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Glen Keith distillery was founded in 1957 by Chivas Brothers who also owned the nearby Strathisla distillery. When it opened in 1958 it was the first new distillery to open in Speyside since the great whisky crash of 1898. In 1970, two more stills were added when production was switched to double distillation; the new stills were a novelty as they were the first gas-fired stills in Scotland. The output of the distillery was originally used in blends such as Chivas Regal, Passport and 100 Pipers but Chivas Brothers also used it as a laboratory for innovations in production and processing. In 1994 the distillery released its first official bottling, a 10-year old, but was mothballed in 1999 after 41 years of production. Over time Chivas Brothers (which in 2001 has become part of the Pernod Ricard group) realized that growing demand in Asia demanded increased production within the group, and work to reconstruct and refurbish the distillery began in spring of 2012. In June 2013 Glen Keith distillery was reopened. This particular expression was distilled on 1 October 1992 and bottled by Signatory in their Un-Chillfiltered Collection from cask #120559 on 20 January 2014, with a total outturn of 213 bottles.
The nose is rich and fruity. There are plenty of prunes and figs (just plucked, not overripe), next to flavours of fudge, milk chocolate, and caramel. A whiff of rubber is in the air, too.
The palate is medium-bodied and rich. Both prunes and figs are back, accompanied by subdued wood spice and hints of rubber.
The finish is long and warming, ending in fruity and rubbery notes.
I hugely enjoyed this Glen Keith bottling, mostly for its overall balance and for its superb array of fruity flavours. The 46% ABV that this single malt was bottled at provided the necessary body to give it an appropriate profile. This was a joy to drink, not overly complex but not too simple either – in other words: just pure fun!