Glen Elgin is a light and flower-fruity single malt from the eponymous Speyside town of Elgin. The single malt is particularly popular with independent bottlers, the majority of the production however disappears in blends.
Amazingly in this sleepy corner of Scotlands Speyside, Glen Elgin worked for a long time without electricity. In 1950 the distillery was hooked up to the grid, prior to this paraffin were used.
Glen Elgin Whisky
The Glen Elgin Distillery around a mile south of the city of Elgin on the A941 on the way to Rothes. The distillery can be found directly at the exit to the small hamlet called Fogwatt just down the road from Linkwood. In fact, they are so close to each other that they share the same water source. Longmorn distillery is also in the direct vicinity.
How does Glen Elgin Single Malt?Glen Elgin produces drier whiskies that are both sweet and Speyside typical floral flavor. At the moment, there is a 12-year-old single Malt, which combines the typical sweetness with aromas of marzipan, almonds and dried fruits.
The taste key to Glen Elgin’s unique character is the clearly recognizable fruitiness of this malt whisky. This is achieved through several work steps and technologies. On the one hand, the wort is very clear during production and the fermentation for the first alcohol production is extended, which gives the fruitiness and esters a good boost. The next crucial step is slow distillation in the six copper stills. As a result, the undesired sulfur or sulfur compounds are largely eliminated during the distillation process.
How is Glen Elgin Whisky produced?The water for Glen Elgin comes from the Millbuies Springs source, barley is sourced entirely from external maltings. An 8.2 ton mashtun made of stainless steel and six washbacks supply the wort for distillation. Glen Elgin Malt is distilled in six steam heated copper stills. There are three Wash Stills and three Spirit Stills working in partnership for an annual output of 1,800,000 liters.
Glen Elgin is also one of the few malt manufacturers in Scotland, alongside Dalwhinnie in the Highlands, that recondense the freshly produced alcohol vapors into a high-proof alcoholic liquid using ‘worm tubs’. These adds complexity and weight to the eventual whisky produced malt whisky.
For a long time, Glen Elgin’s malts were a significant, if not ‘the’ part of the famous blended Scotch whisky White Horse. This is not surprising since Glen Elgin came under the umbrella of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1929 and they issued the license to the White Horse Distillers.
Glen Elgin Malts are often described as Christmas cake in a bottle and the the 12 year old Singleton is no exception and well worth trying. Sadly few official bottles exist outwith the Singleton family and Flora and Fauna release. The latter also worth trying, more happily Glen Elgin also appears quite frequently amoung the ranks of the independant bottlers. As a result, it remains a minor cult among malt aficionados.
It was a member of Diageo’s ‘Hidden Malts’ range which appeared, briefly, at the start of the Millennium. In the year 2000, the anniversary single malt ‘100 Years of Glen Elgin’ was released aged 19 years and bottled at cask strength (60% abv) one on only 750 bottles. In 2003, a 32-year-old single malt was released at cask stength of only 42.3%, this much lower abv resulting from the Angles Share.
Dark clouds were starting to appear in the sky during the foundation of Glen Elgin Distillery. Though no one knew it at the time the storage capacities were high, price manipulation was rife and demand had been artificially inflated. The market was overheating and the Pattison crash was imminent.
William Simpson, a former manager of the Glen Farclas distillery, and his partner James Carle founded Glen Elgin in 1898. Production started in May 1900, but was discontinued after only five months. In February 1901 the distillery was sold to Glen Elgin-Glenlivet Distillery Co., at auction the price was then £ 4,000.
In 1906, the wine merchant JJ Blanche Co. bought the Glen Elgin Distillery for £ 7,000 and production resumed. Upon the death of Mr. JJ Blanche in 1929, Glen Elgin went up for sale again. A year later, in 1930, the Speyside distillery changed hands and was acquired by the Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD). Due to the SMD, the license was passed on to the White Horse Distillers within the company.
During the boom years after World War II, Glen Elgin was renovated in 1964 and enlarged from two to six pot stills. Due to the increasing concentration of the markets from the 1980s, the SMD and thus also the Glen Elgin distillery was swallowed up by United Distillers & Vintners, or UDV for short and finally became part of the Diageo portfolio.
In 1992 the distillery had to undergo a further renovation which led to the temporary closure to install new pot stills. Production started up again in September 1995. 2001 saw Glen Elgin join the Flora and Fauna releases and a 16 year old wash released as part of Diageo’s special releases in 2008.
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Glen Elgin Timeline:
1898-1900: Built by partnership of William Simpson, a former manager of Glenfarclas Distillery, and James Carle. During construction Pattison’s, the Leith blender, went into liquidation taking with it the market for Malt Whisky. Glen Elgin ended up much smaller than planned and would by the last distillery built in the Speyside until 1958 when Tormore Distillery was built
1901: Within six months after starting production the Distillery was taken over by the Glen Elgin-Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd., a consortium of local businessmen (1898-99 mentioned as well)
1907: Glen Elgin-Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd. acquired by John J. Blanche, whisky merchant of Glasgow
1921: John J. Blanche & Co.
1927: Incorporated as J. J. Blanche & Co. Ltd.
1930: Company acquired by Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD) and licensed it to White Horse Distillers. Glen Elgin had been a key ingredient in the White Horse blend for a long time (1936 mentioned as well)
1964: Rebuilt when extended from two to six stills. Licensed to White Horse Distillers Ltd., Glasgow
1970: Stills became steamheated
1999: Owned by United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV)
2004: Owned by Diageo plc