Are You a GLEN Master? 19/02/2016 in Musings

How well do you know your Glen’s

WHEN some of the heavyweights in the world of whisky start with a ‘Glen’, you wonder whether it’s some kind of lucky charm of a word that makes it a bestseller. The charm did charm the pants off fans of the hit American sitcom ‘How I Met You Mother’ when they trolled the whisky market for a certain ‘Glen McKenna’ after it became the bottle to own on it. But hey, this is where I pop in and you pause – there is a  Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Glenfarclas, Glen Grant – but there is NO Glen McKenna. It’s as fictional as it gets. The catch and click is the Glen, which basically means ‘valley’ in Gaelic, the perfect place to build and run a distillery and take advantage of the water supply. Hills and valleys, mountains and rivers – you see, all the Glens of this dram-atic playground owe their root words in Scottish. Unlike us Indians who refer to the ‘divine’ registry of names, the Scots like to keep it simple and straight – if the distillery is in a glen – the deep valley in the Highlands in Scottish – then Glen-whatever it is the baptized bottle of the day.

So you’ll have:-

‘valley full of water’ christened as Glenlivet or a Glenfiddich because it comes from valley of the deer. Valley of Tranquility is a Glenmorangie while valley of the wild Goose goes to Glengoyne. Be it from Speyside, nicknamed as the whisky Manhattan, the powerful spirited highlanders or the lighter floral tones of ‘Lowland Ladies’, all the glens come with from a rich geographical history.

So, with years of “Glen” drinking and generations backing you up, let’s see how many of these Glens can you strike off your list and we will call you a MASTER OF THE GLEN !


This was the first legal distillery in the Glenlivet region of speyside Scotland, thats how it acquired the prefix of “THE” before Glenlivet. Today its the market leader in single malts. Its characterised by a signature flavour of pineapples, touch of toffee and gentle floral notes when young.


Owned and produced by William Grant & Sons in Dufftown, Scotland, Glenfiddich is a Speyside single malt Scotch whisky that proudly wears a stag symbol on chest because Glenfiddich means ‘Valley of the Deer’ in Scottish Gaelic. The brand is still owned by the founders descendants till date. The signature 12YO is characterised as being crisp, fresh with loads of green apple & pear.


Glenmorangie is a single malt distillery in Tain, Ross-shire, the Highland region of Scotland. In 2004 the ownership was acquired by the company louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the same company which later went on to acquire Ardbeg single malt scotch whisky. The distillery boasts of the tallest stills in Scotland that imparts an elegant character to their malts. The signature characteristic of the malt is delicate, light, fruity, floral, caramel and mildly scented.


One of the few family run distilleries with 6 generations of distilling experience behind it since 1836. Barring the Glenfarcalas 40 Year Old, all other variants are made with whiskies matured in sherry and bourbon casks. As the ageing progresses the influence of sherry on the whisky also enhances interwoven by that natural wood and spice.


Constructed by the brothers John & James Grant, this distillery travelled many journeys from Scotland to Italy. Founded in 1840 in Rothes, Speyside and owned by Chivas Brothers, it was later taken over by an Italian company in 2005, Gruppo Campari, and became the largest selling single malt scotch in Italy. Its characterised to have a soft and delicate body, a clean light dram full of orchard flavours.


Glenkinchie distillery is a single malt whisky distillery in East Lothian, Scotland. It is one of the six distilleries in the Lowland region and is set in a farmland. Typical Lowland whiskies tend to have a light, dry and fragrant character, making it a bit less complex than their Highland colleagues. Distilleries like Glenkinchie offer a slight variation to the signature Lowland style by varying cask finishing offered.


A single malt distillery based in Speyside region of Scotland, it was acquired in 2004 by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey ad four years hence they sold it to La Martiniquaise. The latter used the distillery much for its malt and later modernised it in parts and undertook the cultivation of Glen Moray as a malt. Its a malt with a signature toffee sweetness, herbal on the nose, bit grassy in areas with hints of peat and anise.


In operation every since it was founded in 1833, Glengoyne Distillery comes from Dumgoyne, north of Glasgow, Scotland. One of the prettiest distilleries, this is a unique single malt for it is produced in Highlands but matured in the Lowlands. The signature Glengoyne has a characteristic green apple favour, this works wonderfully well with the (mostly) Sherry maturation, leading towards dried fruits, spicy and nutty flavours.


The distillery came under the fold of the Erdington Group in 1887. The group was especially interested in the quality of its malt for the purpose of its blends. Described as a top dressing malt, one which is very appropriate for its ability to marry all components in a blended scotch whisky. The malt is characterised with vanilla, butterscotch, aromatic spice, bitter orange rind and lots of syrupy goodness.


This one’s a part of the list for the love and amazement of Towser, the distillery cat and to make your “GLEN MASTERS” a killer accomplishment !

So Towser, lived at Glenturret distillery for over 20 years, guarding the still room from the many mice she caught. Her Guinness Book of World Record – 28,899 mice !The distillery was established in 1775, making it perhaps one of the oldest. A signature Glenturret is fairly citrusy on the nose, with orchard fruit fragrance, traces of sherry notes, combination of spice and vanilla bringing the refill Spanish and American Oak memories to life.