Sitting in a quiet corner of Fife, nestled in amongst the numerous golf courses and shimmering barley fields of the East Neuk, Kingsbarns Distillery has been filling casks since March 2015.
The distillery, the brainchild of former golf caddy Douglas Clement, is itself a juxtaposition of the old and the new. Built on the site of an old farmhouse it is a mix of the original 18th century building at one end, complete with a restored doocot, and the brand new and very shiny modern distillery at the other.
The Wemyss Family who are best known as independent bottlers, but who also have interests in both wine and gin, invested £3 million into the project. This, coupled with a Scottish government grant enabled the project to begin.
The distillery produces approximately 600,000 litres of spirit each year which is matured predominantly in bourbon casks from the Heaven Hill distillery but also a small number of STR (stripped, toasted and re-charred) wine barriques which, I presume might come from Rimauresq Cru Classe, the Wemyss Family wine estate in Cotes de Provence. (I may be wrong on this but if anyone knows for sure then please let me know)
This is the second release from the distillery as this follows the inaugural Founders Club bottling from several months ago. I have heard that there are several single cask expressions in the pipeline also.
Kingsbarns Dream to Dram, OB, NAS, 46%abv, press sample.
Initially very light on the nose, true to the lowland style. There are elements of distant orange, melon and a slight feinty feeling (which makes its presence felt but doesn’t overly intrude). There are elements of gorse bush, grass and faint honey here too, along with a distant dampness.
The palate is zesty and crisp with a slightly oaky white wine style dryness. Some redcurrents pop up in amongst the mainly cereal driven elements. There are light elements of both rosemary and a little spearmint. Ginger biscuits linger in the distance. In the mouth the liquid feels very light.
The finish is a little woody and herby with a gingery twist. Slight touches of linseed oil pop up right at the end.
In general it is really rather good, showing promise for its later years when the wood mellows its youth a little more.
Retailing their inaugural expression at £45 means at least this is one new distillery that is not completely taking the p*ss with its prices, which is refreshing and also indicates they are in it for the long run.
Which is nice to see.
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