Girvan / Ladyburn / Rare Ayrshire


Girvan distillery was founded in 1963 by Wm. Grant & Sons Ltd to supply grain whisky for their blends. In 1966 they added an extra pair of stills to the complex to produce single malt whisky under the name Ladyburn, also sometimes bottled as Rare Ayrshire.

Sadly they discontinued production of 'Ladyburn' and Rare Ayrshire in 1976 and demolished the equipment in 1978 but there are a few bottlings of Ladyburn or Rare Ayrshire if you look hard enough. Girvan grain whisky continues being produced to this day.


Distillery photo with kind permission by Teimei Horiuchi


More great distillery info here thanks to Malt Madness




Rare Ayrshire

  General whisky characteristics: Fresh, intense and very floral  

Signatory,  Rare Ayrshire 1975, aged 34 years, distilled 21.2.1975, bottled Oct. 2.3.2009,  46.9% ABV

Cask Strength Collection, Cask No. 562, bottle No. 10 of only 172

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Stunning! A complex mixture of malt, perfume, flora and just a hint of the dentist's chair.

Palate: This grows on the palate! It starts slowly with fresh herbs but quickly expands with a floral delight which is both fresh and intense, but very difficult to identify individual components, probably as there are many.

Finish: Long and intense, fading slowly.

Overall Impression: Don't let my "dentist's chair" comment put you off, I fear them with a vengeance, but this whisky has a slightly antiseptic freshness and intensity which initially reminded me of the dreaded dentist. Having said that, it is fresh, intense, but also extremely floral, lightly perfumed and a total delight! Now why can't the dentist be like this?





Girvan single grain whisky

  General whisky characteristics: Sweet, aromatic, fruity butterscotch  

Hunter Hamilton Co., Clan Denny, Girvan,  20y, vintage 1990 59.3% ABV

Bourbon barrel cask No. HH 5794

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Honey, light gold

Nose: Very aromatic with honey, raspberries and quite floral, sweet malty butterscotch.

Palate: A wonderfully creamy mouth-feel and very floral with herb-butter, apricot and butterscotch.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is sweeter and more floral, whilst the palate has turned even smoother and creamier with raspberries and toffee.

With 4 more drops: Oats, malt and butterscotch are now prominent on the nose whilst a bouquet of wild herbs appear on the palate.

Finish: Long and intense, even longer with water.

Overall Impression: Delightful, sweet herb bouquet in a glass.



Wilson & Morgan, Girvan,  35y, 1979-2015

Cask 900008

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: Suggestions of dry grasses (hay?), even a slightly bitter woodiness, fruitiness akin to sour apple and is that just a hint of brasso?

Palate: This is really alive as it expands across the palate with a pepperiness. It's also sweet with a hint of butterscotch but then it seems to gain a mild bitterness towards the finish.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: Bitter sweet nice-ness.



Old Particular, Girvan,  25y, 51.5% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Sweet, candy floss, very mild nuttiness, gently perfumed like a meadow of wild flowers in the sunshine. Lovely.

Palate: This really is sweet, even on the palate as it reminds me of the old sweet shops from my childhood and in particular those chewy little fruit salad sweets. It's also light, gentle and mildly perfumed as was the nose.

Finish: Long, light, perfumed.

Overall Impression: Delightful.



Hunter Laing, Girvan,  30y, 53.9% ABV

The Sovereign, Cask HL15559, bottle 45 of 254

Distilled Oct. 1988, bottled Nov. 2018

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: 9ct gold

Nose: Very aromatic but yet quite delicate in style with butterscotch, sweetness and butteriness.

Palate: A creamy mouth-feel offering suggestions of butterscotch, hazelnut, buttery toffee and just a hint of caramel.

With 3-4 drops of water: The nose is even milder in character and more buttery. The palate has an even creamier or smoother mouth-feel.

Finish: Long and gently nutty.

Overall Impression: Lovely whisky, but then I am a bit of a sucker for older grains. Surprisingly I loved it even more with the few drops of water.








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