Long one of the best values in single malt Scotch, Speyburn 10‘s price has risen only 6 bucks in the 12 years since we last reviewed it. As it happens, the whisky has changed a bit, most notably seeing its proof dropped from 86 to 80.
Tasting it fresh in 2023, we find a whisky with an outsized nose of fresh granary notes, showing as a bit leathery at times, with the lightest touch of smoke evoking aromas of smoldering underbrush. No fruit, no real sweetness, just the essence of cereal.
The palate kicks in with more to offer, though the grain-heavy backbone is never out of focus. Well-roasted cereal, almost overcooked at times, find room for some brighter notes of applesauce, a squeeze of lemon peel, and some sugary shortbread character. Uncomplicated as it develops, the finish melds sweetness with cereal notes, eventually developing into something resembling sweetcorn, served on vanilla wafers. That vaguely smoky quality lingers, however, keeping things in a savory check.
All told I am distinctly less enamored with Speyburn 10 today than I was a decade ago, though there is still no arguing with the extreme — and perhaps unmatched — value it offers in single malt Scotch.