Glen Keith is one of the newer distilleries in Scotland, having been established in 1959. Chivas Brothers built it to provide malt for blends, but it was also their experimental distillery. Peated whisky was produced at the distillery, but not by the usual method of kilning the malt with peat smoke. Instead, peat smoke was passed through water, then that was was used in the production process to produce whisky that was labeled as Glenisla or Craigduff. Additionally, as with Four Roses when it was owned by Seagram, yeast strains selected for their ability to produce different flavor profiles were cultured at the distillery.
This is more mundane whisky from the distillery that was bottled by the WhiskyBase shop's Archives label. The spirit was distilled in 1992, aged in an ex-bourbon barrel, then bottled in 2014 at 51.5% without coloring or chill filtration. I got a sample for free with my first order from WhiskyBase, which was quite nice of them.
Archives Glen Keith 21 Year 1992/2014
Nose: sappy pine resin, strongly floral with a hint of soap, buttery oak, savory vanilla, clean malt, berry esters. After adding a drop of water, the new make notes intrude, while the oak and malt integrate more, with the floral and fruit notes diminishing, while the pine hooks up with the oak spices.
Taste: clean, fresh malt sweetness up front, starting with an undercurrent of oak that grows to fresh cedar and lumber with tropical fruits, raisins, and orange peel around the middle, then fades out with a bit of green malt plus butter and cream. After dilution, the oak and sundry fruit notes (gains some red apples) expand from the middle outward, though the new make character new the back becomes more obtrusive.
Finish: fresh untreated lumber, buttered popcorn, orange juice, grainy malt,
Since this came from an ex-bourbon barrel, there was a higher surface area:volume ratio than one finds with the standard rebuilt ex-bourbon hogsheads. The oak is the key player here, but doesn't completely overwhelm the spirit. However, in the case of the new make notes near the back, that's not necessarily a good thing.
While this one is just a bit too oak-heavy to tickle my fancy, it does make me want to try more from Glen Keith. For being, up until a couple of years ago, effectively a closed distillery, prices are still very good on 20+ year old Glen Keith and the spirit seems to be well-regarded when it has a bit of age on it.