Speyburn 1989-2013, 46% – Gordon & MacPhail

Speyburn. One of these rather unknown distilleries that’s not open to the general public, but who are trying to make headway with all kinds of cool Christmas marketing. At the end of 2017 I got one of those Christmas sweaters and I love it. Last time it was a limited print of a painting of the distillery.

Also, Speyburn gets pushed by the likes of Jon Beach (from Fiddler’s in Drumnadrochit). However, I still don’t know how much of that is just good old fun, and how much is based on the distillery releasing a rather textbook single malt, without many bells and whistles, and that being a very good thing nowadays.

What I do know was a joke, was the Speyburn Transcontinental Day, or STD in short.

This whisky then. I’ve been slowly going through my bottle over the last year and a half. Yesterday I brought it to my regular Magic: the Gathering night and it was quite loved there as well. One of the guys in the group is of a younger vintage than this dram, too.


Shortlisted to be empty by the end of today.

Very focused on the malt without it being overly grainy, or too sweet. There’s gentle oak and straw too. Some stewed fruits in the background. I would never have guessed that this was from a sherry cask. It’s more apples, pears and grapes than peaches and dates. Although, maybe there’s a hint of peach too.

A dry palate, with not much sweetness and a bit of a sharp edge, especially for a 23 year old whisky. Straw, stewed apples and pears. Some puff pastry and a hint of sweetness later on. The dryness is similar to a corky apple, without the flavor being horrid.

The finish brings a bit of sharpness, with dry straw and oak. There’s a bit more barley sugar and sweetness on the finish, while the fruits have been pushed back a bit. So, more focus on the barley and oak.

It’s quiet a lovely dram and a whisky that’s more or less a textbook Scotch. Quite straightforward, with barley, oak and some fruity notes. Nothing out of the ordinary. What makes this better than utterly generic is that it’s very well executed and therefore not boring at all.


Speyburn 1989-2013, Refill Sherry Hogsheads, 46%, Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseur’s Choice. Available in Germany for € 100



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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