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Speyburn 10 Year Old

Average score from 13 reviews and 46 ratings 74

Speyburn 10 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Speyburn
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 10 year old

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Speyburn 10 Year Old

I first tried the Speyburn 10yo many years ago and just thought it was OK; I reviewed their entry-level NAS expression seven years ago (it was in another advent calendar) and gave it a crap 70. So here we go, another round.

The colour is a bright gold. Very honeyed on the nose, with lemon meringue, creme brûlée, buttery brioche, peach skin and strawberries-and-cream. A bit nutty. Lemon zest with water. Sweet, light, pleasant, inoffensive.

We're on the same wavelength with the palate - heather honey, lemon zest, green apple, croissant, vanilla extract, ginger and a bit of butterscotch. Thin mouthfeel. Chili spice adds a nice balance, but still a bit too sweet for my taste (though water helps with that).

The long finish is toasty with a bit of spice and again, more lemon. Like I said before on the Ledaig 10 re: peat, I say again on this one re: Speyside style - nothing wrong with it (well, a bit sweet for me). Serve it as an apertif at your next dinner party (in fall 2021?) and it won't bother anyone.


Recently, I stopped by my local liquor store to pick up my weekly allotment of Heady Topper. As is my custom, I perused the whisky section and my attention was drawn to the bottom shelf where bottles of Speyburn are kept along side the McClelland mystery malts. I don't think I have read more than a few positive reviews of the ten year old Speyburn and I haven't given the malt much thought over the years. But it was on sale for US$19.99 just $5 more than my four pack of Heady! A quick comparison was made: a ten year old single malt bottled at 43% vs. a four pack of REALLY good double IPA. I know this is apples vs. oranges, but I try to keep to a certain booze budget, so I returned the Heady to the cooler (there will be another delivery next Thursday) and took the Speyburn home. What a pleasant surprise. I think bottling at 43% has beefed up what is traditionally known as a thin malt into one that can display some of its strengths. This malt is not going to win any awards (cask selection is suspect) but if you are looking for a honest single malt at ridiculously low prices you might give it a try. I know I have spent three times the amount I paid for the Speyburn for other malts that were simply mediocre at best - perhaps even rip offs. I won't mention any names ... (oh why the hell not, it was my wasted money). So here goes: Royal Lochnagar 12 yo; Dufftown 12 yo; Gordon & MacPhail 2005 Strathisla. The question might be asked why I purchased these malts in the first place, but that is a long story.

Color: Amber (probably has caramel added)

Nose: A classic (if subdued) Speysider with fruit (apples and pears) to the front. Some citric notes (lemon zest) in the background with some fleeting whiffs of honey, vanilla and caramel.

Palate: Soft and light bodied but the barley is not shy and takes control. A bit oily. By mid-palate there is a nice sweet/tart interchange as the spices (mint of some sort) begin to exert their influence. Finally, the oak tannins arrive and bitter things out. Up to this point, this malt was really enjoyable and it is a shame better cask selection practices are not in place for their 10 yo.

Finish: Fairly long with the spices and those oak tannins in control. Quite chewy.

Thanks for the well written review of a malt that often gets overlooked.

There's a place for honest a little rough around the edges whisky or even the ones that are barley forward. I believe you're right bumping the ABV up is a good thing and I think cask management and presentation is improving. I know there has been some single casks and other editions of Speyburn that have been getting some attention.

I mostly agree though I gave it a lower score - a bit too sweet for me.


Lest you all think that I only sit around drinking 90+ scoring whiskies, here is a review from the other side. The simple truth is that it is hard to get geared up to put out tasting notes on a less then stellar whisky. However, sometimes – just sometimes – you need to take a break from big flavored cask strength whiskies. So where is a whisky drinker to turn? Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant, Glen Moray, Glenmorangie . . . or you could try:

Very floral on the nose with cut grass and fruit living behind that. In the background you get malt and some wood. The fruit is light: pears, peaches, green grapes and granny smith apples. The grass is strong with very little sense (if any) of peat, or smoke. This is both punchier and lighter than the Glen Moray 12yo. That floral note with salt is very sharp with plenty of high notes and more punch then I expected. Still, it manages to seem very young and raw

Malt and floral notes hit together. Very light fruits (peaches, pears, green grapes) on the front followed by floral notes, grass, and some hay. Only a hint of oak in the far background along with some liquorish. There is a touch of soap, but it isn’t horrible. This is light but it a bit more power than the Glenlivet 12yo. Now more fruit notes.

A nice medium light wave of black pepper spice mixed with fruit, salt, malt, and flowers. There is also a slight liquorish note at the end. It is all mid range and high pitched. But the burn and salt linger longer than your standard Glenfiddich or Clynelish. This actually has a much bigger finish then I expected at 43%. The spice and fruit are actually enjoyable. There is a fullness of flavor that pushes this finish up to the B range.

Here is where the surprise turned to “meets expectations.” It is not as complex as The Glenlivet 12yo or any other standard entry level Speyside malt nor as well balanced. This is lighter than most anything in a comparable price range and age statement, but the extra ABV really helps give it some punch that the others (usually at only 40% ABV) lack. So, this does a decent job of simply “not being bad” for a 10 year old single malt under $30 – which is no mean feat.

I really hate this bottle . . . other than the ABV it misses everything I enjoy about a single malt whisky bottle . . . and it has all the contrivances I hate. It is a strange attempt at having an historical reference (the two traditional pictures on the front) and trying to be modern at the same time (the font and bottle shape). I think it misses the mark on every level. Nothing about this bottle makes me want to buy it, show it to friends, or pour from it.

For a standard “unpeated Speyside single malt” with an age statement this is a good alternative to one of your typical “Glens” it isn’t all that bad. I was actually surprised. I expected this to be much worse (like in the 60’s). It is much more “forward” than most of the mild malts like the Glenlivet 12yo (which I currently have open). And the price is far better.

@Nock, I take great interest in this particular review, because after my second tasting of Speyburn 10 I very much had the conviction that, "I never have to drink this whisky ever again." I would have rated it at that time 70 or even 65 points. Speyburn 10 was THE example of what I considered "a bad malt". I will be curious as to what a taste from your reviewed bottle will seem to me now.

I do not rule out the possibility that this batch of Speyburn 10 is a lot better than what I had 4 years ago, either. If it is a lot better than I remember then I will still not trust to buy a bottle of this brand, because I have a long memory of what that other stuff tasted like.

On a different subject, can you just imagine the Speyburn distiller's glee at seeing his whisky reviewed with the title, "I expected much worse"? Now there's an enthusiastic slap on the back if I've ever seen one!

Slightly surprisingly, quite a few people outside of Connosr.com do read these reviews. The internet search engines catalog this stuff and make it forever accessible.

@Victor, I almost brought this bottle up for your to try on my last visit. But we had more important things to taste.

How you felt about Speyburn 10yo is how I feel about The Speyside 10yo. Did you try the old packaging or the new of the Speyburn?

As to the distiller at Speyburn. You have to know that most of what you are making is going for blending. And that has to produce a certain amount of ambivalence. There is a reason that Laphroaig 10yo is almost twice the price of this bottle. It is not an "A" dram, but it is a consitantly good dram because it is all made to be drunk as a single malt. Sure, some of it turns up in blends (and Independent Bottlers) but it is not made for the blenders. I think that intentionality has to change your craft.

That said, if someone out there believes that they have a great example of a young Speyburn (I am not ageist) - especially at cask strength - that they think is a stalwart representative of the craft of the Speyburn distiller I would be more than happy to give it a try.


Next to the NAS-version, there is also this 10 Year Old. The Bradan Orach was a serious let-down. Hence the expectations for this one are not very high. On the contrary.

The nose is mildly floral and a bit fruity. I detect vanilla, but also white bread and some citrus fruit. Grain cookies. Fresh as spring, actually. Very accessible. Nothing wrong here.

Unfortunately it again has a very light body, almost watery. Some honey, some caramel and a truckload of vanilla. The fruit is again of the citrus variety. Touch of pepper.

The finish is short, sweet and softly peppered, but dies a bitter death.

This is a typical card player’s whisky. Nothing wrong with it, but surely not a high flyer. Reminds me a bit of vodka. Hence a low flyer. Not even 25 EUR. Rather popular in the States, where it is bottled at 43% ABV.

Your description of Speyburn 10 yo sounds familiar, @markjedi1. Thanks for your review. I've never liked Speyburn 10 either. At 75 points I think that you were generous. I'd put this one more around its current 69 point Connosr average. Actually if anyone ever asks me for an example of what I consider an inferior malt whisky, Speyburn 10 comes immediately to mind.

I will brace myself for when I taste a sample of the Bradan Orach.


This is one of the cheapest and most easily available single malts. Something told me to try a shot at the bar before buying a bottle, which was a great idea. I found it to be so repulsive that I almost poured it down the toilet. It reminded me of some of the cheaper blends. If you want a good single malt at this price, try Auchentoshan Classic.


