Whenever I go to a whisky bar, especially one with a very large menu of old releases, I need quite some time to identify what will be my next dram. I might jump on the occasion to try an old vintage of a favorite distillery. Or, like today, try something from a distillery I have never tried anything from. Especially since I’ve never heard of said distillery. But the good thing with this kind of whisky bar, is that not only they have a great list of whiskies, they also have very knowledgeable staff, who will be able to help you out. They’ll make recommendations, or tell you about the distillery’s profile, or give you some tasting notes and descriptions for this unknown whisky you’re looking out. And that’s how after the Glenfarclas 1971 I reviewed a few days ago, my second dram at the Golden Promise was this Killyloch 1972 bottled by Signatory Vintage.
Killyloch was a recent and short lived distillery. Back in 1964, Publicker Industries established Inver House Distillers. You know this name, Inver House Distillers, as they own five running distilleries: Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu (Ardmore), Speyburn and Balmenach. Back to 1964, they started construction of a large malt and grain complex called Moffat, in Airdrie, a few miles west of Glasgow. The next year, Garneath, Glen Flagler and Killyloch distilleries started production. Killyloch produced a lightly-peated whisky, mainly as a filling for blends. Just a few years later, in the early 1970s (I’ve read 1st of July 1970, but this whisky was distilled in 1972 so I have doubts), Killyloch distillery closed, and the stills were decommissioned then moved to Glen Flagler. Not for long though, as Glen Flagler would close in 1985.
The name Killyloch is said to come from a mistake made when after some casks of spirit produced at this Lowland distillery were incorrectly stamped Killyloch. They were supposed to be stamped Lilly Loch, after the name of their source of water.
Killyloch 1972 Signatory Vintage Review
This Killyloch was distilled on the 21.03.1972 and let to mature in a sherry cask. The cask was bought by Signatory Vintage well after the closure, as Signatory Vintage was founded in 1988. They bottled this cask, numbered 206413, in their vintage collection with the dumpy bottles. 230 bottles were filled at the cask strength of 52.6% ABV, in August 1994. Unless you’re very lucky, expect to pay between £1200 and £1500 on auction to get one.
Alcoholic smells at first quite sharp. Then liquorice, white and yellow fruits, with mostly apricot. Slight farm notes after a while. The nose is quite long to open.
Quite different from the nose, as we have here tropical fruits, slightly bitter orange, chocolate, ginger, pepper, old wood and some leather.
Leather again, but also chocolate, ginger, floral notes like jasmine, tea leaves. Good length.
This is quite original and different. The nose is a bit discreet, and requires some patience. Good strength on the palate, though it lacked a bit of definition and precision, everything was a bit blurry. I unfortunately didn’t try it with water, as I had just one centilitre… And I probably forgot anyway, trying to at least get good enough tasting notes when neat. Interesting dram, I’d love to try more from this short lived distillery. Even though Inver House said it was a lightly peated whisky, I couldn’t find traces of peat or smoke when I tried it. In the end, even without the strange feelings brought by the idea of trying something from a very short-lived distillery, this was very good whisky.