Glenkinchie 12 Years Old

Glenkinchie 12 Years Old (43%, OB, 2014)

  • Category: Lowland single malts scotch whisky
  • Origin: Glenkinchie Distillery
  • Bottling: Diageo
  • ABV: 43%
  • Cost: £37.33


What they say:

Glenkinchie is just fifteen miles from the capital, earning it the title “The Edinburgh Malt”. But it’s strange to think of that dark and distinguished city when you see fields of barley or the green Lammermuir Hills rolling north towards the Firth of Forth. Stranger still when you taste the subtle, floral flavour of this rare Lowland survivor.

A light, aromatic apéritif

Glenkinchie whisky is perfect as an apéritif or at the start of a meal due to its fragrant, light body. Distilled in Scotland’s largest stills and matured for at least 12 years, the result is a floral whisky with a fresh, creamy taste.

The Glenkinchie distillery

Founded in 1825 by the farmers John and George Rate, Glenkinchie operated under the name Milton Distillery until it was licenced and renamed in 1837. The new name came from the Kinchie Burn which runs through the glen, which itself derives its name from “de Quincey” who originally owned the land and burn. It was later rebuilt into a redbrick Victorian masterpiece you’ll see today, complete houses for the workers, bowling green, those two fat old copper pot stills and the largest wash still in the industry. A traditional single cast-iron worm tub cools the spirit, in preference to a more modern condenser, giving a whisky of greater character and depth.

Subtly sophisticated

South and East of Edinburgh lies the farming country of East Lothian, its barley fed by water softly flowing down from the hills. Glenkinchie is the undisputed champion of the light Lowland style. With its interesting visitor centre and charming setting, this also makes an ideal first distillery visit if you find yourself ready for a break from Auld Reekie.

Official tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Bright gold.
  • Nose: Very aromatic and flowery overall, like breathing in a country garden. Noticeable vanilla, cut flowers (daffodil, blossom and hints of lily) and beneath these, a clean, toasty note. Becomes increasingly sweet and creamy, with a lightly aromatic edge and fresh citrus, which all brings to mind lemon cheesecake. Water makes it still more creamy and scented.
  • Taste: In brief… Glenkinchie at its best. In a sentence… A smooth, gently appetising Lowlander; flowery, ‘perfect for a picnic.’
  • Palate:: A sweet soft start, like crême anglaise, soon becoming flowery again. A really smooth delivery, especially after adding a drop of water. The mid-palate is crisp and then the flavour settles into a tightly focused bundle of butter icing, lemon cheesecake and freesias.
  • Finish: Herbal and drying, a little like potpourri.


What I say:

From a 20cl bottle purchased as part of the Classic Malts Gentle Collection set from Glenkinchie Distillery back in 2014. Set also included Dalwhinnie 15 Years Old and Oban 14 Years Old 20cl bottles also.

Distilled at Glenkinchie matured solely in American oak ex-bourbon hogsheads for a minimum of 12 years.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Soave wine / bright gold (4/20), thick legs, rare slow-forming large tears
  • Nose: Sweet and cereal aroma’s – a little like wheat, reminds me of breakfast cereals, lemon citrus, lemon curd and some sweeter honey, lemon flower honey, almost cloyingly sweet before some further malted milk biscuit notes add depth
  • Taste: Sweet and thick, lemon curd again, lemon cheesecake, golden syrup, a sharpness of citrus zest and squeeze of fresh lemon juice cut through the slightly oily and golden syrup like body, thins a little to flip between further extremes of sweet and sour citrus
  • Finish: Medium-long, sweet honey, golden syrup, lemon barley sugars, mouthwatering


Lacking that yeasty/fermented note and vanilla of the 2017 bottle but a fuller flavour than the 2011 bottle, an intermediary.

The mouthfeel and palate have improved with thicker and almost oily butter and sugars helping deliver the cereal malt and lemon citrus aroma and flavours

Score 82/100

Don’t take my word for it:

Malt and Oak review Glenkinchie 12 Years Old

TOModera’s Whisky Reviews Glenkinchie 12 Years Old

Bloggers submit link to your review

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