Buttery light notes. The nose is really soft with very subtle smoke. Melon and sweet lemon start with fairly smooth finish.


Speyburn is an inexpensive, but not cheap single malt. I paid $21.99 USD for a 75cl bottle.

Nose: Very pleasant, not overpowering with citrus, oak, and dark honey/caramel.

Taste: Predominately a sweet, dark flavor (clover honey or good molasses). Hints of lemon zest, smoke, and an herbal quality (sage, perhaps?).

Finish: Very mild alcohol burn,overall quite smooth. The (pleasant) taste of dark honey lingers for 30-40 seconds before subsiding.

Overall: I keep a bottle in my shelf, for the price it's a great everyday scotch that works well by itself or in a scotch and soda.


At one point Speyburn 10 years was the second cheapest single malt (after GlenParker) in Finnish liquor stores. It is generally liked when compared to its low price. I guess you can call it the cost efficient whisky. That's not the best term when talking about whisky, though.

This had dried fruits and lemon all over it. That's why it was easy to name it The Lemon Drop Kid. If you are in a financial inconvenience like Bob Hope's character, you can always afford a bottle of Speyburn's 10 year old.

Nose: Clean with aromas. Sweet fruits and mint.

Taste: Not the lightest of fruity whiskies, medium body I think. Lemonly, a bit dry with a very soft hints of smoke.

Finish: Fruits fade away too quickly with the bitterness taking over.

Balance: Not too light, which I like but my spite for 'dried fruits in a whisky' lowers the score.


The 10 year old is a nice malt, that is well priced (especially in the USA, where I know it costs as low as $20…) but is not really popular where I come from. It’s pretty basic and nice for that price, and I’ve had it on a few occasions (as well as in the distillery when visiting last year). It was nice to revisit it, and take proper notes this time.

Nose: Sweet malty, and lemon zest, with warm wood, and spice, followed by pear drops

Palate: malt, wood spice, a bit of bitter wood, zest, and sugar.

Finish : medium, malty, with vanilla and wood.

A Nice basic dram, nothing to get excited about, but for that price, it’s a good BFYB.


Nose: I'm having this on my sunny balcony with an ice cube and the nose matches this weather perfectly: lightly floral with orchard fruit, especially pear and green apple. Very malty and fresh.

Taste: Initially quite sweet but with some zing to it. Becomes somewhat bitter/tannic but never overbalanced. Mostly thick, sweet malt, a touch grassy. Fresh and medium-bodied with surprising viscosity for its age.

Finish: Fades rather quickly with an echo of malt and oak tannins. Nothing unpleasant about it, though.

Balance: This is what I might call top-heavy: vibrant on the nose and palate entry, but lacking on the bottom half. Still a real pleasure to drink.


Nose: Speyside sweetness and fruitiness. There is a lot of honey and pear in it. I could keep on nosing for hours.

Taste: Sweet and fruity (lemon?) on the palate, not much body. Hints of smoke, but very very discreet. Ideal dram for a hot summer afternoon on the veranda.

Finish: Not very long. The honey lingers on for a few seconds, but fades away quickly.

This is a nice&easy whisky, not very complex, but very amicable. For a little bit more than US$20 and with 43%, it's a great value.

Sailorman is correct on everything. I had the same experience and consider it my dram of choice when I want something sweet that I don't have to work for... like grabbing that candy bar in the store on your way home... you know it will satisfy the sweet tooth and lull you into a comfortable place late in the day... or before breakfast! After experiencing all the regions and many expressions, this is a laid-back whisky that truly is an easy, summer drinking dram. niiiice, simple, smooth and lovely.


Nose is full of melted butter, and malt goodness, with a nice leathery note. The taste is on the mellow side, tasting rather buttery and oily, but the finish packs a major punch, heavy on chili peppers, ginger, and alcohol.


I sought this out because it is only $US 20 where I am and I wanted to get into single malts after trying many blends. For the true beginner this would be a turn off, it's just too difficult to get at the nice parts. There are pleasant aromas and tastes in the background but in the foreground is some raw, young harshness without much of a pleasant finish which might not be bad if say you were drinking this before a meal or in hot weather.

I find many upscale blends taste better to me than Speyburn 10 year old. This could be ok as a diversion for the truly educated palate or an introduction for the relatively sophisticated beginner (as I like to think I am) but it is not something I would seek out or buy in the future.

This is my first review and I have had about half of the bottle over a month or so.

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