Kirkland Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

If you're a Costco member, you've undoubtedly been to the liquor section of your local club to see what they have. And, you've likely stumbled across its Kirkland store-brand whiskies and wondered to yourself, Can this be any good? Especially at that price? I know that thought has crossed my mind whenever I've perused the aisle.


Lately, I've been on a Scotch kick. I go through these cycles. Sometimes, it is Bourbon, Rye, and sometimes Irish, and I gravitate toward them for whatever reason. I lost my whisky virginity to Scotch, so it holds a special place in my heart. On the flip side, I'm not wealthy, and Scotch is an expensive part of an already costly whisky hobby.


A friend tipped me off on Kirkland Lowland Malt Scotch Whisky about a month ago. He told me how much he enjoyed it and suggested I check it out.


This Lowland Scotch comes to Costco via Alexander Murray Co., an independent bottler. The whisky slept for undisclosed years in ex-Bourbon barrels, then finished in former Sherry casks. It is packaged at 46% ABV (92°), and a 750ml sells for $26.00.


One of the frustrating things about buying Kirkland whiskies is you have no idea where it comes from because they are very tight-lipped about it. There are more Speyside and Highland distilleries than you can shake a stick at. However, there are only six Lowland distilleries: Annandale, Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Daftmill, The Girvan, and Glenkinchie. Let’s explore this a bit deeper.


  • Annandale is impossible to be the source; it simply doesn’t generate enough volume, plus it specializes in cask strength single cask single malts.
  • Auchentoshan is a fabulous distillery that makes distinctive single malts. However, unlike most Scotch distilleries that twice-distill, Auchentoshan does it thrice (hence its distinctiveness).
  • Bladnoch, Scotland’s most southern distillery, produces single malts and blended whiskies. It offers a non-age statement single malt and has enough capacity to support a client such as Costco.
  • Daftmill is a tiny operation that couldn’t begin to support commercial volume.
  • While The Girvan is one of the largest distilleries in all of Scotland, it specializes in grain whiskies, not single malts.
  • Glenkinchie is owned by spirits giant DIAGEO and is one of the four cornerstone distilleries for Johnnie Walker blends. It certainly has the capacity.

Long story short – the source is either Glenkinchie or Bladnoch.

EDIT TO ADD (5/27/24): There are two other Lowland distilleries that I missed:

  • Aisla Bay is owned by William Grant & Sons and supplies it with malt whiskies for its blends. It has the capacity to provide an entity such as Costco with whisky.
  • InchDarnie is a distillery that specializes in using grains that other distilleries have deemed "too difficult" to work with. 


As a Costco member, it was pretty easy for me to grab a bottle, and today, we’re going to dive deep and answer the questions from my introduction: Can this be any good? Especially at that price? Let’s #DrinkCurious and find out.


Appearance: I poured this Scotch into my Glencairn glass and sipped it neat. The liquid was a brassy color, and it formed a medium rim. Thin, slow tears crawled back into the pool.  


Nose: Smells of peaches and apricots dominated the aroma. Further exploration yielded pears, vanilla, and honey. When I took the air inside my mouth, it was filled with a sensation of grilled pineapples.


Palate: The creamy texture introduced the front of my palate to flavors of peaches, dried apricots, and raisins. I tasted raw honey, cocoa, and oak at mid-palate. The back featured cinnamon, clove, and toffee.


Finish: Medium-to-long in duration, the finish allowed cinnamon, clove, oak, cocoa, and raisins to remain. It was slightly drying.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Kirkland Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is easy to sip. There is nothing watered down, yet nothing that generates burn in your mouth and throat. Instead, some flavors complement one another and arrive almost logically. It can’t find anything faulty, and at $26.00, this is one hell of a whisky. My Bottle rating is well deserved. If you don’t have a Costco membership, find a friend who does so you can have one of your own. 

Oh, one final thing. I suspect the source to be Glenkinchie. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.




  1. Have really enjoyed your reviews here. I will remind myself to check out your website. Cheers 🥃


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