If you’ve never heard of the Kininvie Distillery, it’s because it functions as a shadow distillery (I’m coining that term). The entire “distillery” is essentially a still house within the estate of the Balvenie distillery. In fact, other than the stills, all other aspects of production are carried out using Balvenie’s equipment. So Kininvie operates within the shadow of Balvenie, hence the term I just coined. You heard it here first folks!
So what is the purpose of this parasitic distillery (mutually beneficial parasitism)? Well William Grant & Sons (the owners) use Kininvie whisky for blends and blended malts. You may have heard of Monkey Shoulder which is a blended malt comprised of Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie whisky. Single malt from Kininvie is quite rare, with older bottlings donning the name of Hazelwood. So when William Grant & Sons released an official bottling of Kininvie single malt under the Kininvie name, whisky peoples took notice.
As the title of this post suggests, this is a review for Batch 3. The first batch of Kininvie was released in October 2013 in the Taiwanese travel retail market only and was a 17 year old. It came in a 35cl bottle and retailed for about £83 (at least this is the best estimate I could find). Batch 2, released in the summer of 2014, was 23 years old and again came in a 35cl bottle but this time at a price of about £100. Batch 3 (this batch) was released in early 2015. Again it comes in a 35cl bottle and retails for about £120. Notice a trend here? Small bottle, big price, and getting more expensive. Despite all this, it didn’t seem to get quite the same backlash as the Laphroaig 21 yo 200th anniversary release did. People complained a lot about the £100 price tag for a 35cl bottle of Laphroaig 21yo but not so much about the £120 price tag for the Kininvie 23yo. Strange right? I think it has a lot to do with the feeling of entitlement with big brands, but that’s another story. Time for a taste!
P.S. This sample was given to me by my good friend Kolos from the Water of Life Society who attained the sample from Dramboree 2016! Thank you Kolos!
Age: 23 Years Old
Cask: Ex-bourbon casks and then 6 months in ex-sherry casks
Perfumey sweet apples. McDonald’s apple pies. Dried flowers. Cinnamon. Vanilla. Metallic sweetness.
The way t-shirts smell at trendy clothing shops. This mix of perfume and garment factories. Synthetic sweetness mixed with fruit juices. Laundry detergent. Cotton shirts. Like sucking on your shirt after spilling caprisun on it. Synthetic apple flavour.
Laundry detergent and clothing softeners. Hint of tart apple.
Well that was interesting. I will say I really enjoy trying something different and that was definitely a new one for me. It really evoked the memory of sucking on my t-shirt after spilling food or drink on it. Something I embarrassingly do often. The laundry detergent essence was really strong for me. Actually reminded me of a friend who always had this smell of fresh laundry. I know a lot of people hate soapy whiskies so I suspect these people will not like this. I wouldn’t drink this all the time but it does offer something to ponder and I like how it has just expanded my understanding of the range of flavours that whisky can have. I checked other reviews for this whisky after writing my own and they seem to be quite different with respect to the palate and finish. Not sure what is up with this.
Image at top source from: