Founded in 1896 about a stone’s throw away from Longmorn and BenRiach, this Speyside distillery is now long gone. Coleburn was one of the 28 victims of the large closing round by Diageo in 1983. In the meantime the site was sold to project developers Winchester Brothers. This Coleburn 1979 is the only official release from this long lost distillery. For me, it is only my third encounter with this malt.
The nose starts somewhat herbal/floral on wild heather flowers and nettles. Lemongrass. A mild rubbery note, but that evaporates quickly to be replaced by lovely fruity notes of candied oranges and coconut. It becomes a bit waxy. Citrus becomes grand while pineapple kicks in. Wine gums. Becomes sweeter as it breathes. Very nice, actually.
Wonderfully creamy on the palate. Prickles a bit. Becomes very waxy on quinine, citrus, mint, apple juice, sugared lime peels with a lot of spices like ginger, liquorice and some salt. The wood speaks up too. Woodspice and tannins. Yes, complex is the word you are looking for.
The finish is its Achilles’ heel though, if you don’t mind my saying so. Short, drying and bitter – almost astringent.
The two Coleburn that I tried before do not even come close to this Rare Malts release. It reminds me a bit of Clynelish in fact. Lovely surprise. Thanks, Chris!