St. Magdalene Strikes Back – A 32 Year Old Beauty

There’s something about St. Magdalene’s that holds a special place in my heart.

The few St. Magdalenes I’ve had were all complex, and all left me with a desire to further explore this distillery.

This is one of the first wave distilleries, established in the 18th century (around 1765, although some accounts put it at 1798 after getting an official license in 1797), and was owned by the Dawson family until ownership passed to DCL in 1912. In 1914 the distillery was one of the five founding members of the Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (the SMD). The distillery is sometimes known as Linlithgow, after the town in which it was located, which is incidentally also the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. The name St. Magdalene is derived from the former owner of the grounds, the St. Magdalene’s Cross which was a convent that housed a hospital for lepers.

Old Aerial Picture of St. Magdalene Distillery Photo Credit: Diageo

Old Aerial Picture of St. Magdalene Distillery
Photo Credit: Diageo

Colin Dunn of Diageo shared some old photos of the closed distilleries tasted in his closed distilleries masterclass at The Whisky Show, and I had one picture of St. Magdalene which I didn’t use in the posts on the tastings, so here’s a great place to share it.

I’ll mention that Cadenhead bottled a 30 year old 1982 in 2012, in the same Authentic Collection series.


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Cadenhead St. Magdalene 1982, 32 Year Old, Refill Butt Yielded 282 Bottles (58.1% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold with beautiful slow legs and a very long lasting necklace.

Nose: Dusty and sour notes with a grassy and floral undertone. It’s chalky with notes of honey and an even deeper sweetness with canned peaches, distant citrus and some lemon developing. Really complex! Water strengthens the lemon notes and brings out some perfume, and with some time more of the deep sweetness appears.

Palate: Bitter with light notes of honey, light spice and a chalky dryness. When held on the palate, a dusty spiciness fills your mouth, with the bitterness relegated to the finish. Water makes it a bit sweeter. Yum!

Linger: Dry spices on the palate, oak and a waxy coating on the palate. A lovely bitter note on the back of the tongue and the throat, with an overall dusty dryness.


Stunning dram! A classic old refill sherry with the sweet and dusty notes, together with the Lowlands spirit is just a winning combination. I don’t know how many more of these casks are still around, but WOW!

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