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E-pistle #18/06 – Glencraig Distillery Profile

E-pistle #18/06 – Glencraig Distillery Profile

By Ho-cheng Yao, Taiwan

Operational: 1958~1981
Region: Speyside (Findhorn)
Neighbours: Benromach, Mitonduff
Address: Forres, Morayshire, IV36 0QX
Last Owner: Allied Distillers Ltd. (at the time when it was produced)

Glencraig was the single Malt produced by Lomond stills in Glenburgie from 1958 to 1981. It was named after the manager Willie Craig. (Could be the only distillery named after a man.) The two Lomond Still were replaced by two pot stills after they were removed from the site. The Lomond still was invented by Alistair Cunningham,  a chemical engineer in Hiram Walker. The Canadian company need a solution to have 42 flavour malts within 6 distilleries in hand. His solution was a cylindrical still with a water jacket mounted vertically above it. Within the still neck were three rectifying plates that could be adjusted horizontally and vertically, and water-cooled or left to dry to vary the degree of reflux.  The angle of the lyne arm could also be changed to allow for even greater control of the reflux.  So, basically the whole design is to control the reflux to have different style malts.  How is that doing? Well, seems not very successful.  Almost all the Lomond stills that were installed were taken away because of the plate often becoming clogged with residue.

I had an experience to taste 4 different malts produced from Lomond stills, the whole experience was quite similar, creaming fruity and light. (I believe all were coming from bourbon casks.) But remember, the Lomond still was invent to product very different style malts, so the extent of difference must be the most important factor. It is very hard to find Glencraig malt in the market. Some of the malts available are:

Glencraig 19yo 1981/2001 (59,5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
Glencraig 21yo 1981/2002 (56.2%, Cadenhead’s, 240b.)
Glencraig 22yo 1981/2003 (57.5%, Cadenhead’s Auth. Coll., bourbon hog., 216 b.)
Glencraig 30yo 1974/2004 (40.2%, Rarest of the rare, Cask#2928, 229b.)
Glencraig 25yo 1975/2000 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice)
Glencraig 1970/1988 (40%, G&M CC)
Glencraig 1975 (40%, G&M CC new label)
Glencraig 1968 (40%, G&M Connoisseurs Choice, Old Map Label)
Glencraig 30yo 1974/2005 (51,1%, SMWS 104.6, 199 b.)
Glencraig 1975 (57.1%, Signatory)
Glencraig 1975/2004 (56.8%, Signatory)

References:

Whiskey, Michael Jackson, DK, First American Edition 2005
Whiskey, Walter Schobert, Neil Wilson, English Edition 2002
The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, Misako Udo, Distillery Cat, November 2005 revised