Glen Keith

Glen Keith is one of the younger distilleries in Scotland, having only been founded in 1957 by the Chivas Brothers. It is located in the beautiful Speyside town of Keith, within eyeshot of Strathisla, the oldest distillery in Scotland. 2000 the distillery was closed in 2013 and reopened.

Information about the Distillery
92 Bottles
Scotland, Speyside
-2.957565 57.546945
Active
Pernod Ricard
1957
6,000,000 l
Average tasting notes Tasting Notes
Calculated from 16 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Fruit:
Vanilla:
Sweet:
Spices:
Oak:
Peat Smoke:
Pineapple:
Melon:
Pear:
Alcohol:
Berries:
Lemon:
Nuts:
Apple:
Banana:
Orange:
Green Apple:
Lime:
Ginger:
Almonds:
Cinnamon:
Herbs:
Mint:
Zitrus:
Tasting
Spices:
Fruit:
Chili:
Sweet:
Malt:
Oak:
Pepper:
Vanilla:
Chocolate:
Peat Smoke:
Banana:
Pear:
Herb:
Sherry:
Pineapple:
Coffee:
Heather:
Dark Chocolate:
Barley:
Lime:
Caramel:
Wheat:
Cinnamon:
Alcohol:
Herbs:
Zitrus:
Finish
Spices:
Sweet:
Pepper:
Oak:
Coffee:
Herb:
Fruit:
Chocolate:
Malt:
Dark Chocolate:
Pear:
Honey:
Cinnamon:
Chili:
Herbs:
Mint:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Official bottlings of Glen Keith single malt are rare, with the few that are available on the market today being mostly batches that were released in the 1990s. The only widely available is the 10 year old. The vast majority of single malt bottlings that occurred at the Glen Keith distillery were independent ones. Signatory Vintage and Douglas Laing are responsible for the bulk of these. Douglas Laing included a 15-year-old Glen Keith in its Provenance range, while Signatory Vintage’s bottlings have been focused on older casks, including a 36-year-old and a 40-year-old.  

One of the reasons that single malt bottlings of Glen Keith are so rare is that the output of the distillery was designed for blending purposes. Glen Keith single malt is used as a major component in the Chivas Regal, Passport and 100 Pipers blends. The Chivas Brothers also used the site to conduct experiments that might be beneficial to the distillation process, such as developing their own strands of yeast. 

The Production

Glen Keith was built with the express intention of mass producing single malt to be used in blends orientated towards the American market, which accounts for it’s modern production capacity of 6 million liters. The production capacity was almost doubled when the distillery re-opened in 2013 after being closed for over a decade. The water used in its production is drawn from springs on the nearby Balloch hill.  In keeping with its experimental history, Glen Keith was also the first distillery to trial automatic mashing in the 1980s.

The still house of the Glen Keith Distillery
The still house of the Glen Keith Distillery

The Pot Stills

Glen Keith has three wash and three spirit stills, two pairs of which were installed in 1970. The spirit stills have a tall shape, with long, gradually narrowing necks, whereas the wash stills have an onion shape.   For ten years the distillery switched between double and triple distillation, until double distillation was undertaken permanently in the 1980s.

The Pot Stills of the Glen Keith Distillery
The Pot Stills of the Glen Keith Distillery

Maltings

Glen Keith used unpeated maltings in its production. The distillery used it’s own maltings from it’s founding to 1976, when they were decommissioned, along with the distillery’s Saladin Boxes.  Today the distillery sources maltings from an industrial site.

Warehouse

When the distillery was built, large racked warehouses were constructed to the side of the site to house the single malt. The spirit that is used in the Chivas blends is transported almost immediately off-site.

A cask of the Glen Keith Distillery
A cask of the Glen Keith Distillery

History

Glen Keith is one of the younger distilleries in Scotland, having only been founded in 1957 by the Chivas Brothers. It is located in the beautiful Speyside town of Keith, within eyeshot of Strathisla, the oldest distillery in Scotland. Although the distillery has not been active for very long, especially by single malt distillery standards, its history is a significant one, filled with innovation and experiment. In the 1970s, after a successful first decade of production, the distillery expanded from two stills to five. These stills were the first to be gas-fired in Scotland. In 1983, a sixth still was installed, completing the series of stills that are still used today. In 1999, the distillery was mothballed. It lay quiet for over a decade, until a large-scale renovation began in 2012. It was re-opened in 2013, with its production capacity increasing from 3.5 million liters to 6 million. The majority of the single malt produced at the site is still used in the Chivas Brothers owned-blends, although Chivas themselves have been taken over by Pernod Ricard.

Visitor's Centre

Sadly, there is currently no visitor’s centre at Glen Keith.

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