North British



North British distillery Was founded on the outskirts of Edinburgh and started production in September 1887 when it produced just under 1million litres of spirit during the remainder of that year. By the start of WWI production had increased to around 9million litres, but lack of cereals caused a cessation in production in 1917.  Distillation resumed in 1920, but the onset of prohibition caused another drop in production in 1925. Things picked up again after 1933 and by 1937 production was back to almost 9million litres per year. 1988 saw a record 61.6million litres of spirit being produced.

Brands Which contain North British grain whisky include Famous Grouse, J&B Rare, JW Black Label & Cutty Sark.




North British, Single grain whisky, 1992-2007, 43% ABV

Independent bottling; Private Cellar

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold (9ct)

Nose: Light vanilla but this is quite weak and not much else happens for a few minutes. As time passes some delicate floral notes appear alongside newly cut wood and a freshness which is almost minty toothpaste.

Palate: Creamy and smooth with a distinct lack of pepperiness. Also light vanilla and very faint toffee or caramel, but it really is faint.

Finish: Medium to long, slightly bitter.

Overall Impression: I like delicate drams and love light, aromatic and floral, but this is perhaps just a little too light as it needs more depth and presence. If anything, the most presence is on the finish which has a little kick but is also slightly bitter. Perhaps it would benefit from a good few more years in the cask.



North British, Single grain whisky, 1962, 48y, 47.9% ABV

Independent bottling; Whisky Agency

Typical cost of this bottle; unknown


This "Whisky Agency" independent bottling of North British single grain whisky was part of a "Whisky Agency" masterclass at the Munich whisky fair in February 2011. Apparently it was one of a very few bottles brought to the fair as the rest of this outrun has already been allocated to a customer in (I think) Holland or Belgium, hence the lack of a proper label on the bottle.

Glass: Munich whisky fair

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Initially floral then including malt, oats and light butterscotch. Very aromatic!

Palate: Delightfully floral butterscotch.

Finish: Long, floral and gentle.

Overall Impression: Very, very good!



North British, Single grain whisky, 1991-2011, 20y, 55.8% ABV

Independent bottling for Master of Malt

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Aromatic floral butterscotch with some grasses, hay and just a hint of Brasso. The floral characteristics of the grasses and hay increase with time in the glass and are eventually joined by creamy vanilla.

Palate: Distinct butterscotch with some summer fruits (peach, apricot & papaya), all with an over-riding pepperiness.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is even more aromatic with grasses, hay and butterscotch. Thankfully the Brasso has now disappeared. The palate has more fruit and butterscotch, plus some toffee and much less pepperiness.

With a further 4 drops of water: More wood and vanilla on the nose now. The palate is again more smooth and floral.

Finish: Long with mostly butterscotch and fruit although there is a slight pepperiness right at the end.

Overall Impression: I do like a good single grain and this is no exception. Very enjoyable.




Signatory, North British, 20.9.1991-24.10.2011, 20y, 50% ABV

Cask 259478, Californian sherry butt, bottle 153 of 632

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light amber

Nose: An initial burst of leather, wood and raisins is quite surprising in a single grain, but still most enjoyable. Some light floral notes begin to develop after 2-3 minutes, maybe hyacinth?

Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with suggestions of toffee or fudge. Also some woodiness, sandalwood maybe. This is really very pleasant, but never very intense on flavour.

With 4 drops of water: The suggestion of toffee or fudge just intensified and enrichened to the point of suggesting treacle toffee.

Finish: Very long and gentle, quite subdued in flavour.

Overall Impression: Most enjoyable and those 4 drops of water really helped.




WhiskySpirits, North British, 1962-2010

Typical cost of this bottle; Unknown

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark rich amber

this is filled with flora in a slightly perfumed soap kind of way. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad, in fact it's quite wonderful with a freshness suggesting that perfumed soap. It also offers hints of musty wood and cherries.

Palate: This again suggests wood and cherries but it also includes hints of home-made fudge or creamy toffee..

Finish: This just goes on and on and on ...... in a quite luxurious way.

Overall Impression:
What can I say other than "wow", a true great that I could just drown myself in.




Adelphi, North British, 1962-2012, 50y, 44.2% ABV

Cask 39, one of 172

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark rich amber / teak

Nose: Intensely woody and fruity with lots of plums, raisins, currants and dark cherries. Some banana and custard too. Is that some brass polish (Brasso) in the mix or just remnants on aged country-house brass fittings?

Palate: Massive flavour punch with just about everything from the nose expanding across the palate. Very slightly dry with extra hints of butterscotch. Delightful.

Finish: Very long, dry and yet with a surprising creaminess.

Overall Impression: I'm impressed, very impressed. To the point of Greatness? Absolutely.



Douglas Laing, North British, Director's Cut series,

12.1962-4.2013, 50y, 53.3% ABV

Refill Butt, cask DL-Ref 9783, one of 150

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark amber

Nose: Lots of toffee in an intense and prickly way on the nose. Plenty of lightly toasted butterscotch too, then an almost, but not quite dark fruitiness. This is rich, lightly toasted and luxurious.

Palate: Lovely rich and tingly toffee-ness with what I can only describe as the flavour of caramalised apricot which, as I think about it, brings me back to what I described as 'almost fruity' on the nose.

Finish: Extremely long with that butterscotch repeating right at the end..

Overall Impression: This is rich, intense and just screaming to be enjoyed.






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