Glenturret claims to be the oldest active distillery in Scotland, but as is often the case with extravagant PR claims, the truth is never quite so simple. What is not in question is that distillation has taken place in the Crieff area on the site now occupied by the Glenturret distillery since at least 1775, with some sources indicating the presence of illicit stills going back at least to 1717.
The distillery on Glenturret's site was originally called Hosh in 1775, and indeed there was a nearby (unrelated) distillery using the name Glenturret from 1826 until the 1850s. The Hosh distillery bought the right to use the name Glenturret in 1875, its centenary year.
However, after a lull during WWI, the 1920s were unkind to Glenturret. The distillery was severely affected by Prohibition and fell silent in 1921 before officially closing in 1923. The last cask of spirit left the premises in 1927, and in 1929 Glenturret was dismantled, with all the equipment being sold and the distillery buildings being converted for farming use.
Thereafter Glenturret was closed for three decades until the intervention of James Fairlie, who bought and refurbished the distillery with new buildings and completely new equipment in the late 1950s. So can the present distillery really claim to be the oldest active distillery in Scotland - or, as some authorities (including Malt Maniacs) would attest, is it one of Scotland's newest distilleries?
In any event, Glenturret is thriving these days with the most visited distillery visitor centre in the industry, thanks to its association with owner Edrington Group's Famous Grouse blend (into which the vast majority of Glenturret's very small output goes). Glenturret is also famous for Towser, a vicious distillery mouser (perhaps because of her silly name), who entered the Guinness Book of Records in the 1980s and was estimated to have killed nearly 29,000 mice before passing away shortly before her 24th birthday.
A very small proportion of Glenturret's stock is kept back for release as a single malt. The 12yo is a whisky driven by European Oak casks, these casks add their distinctive character as the whisky matures, never overpowering, but enhancing and developing to give a rich, layered complexity of flavour and a deep russet colour.
Nose: Toasted tea cake packed with raisin, along with cinnamon and oily toasted nuts - particularly walnuts.
Palate: Spiced, stewed apple, with candied ginger bringing warmth alongside waxy citrus peels.
Finish: Dry and spicy, full of toasty oak.