Whisky Magazine Issue 1
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Tucked under the roof of Balvnie is a brand new and entirely separate distillery. Jim Murray charts the progress of Kininvie, currently 8 years old and maturing nicely
This would be called the forgotten distillery, had anyone heard of it in the first place. Kininvie is that rarest of beasts, a new working distillery that goes about its daily routine almost entirely unnoticed. Every year more than 100,000 tourists pour into the Glenfiddich distillery, just a few hundred yards away from Kininvie in the heart of Speyside. A few ask to see, and are shown, Balvenie, which is closer still. But only a handful of the world's more enlightened whisky connoisseurs know about Kininvie. So far.
Just as Gordon and Macphail's Benromach distillery finally comes back on stream further up the Elgin road, Kininvie is here showing what can be achieved. The oldest casks here are eight years old now, the distillery having been in operation since American Independence Day, 4th July 1990; rather fitting considering that it was built by and remains in the hands of the independent family firm of William Grant and Son.
More significantly, it was only by last summer that the first fruits of the six modest stills had ripened sufficiently to see it metamorphose from Blend Filler to Serious Single Malt. Even as recently as the winter of 1997 Kininvie was, as a 7 year old, tasting green enough to be considered a blending whisky only. An extra nine months has seen the birth of a malt that stands unfalteringly on its own feet, though it will take a few more years before it starts running and jumping.
Great news then for malt master David Stewart. ‘Funnily enough, we h...