Glenury Royal

Glenury Royal 22 Years Old 1976 Connoisseurs Choice

Glenury Royal 1976 Connoisseurs Choice (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, 1998)

Whisky Review

  • ABV: 40%
  • Age: 22 Years Old
  • Bottling: Gordon MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice
  • Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: ~£15 per dram
  • Origin: Glenury-Royal distillery
  • Vintage: 1976


What they say

Distilled in 1976 at Glenury-Royal distillery and matured for 22 years before bottling in 1998 at 40% ABV as part of Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice range.

Giving oneself a regal moniker is certainly one way to get attention, and in the case of Glenury Royal’s founder, Captain Robert Barclay, using his connections to a certain ‘Mrs Windsor’ helped him seal the deal, when he was granted the right by King William IV.

Captain Barclay was something of a brilliant all-rounder: part athlete, part member of parliament and a keen marathon runner to boot, his distilling exploits bought him widespread acclaim for making a whisky truly worthy of a king.

Sadly, despite such lofty aspirations, the distillery was closed in 1985 (another victim of the tough economic times faced by Scotch whisky that decade) and this Stonehaven delight was eventually demolished. Fortunately some casks have survived and Glenury Royal is proudly bottled as part of the Gordon & MacPhail Rare Old range.

What I say

Sampled during the opening of Usquabae. The downside of having too many tasting notebooks is I remember vividly having this dram – as a treat from Paula as it was a birth year whisky from a closed distillery I hadn’t sampled anything from before. Sadly I thought I had maybe made notes electronically on an old phone or scrap of paper I had since lost. Well today was the lucky day I discovered a bunch of old tasting note books with un-written up notes in them including this one!

So here is my first Glenury-Royal! (from about 5 years ago)

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Full amber gold (10/20), medium-thick oily streaks.
  • Nose: Full of sweet toffee, perfumed, polished oak wood, honeyed, bourbon vanilla wood, vanilla essence, brown sugar, wood smoke or tobacco/pipe smoke,
  • Taste: Caramel and toffee on the palate too, gingerbread; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, polished oak wood, baked apple, brown sugar and spiced toffee, despite the vanilla on the nose I’m leaning much more towards refill sherry cask matured now, a faint whiff of highland peat smoke indicative of the vintage.
  • Finish: Medium-short, more dark and caramelised sugars perhaps a touch of earthy peppermint and chocolate orange.


Hard to put into perspective, perhaps a slightly disappointing dream dram. Subtle in character and maturation but then that made these G&M classics so affordable. Still two big ticks off of my list in both distillery and vintage. A reminder that these pearls (rather than gems) can be found at sensible prices in many whisky bars.

Score 84/100

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