The St. Magdalene Engineers’ Beauty – Lost Distilleries Finale

Having reviewed the five other drams that were part of the `Gone But Never Forgotten’, we now arrive at my favorite dram of the flight, the St. Magdalene 20 year old, bottled for the 100th anniversary of Diageo Engineering  at the Ainslie & Heilbron’s buildings at 64 Waterloo Street in Glasgow, also depicted on the label.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Who are Ainslie & Heilbron and why is the Diageo engineering team in their building? By the end of the 19th century, Clynelish Distillery’s ownership passed to James Ainslie & Company, eventually merging into Ainslie & Heilbron, partially owned by DCL. They also owned Coleburn Distillery in partnership with John Walker and Company, as well as a large number of blends. The headquarters of this company was at the Coltas Building at 64 Waterloo Street:

Photo Credit: Robert Pool's Glasgow Collection on Flickriver

Photo Credit: Robert Pool’s Glasgow Collection on Flickriver

In celebration of 100 years of engineering at that location, Diageo bottled a single Oloroso sherry cask of St. Magdalene, the closest Diageo distillery to Glasgow.

St. Magdalene, 1935 Photo Credit: Diageo

St. Magdalene, 1935
Photo Credit: Diageo

The whisky was distilled on March 31st, 1978, was filled at 68.6% ABV and made it into the bottle after two decades at a very impressive 62.7% ABV. Said cask’s yield was just shy of 400 bottles, at 396. This one was a real treat, and took the top spot for me after a serious battle with the Convalmore (reviewed here).

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

St. Magdalene 20 Year Old, Waterloo St. Edition, 396 Bottles (62.7% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Mahogany with a strong necklace, almost not releasing droplets.

Nose: A bowl of fresh apricots, dry leather, toffee and mixed peppercorns (the kind that has black, green and red corns). There’s quite a bit of dryness on the nose.

Palate: Thick and viscous, spicy, leather, ripe red berries, dried fruit, wood spices with clove, nutmeg and a hint of cardamom. Again the dryness comes through.

Linger: Dry sherry on the tongue, spicy and dry on the back of the throat with some very pronounced tannic notes. The linger is VERY long and very dry. Yummy!


This bottle makes you feel sorry you didn’t go to Engineering school and worked for Diageo in 1998. It was tough beating out that beautiful Convalmore for the top spot, and I think it was the sherry that clinched it for me.

This masterclass was one of the real highlights of The 2015 Whisky Show, deftly led by Colin Dunn, who also sent me that old picture of the distillery in 1935.


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