Just to give you an idea how obscure this Lowlander actually is, I had been reading up on distilleries for almost two years until I finally came across a reference to this one. It took me another two before I was able to procure a miniature at an auction. And believe me, it did not come cheap! To make it even more bitter sweet, I knew well in advance that I was not going to like it. Like that other ‘marsupial’ distillery that I still need to find, Ben Wyvis, no one shed a tear for Kinclaith when it was finally shut down in 1977 after a short run of just twenty years. Well here goes nothing, close your eyes, take a sip and hope that it will at least be a bit interesting.
Description: distilled in 1965, matured for 20 years in a sherry wood cask, bottled in 1985 at 46% ABV by Cadenhead.
Nose: overall grassy, with grain, grain, glorious lowland grain on the nose, did we expect anything else? More? Apple skins and saw dust, with a menthol edge. Mouth: light bodied and vegetal. Oh that alcohol still bites after all this time, like a bee sting on your tongue. This doesn’t bode well. Cheap eau-de–cologne getting accidentally sprayed in your mouth, liquid black pepper, notes of green apple, and nutmeg sprinkled tobacco leaves.
Finish: rather short and bitter, a mouthful of ashes with pepper dust.
Verdict: on a whole interesting and original but thoroughly unpleasant. I can see a lot of similarities with a 60’s Coleburn I once tried. Though it eases the alcohol a bit, water brings little solace. It is all so odd and incomprehensible, I can’t see for the life of me how they were expecting to use this in blends, completely unmarketable. No wonder they snuffed out the life of this distillery in the mid-70’s.
@Frost I still got another miniature of Kinclaith from G&M hidden away. Well I guess I don't feel too sorry about cracking open a bottle, I could have tried to preserve it and try to resell it later. But at sometime in the future it is going to be either consumed by someone else or meet with an accident, so there was little reason not to try it now. Also, you can probably see on the picture that the filling level had decreased dramatically to the level of the label. So it was obviously leaking at a very slow but steady pace. No use giving it all back to the angels. (My G&M miniature from the same era is still filled to the bottle neck, making it a far more suitable candidate for further conservation).
@Nozinan It probably had some effect, but to be honest, it had been in there since 1985, that's more than 30 years now, evaporation is to be expected. Only found one other review of this particular bottle, which has some similar notes but the author does not share my opinion on its awful harsh nature. Not sure if one such review is enough to support the deterioration by evaporation theory.