Glen Flagler is one of the rarest names in the modern Scotch whisky history. It’s actually not a distillery but the name for a set of stills within the Moffat distillery complex, traditionally a grain whisky production site built by Inver House.
The oldest pair of stills produced grain whisky (Garnheath) and two pairs of pot stills produced malt whisky (under the names Glen Flagler, Killyloch and Islebrae, in order of peatiness). One pair of malt stills only worked from 1965 until 1970, the ones used for Glen Flagler kept running until 1985.
Since only a handful of expressions exist, Glen Flagler is a collectors whisky rather than a drinkers whisky.
Some bottles of Glen Flagler are ‘pure malts’, vatted or blended malts. This one says ‘all-malt Scotch’ which, frankly, could mean the same. Some would say we’re not necessarily trying a single malt. On the other hand, it probably indicates malt whisky made in different still sets within the same distillery. Sounds like a single malt to me.
There’s a similar label that says ‘5 years old’. The one we’re trying doesn’t have an age statement but it’s probably of a similar age. Also, this is the older version (pre-1979) with red print (instead of white) at the bottom.
Glen Flagler ‘all-malt’ (70° proof, OB pre-1979, black red shield, 1 2/3 fl.oz.)
Nose: starts a little harsh with hints of hair spray, but it settles nicely. Lots of malty notes. Quite grassy and lemony, in the Lowlands tradition, but it also includes nice barley sugars and vanilla. Hints of pear eau-de-vie. Banana. Not too bad actually. Mouth: light and gentle, with a lot of citrus again, both zesty and candied notes. Grassy notes, hints of dried herbs. Hints of vanilla and toasted wood, but overall fairly thin. Light mocha. Finish: medium long, slightly grainy, not very interesting.
When compared to other similarly aged malts from the same era (say Glen Grant 5yo), it’s really not bad. Usually around € 200 in auctions, although some stores value it at € 600.