Ladyburn 1974-2015, 40yo, 40.9% – OB for the Asian Market

Like all other whisky fanatics, I don’t have much experience with Ladyburn. This is purely due to a lack of availability, and the prices of what is available. The distillery closed in 1975 so you can imagine that now, 41 years later, not much is going around.

Ladyburn was a part of the Girvan distillery in Ayrshire, in the Lowlands. Much like Inverleven was part of the Dumbarton distillery and Kinclaith was part of Strathclyde.

All these distilleries closed down eventually, so from a longevity point of view it seems to be unwise to build a single malt distillery inside of a grain distillery. This is interesting since little under 10 years ago William Grant & Sons built the Ailsa Bay on the Girvan plant.

This all made the tasting at Maltstock where I got this sample all the more interesting, since it was focused around Girvan, the grain whisky and both the new and the old malt distillery. The next review will most likely be the Ailsa Bay whisky that has just been released. At Maltstock we got a nice preview of that.

So, a 40 year old Ladyburn which might very well be the last one I ever taste. Who knows. Anyway, it’s not often I get the chance so I was quite delighted with Kevin Abrook’s masterclass.

Not the exact bottling, but ‘Image from Whiskybase’

Slightly papery at first, but that might also be because the sample has been sitting for a while. After that there’s lemon and shammy leather. Lots of soft oaky notes. Some baking spices, but restraint. Restraint seems like a good descriptor for this whisky. Some chalk, but not gritty. A very light note of cold brew coffee in the background. Really well made and well balanced.

Hints of white pepper, with some white oak too. Lemon, apple, slightly milky (sherbet?) and a tiny bit of sweetness. Some powdered sugar. A hint of leather behind it all. The milkiness turns a bit creamy, or the fruit syrupy. Great, but light flavors.

The finish shows more typical ‘oldness’ that white oak can show. The light spirit is not completely gone, I think, and it’s really well integrated with the oak. A long finish with slightly sweeter fruit, and some milkiness again.

Oh yes. Oh Yes! This is a really great dram.

If you’re into lighter whiskies, in a typical Lowlands style, this is a great one to seek out a sample of (I can imagine a bottle being too expensive at € 1500 or so.

The more heavy notes on the nose mellow out well throughout tasting this without the whisky feeling unbalanced or out of whack. There’s still a lighter note of leather on the palate and there’s a new milky note that becomes more prominent on the finish. As weird as leather and milk sound, it works like a charm (both come from the same animal, so…).


Ladyburn 1974-2015, 40yo, Refill Bourbon cask, 40.9%, OB for the Asian Market. RRP was some £ 1500, if I’m not mistaken.


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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