Inverleven 1985 (G&M Private Collection)

There’s rare and there’s rare. After around 3000 tasting notes I only tried one (other) Inverleven, a Lowlands distillery that was founded by Hiram Walker in 1938 and became part of the Dumbarton complex, where they produced different types of whisky for the Ballantine’s blend. Malt production ceased in 1991, some of the stills went to Port Charlotte and are now at Waterford in Ireland. Inverleven never had any official bottlings.

This Inverleven 1985 was just released by Gordon & MacPhail as one of the first relaunched Private Collection bottlings.



Inverleven 1985 - G&M Private CollectionInverleven 33 yo 1985 (57,4%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Private Collection’ 2018, refill bourbon barrel #562, 130 btl.)

Nose: a slightly curious combination of Fanta, apricot juice, menthol and floral hints of hand cream and verbena. Marzipan and vanilla custard. Pineapple, lime and guava. Hints of hay and yellow flowers. Quite silky and a profile that I haven’t seen often.

Mouth: kind of a peppery yoghurt with banana and vanilla. Green tea. A bit of a lipstick waxy note too. Coconut cream. The silkiness is somewhat disturbed by a growing oaky kick, toasted malt and ginger. Fades on grassy notes.

Finish: long, grassy, with creamy undertones and charred oak.

A slightly quirky combination: traces of tropical fruits à la Littlemill but also a peculiar waxy side and a floral edge. Unlike other distilleries I would say, always a bonus. Much, much better than the Inverleven 1979 I had. Available from The Whisky Exchange.

Score: 89/100