Category Archives: St. Magdalene (Linlithgow)

Linlithgow 1982 (Mackillop’s Choice) Review

Another beauty from the Lowlands. And another drop of liquid history in the glass. St. Magdalene (or Linlithgow as it has occasionally been known as) was a distillery founded on the site of a former leper colony. I may have mentioned that before. This is one of those lost distilleries that hasn’t quite caught the fancy of collectors to the same degree as a few others (whose names we’ve mentioned enough for now), but whose output unquestionably rivals some of those great legendary releases in terms of intrinsic quality. So the question, as always, is a frustrated ‘why?’ There are always answers, but none that are apt to satisfy the malt historian or closed distillery aficionado. Such is the nature of the game in an industry rife with peaks and troughs.

This uber scarce Mackillop’s Choice St. Maggie is a gem of a malt, though, so let’s simply enjoy the opportunity at hand, and not wax too nostalgic.

62.6% abv. Distilled in 1982 and bottled in 2001, so…a 19 year old. From cask #1336. And sadly, long gone.

Sincere thanks to my mate Brett Tanaka for the opportunity to taste this. The range of bottles he’s been opening for what we’ll call ‘The Brett Sessions’ are simply beyond comprehension. And I am beyond humbled to be able to partake. I’ll be reviewing dozens of them in the coming weeks/months.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Beauty. Soft creamy, fruit notes. Well worn and oiled leather. Honey on crackers. Soft threads of smoke and melted wax. Good pastry. Stewed tropical fruits as it develops. Peach cobbler. Moist tobacco.

Palate: Velvety arrival. High quality melted chocolate. Beautifully smoky. The fruit flavours are everywhere here: threaded throughout, drizzled on top and deeply resonant at the back end. Slightly wine-y (but in a pleasant way). Apple, with some ‘almost tropical’ flavours. Toasty clean oak.

Finish: Apple skins. Pear skins. Peach pits. Clean cereals and firm oak. Loooooooooong, oh so long.

Thoughts: All I can say is…please may I have more?


Linlithgow 1982 (Signatory) Review

Linlithgow 1982 (Signatory)040

63.1% abv

Score:  92.5/100


Sadly long absolete, Diageo’s St. Magdalene – or ‘Linlithgow’, as it is also known – was yet another casualty of the great distillery kill-off in 1983.

The names Linlithgow and St. Magdalene have been used interchangeably through the years, though the true name of the distillery is the latter.  Linlithgow is, in fact, the name of the town in the Lowlands in which the distillery lives (lived).

There’s a bit of an interesting story here with St. Magdalene.  A tale involving longevity, lepers and illicit distillation.  Go digging a bit if that sort of history fascinates you.  And history it will most likely remain.  After the ’83 mothballing, the site was converted for tenancy.  The odds of any sort of revival here are next to none.

This particular Signatory release is a 28 year old single malt pulled from a wine-treated butt.

Nose:  Chocolate.  Old magazines.  Dark chocolate and cherry.  Tootsie Rolls.  Some nice fruitiness emblazoned with mint.

Palate:  An Amrut-like zest and spice on delivery.  Hot and beastly (63.1% at 28 years!?!).  Chocolate.  Profile is that of an older whisky…the bite however, is that of a young dram.  Nice borderline tropical notes.

I really like this one.  Not sure what level extant stocks are at now, nearly 30 years after demolition, but methinks it may be time to hunt for further expressions from this long lost distillery.

(* Thanks to Andrew Ferguson of Kensington Wine Market for this sample)


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt