[Review] Glen Flagler - Rare All-Malt Scotch 40%

The Lowlands: a single malt producing region, but let's face it, definitely not top of the list when we think Scotch whisky. Not that many distilleries for a start and apart from the recently opened Daftmill, nothing that really tickles your fancy... And yet today, my review is heading to the Lowlands with a distillery which has been very short-lived as it opened in 1965 only to close in 1985. That doesn't sound like a good start...!

Glen Flagler was set up by Inver House Distillers as part of a distilling complex in Airdrie -East of Glasgow- with a sister distillery called Killyloch. During its two operating decades, Glen Flagler was mainly destined for Inver House blends but some single malt was also produced, in particular a 5 year-old and an 8 year-old as well as the 'All-Malt' NAS I am reviewing today. Unfortunately, financial troubles in the 1970's and 80's meant that Killyloch first in the 70's and then Glen Flagler in 1985 ceased production before being demolished in 1988. So all we can try today are bottles left over from four decades ago.

Thankfully you can still find some of these bottles at auctions even if they do not appear as frequently as the likes of Port Ellen or Brora. However, it will still cost you a few hundred pounds to get hold of one. What's more, it is... sorry... was a Lowland distillery which, as I said, only produced whisky for 20 years. So even if you managed to pick up a bottle, would you really want to open it? Before you wonder, I didn't buy a bottle because 1, I don't think they are that investable and 2, I am not enough of a gambler to spend that money just to try something different. Fortunately, some companies will sort out these problems for you by sourcing these bottles, opening them up and selling them to you as a sample. And for £16, thanks to Cheaper by the Dram, I can now see what Glen Flagler was like, without having to splash out on a bottle I might not like...


So let's delve into the whisky and see what it's like! First, the dates. There is no age stated on the bottle so it is probably quite young. Then, the release date for this whisky. There is no date on the bottle but we are probably looking at the 1970's. The whisky was bottled at 40% and there is no indication so as to whether or not it was coloured and/or chill filtered. The colour itself is very pale gold which would suggest it might not have been coloured and I am not sure when chill filtration was introduced in the Scotch whisky industry.

Nose: Fresh fruit with lemon and green pears, some grassy notes, some malt notes, sweet, cereal, vanilla, hints of violet and Cognac. Good start here!

Palate: Honeyed malt, rounder and maltier, not as fresh as on the nose, vanilla, some spice appears after a while with a hint of bitterness. Nutty cereal and still a little citrus kicking around. Better than I was expecting!

Finish: Barley sugar, lemon sherbet, a bit drying with some grainy notes. Not the longest or the most memorable finish.

With water: The nose becomes sweeter but still a lot of honeyed fruit. The palate gets a bit more heat but loses some interest, becoming a little grainier and so does the finish. I only added 4 or 5 drops of water but they were definitely not needed!

Overall, this was a very good surprise. I thought the odds would be against it but it is still a whisky that I have enjoyed, a little bit of Scotch history which didn't break the bank! Would I buy a whole bottle, again, probably not because of the price, but if I had one, I would happily drink it!
Thanks again Mark and Cheaper by the Dram for making these accessible to mere mortals like me!



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