I was kindly sent a Girvan "vial pack" as thanks for some photos I took of their stand at The Whisky Show last year.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of grain whiskies, so I viewed this as an excellent kindness on their part. But it's also no secret that I'm something of a proselytiser for grain whisky, and I realised that it would be quite immoral to keep this bounty to myself! I arranged to share it with Ben Cops and The Whisky Cyclist, both of whom have kindly put up with my grainy predilections over the years. After talking about it for several months we finally set a time and location and got down to it.
The pack has four 50cl bottles at 42% abv:
- Girvan Patent Still New Make
- Girvan Patent Still No. 4 Apps
- Girvan Patent Still 25 Year Old
- Girvan Patent Still 30 Year Old
We topped this up with two independent bottlings:
- The Whisky Agency Girvan 48 Year Old
- SMWS G7.2 "Fascinating and inspiring"
About Girvan Distillery
Girvan is a grain distillery built in 1963 by William Grant & Sons, who also own the Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Ailsa Bay and Kininvie malt distilleries. It first distilled on Christmas day in 1963 and is the second largest distillery in Scotland producing around 103 million litres of spirit per year. (They could produce a little more, but stop distillation for two weeks of every year to clean everything.) It has three sets of stills, and uses a unique multi-pressure system that allows distillation under partial vacuum - thus lowering the boiling point, and allowing flavours to be carried by the boiling alcohols without being burnt. Clever! But this behemoth of a distillery isn't what everyone would call a pretty face. The traditional distillery image of a pagoda roof and whitewashed walls isn't the case here - Girvan is an industrial site, planned with purpose and run with precision.
Which, frankly, sounds like my kind of place - I'd probably spend hours tracing all the piping trying to reverse engineer their stills!
Now, let's get on to those tasting notes...