The Story of Coopers Choice
Glen Elgin is an unusually distinctive Speyside single malt, from a little known traditional distillery, that finds its home 10 miles south of where the river Lossie exits to the sea and about 40 miles east of Inverness.
Founded at the end of the whisky boom in 1898, it was built and designed by the notable distillery architect Charles Doig of Elgin. Today, as the summer house-martins swoop among the worm tubs at the distillery on the edge of the Royal Burgh of Elgin, little seems to have changed in over a hundred years.
As many as a hundred malt whisky distilleries have been born in the green glens of Speyside. Many of them, like Glen Elgin, were built in the boom years just before 1900.
But even as the new chimney stacks rose, trouble was brewing in the whisky industry. Glen Elgin’s designer, the renowned Elgin architect Charles Doig, made the prediction, that this would be the last distillery built on Speyside for fifty years. Even this turned out to be conservative; it was actually 60 years before Tormore became the next.
At least, in Glen Elgin, the best was saved for last. And, in fact, little has changed in a hundred years.In the 1930s, it became part of Scottish Malt Distillers, for whom it was an important component of the well-known White Horse blend.
Innovations were rare during Glen Elgin’s first half century though one was crucial – the site had partly been chosen for its ability to make use of abundant water supplies from the Glen Burn to drive a turbine that provided most of the power needed to run the machinery. As a result, electricity from the national supply was not needed until 1950.
The early 1960s brought much needed investment and four new stills were finally added to the original two. Glen Elgin™ became available as a single malt and exports of a 12 year old expression, predominantly to Italy and Japan, began in 1977.
As a Speyside malt, its style, of course, is smooth, mellow and sweetly honeyed. Soft spring water comes from the area of Millbuies Loch to the south-east of the distillery. Close your eyes as you nose a glass and you can almost see bees pollinating flowers, then honey- sweet and malty flavours dominate the palate - even a dash of tangerine fruitiness can be found.