Confession time: When I first saw a bottle of Inverleven Gordon & MacPhail 1991 at the pub, I honestly thought it wasn’t a whisky. The label was far away, I’m almost as blind as a bat, and it just doesn’t look like a Scotch.
It looks like a tequila or a high end buffalo grass vodka. And who has heard about Inverleven anyway? There’s no reviews (that I could find) in the archive, so really, this must be some type of alcohol that I’ve just never heard about.
After some internet digging, I found out that Inverleven was in fact a Scotch. Mothballed back in 1993, this fairly young (started in 1938) distillery was a little bit of an oddball, being one of the few to hop the line between Highland and Lowland, they further tried to change things up by creating a labour intensive still that could easily change the flavours inherent in the still.
Well if that information doesn’t warrant a dram, I don’t think I’d be into whisky.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Age: 15 years
Colour: Sunlight in a cartoon
Nose: Pepper, pineapple, light cigarettes, lime, peppermint candy, faint strawberry, mixed flowers
There’s a very faint smell here. It’s familiar to the Lowland area in that it has the fruit and floral, though the tarry/tobacco smell makes me think of some Highlands I’ve had.
Very light though, the 40% is doing it no favours.
Taste: Pineapple, grapefruit, blossoms, light caramel, oily, ginger, honey, carrots
Very fruity, little bit of spice. Was expecting more smoke, though there’s no fire here. It’s back to being a little more earthy Lowland.
It makes me wonder if Inverleven were still around if we’d have different points of view on Lowlands. Like, would this be the Bunnahabhain of the Lowlands, doing something kinda wacky and zany.
Granted I just compared Bunnahabhain to Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, so maybe the trip is starting to weigh on me.
Finish: Lime, pepper, perfume, maple, yeast, sugar/frosting, orange, metallic, smoked ham
Cloying, cloying, and somewhat messed up finish. It’s trying to do too many things at once.
And you know what I’m thinking, aren’t you? Well yes, but how are we going to convince a gorilla to tango to hardcore metal.
Conclusion: This is very much a mad scientist experiment (trying to take over the world!) It jumps about to over lands, has some interesting flavours, and then the finish is a mess. Good try by Gordon & MacPhail. I’ve read of some older bottlings of Inverleven, and will keep an eye out for them as I go along.
Scotch review #103, Lowland #11, Whisky Network review #133