Year Old makes a delightful aperitif. Serve it in a martini glass with a few drops of water for a little flare. Fragrant, light and even creamy, Glenkinchie works magic when paired with cheese cake or even Cullen Skink. In summary this is a smooth, gently appetising Lowlander; flowery, ‘perfect for a picnic.’