Lesser-known Speyside-based distillery Speyburn is not a new up-and-coming site that is in the process of building an initial reputation – indeed Speyburn was founded back in 1897 by Charles Doig (the chap who invented the pagoda as a means to provide ventilation to distillery kilns). However, few people outside of the US and whisky enthusiasts circles have really heard of the distillery and its bottlings. Until the last couple of years, Speyburn has been marketed as a very low cost single malt option – particularly in the American market, but that bargain-price strategy has not engendered a widespread fan base, nor a particularly high reputation. But things are gradually starting to change over at Speyburn.
The brand has recently completed a complete overall haul of its distillery, bottle design, looks and logo (now a flying salmon – in homage to the fishing that takes place along the river Spey) and introduced several new expressions including a 15 year old at a higher bottling strength (46%) than the rest of the distillery’s range. Today we’re taking a look back at an older bottling of the distillery’s 10 year old – though I have no information to hand which suggests that the latest rebranded edition is remarkably different barring the bottle design and branding.
Nose: A touch closed and needing a little time in the glass. Honey, barley and tart apples are joined by light herbals – grass and nettles. There’s some steeliness here – copper and also slight raw alcohol.
Taste: A reasonable mouthfeel and arrive for 40% ABV and offering honey, toffee, apples and lime juice – supported by a grasses and wet leaves, soils, tree bark and a touch of varnish, glue and copper. The development for this one is incredibly quick, we’re almost heading for the finish the moment it enters the mouth – whoosh, and it’s gone.
Finish: Quite short with some ginger and white pepper.
This older bottling of Speyburn 10 year old is fresh, easy-going and inoffensive - but it’s also rather hollow, a bit raw in places and incredibly speedy in its delivery. There’s some good flavours in here that reflect a light, slightly floral underlying spirit style, but this presentation doesn’t allow any of them the limelight. The 2017 rebranded edition is still extremely well priced (£30.83 over at Master of Malt), but there are other similarly low-cost options which provide better quality in my opinion - Add an extra £10 to your bottle budget and you’re blowing this out of the water with ease.