Inverleven 1991-2008, 40% – Gordon & MacPhail

As with that awesome Convalmore from a while ago, I got this one in that sample swap with buddy MZ. I don’t know how this trade came to be and who asked who for what, but based on that Convalmore, I’m a happy camper.

Inverleven is one of the many silent Lowlands distilleries and this one was located in Dumbarton. The Dumbarton complex produces single grain whisky for the George Ballantine company. Within that complex there was the Inverleven ‘distillery’ and the Lomond ‘distillery’. Mind, not Loch Lomond which is close, but not the same.

The distilleries of Lomond and Inverleven were not actual distilleries in their own right, since they were within the Dumbarton complex and buildings. Both distilleries were shit down in 1991 and mothballed and demolished later on, after which grain whisky distilling recommenced.

The Inverleven whisky varies slightly between batches since they used a Lomond still to produce it with rectifier plates. With these plates one can adjust the distilling regime and therefore the resulting spirit.

A couple of years ago some of the pot stills of Inverleven were bought by Bruichladdich to reinstall these in the Port Charlotte distillery. As we all know, this hasn’t happened yet and Port Charlotte is still a dream (of Jim McEwan).

Inverleven 1991-2008. Image from Whiskybase

Inverleven 1991-2008. Image from Whiskybase

The nose starts with soft vanilla and soft caramel scents (those Caramac bars). Behind that is an array of field flowers like poppies and daffodils and such. I even think I get a tiny hint of salt, but that’s gone quickly. Butterscotch, dried pineapple and maracuja, but also a whiff of mutli-purpose cleaner.

The palate starts floral, with some straw and ears of barley. The fruit is stronger after that with passion fruit, pineapple and regular apple. Light, candy like and a tad chemical again.

The finish is a bit more malty but the fruit is definitely here. All tropical and light. The floral hints are more restrained.

I didn’t really know what to expect since I haven’t tasted many Inverlevens before and they can vary a lot. Not even only because of the randomness of the occasional single cask that pops up but also because of the way it’s distilled.

This one, whether or not it’s a single cask, is awesome. There’s a slight hint of chemical flavoring like used in candy, but the huge and delicious notes of fruit combine well with it. Liquid candy, with a fruitiness that’s not found often these days.

And, as with the Convalmore, I’ve added Inverleven to the list of distilleries I want a bottle of. Shame that the ones that are available are ridiculously expensive, and they don’t pop up in auctions all that much. I’ll be watching.

Inverleven 1991-2008, 40%, Gordon & MacPhail. This used to go for some € 80 not long ago, but it’s very hard to find.

Thanks to MZ for the sample!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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4 Responses to Inverleven 1991-2008, 40% – Gordon & MacPhail

  1. Robert G says:

    Inverleven was registered as a lowland distillery and had its own building. There were two pot stills there that produced the spirit not the variable Lomond still. As a standard lowland whisky the new spirit didn’t vary the differences come from the casks and maturation.

  2. Robert Hicks says:

    Sorry hit the send button before I’d finished.
    The Lomond stll was developed in the late 1950s to try to produce different flavour profile spirit styles from the same still. Although the spirit did show differences thes were lost by the time the affect of the cask and maturation was taken into account.

  3. Pingback: Glenlochy 27yo, 1980-2007, 54.8% – Duncan Taylor, Rarest of the Rare | Malt Fascination

  4. Pingback: Dumbarton 1986-2011, 51.5% – Scott’s Selection | Malt Fascination

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