Archive for the ‘Dufftown’ Category

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Dufftown 2007 (9 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: HEP0249/ Dist: May 2007 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

Aromas of damp earth, liqourice, malt, barley and lightly toffee’d oak. It’s a little raw and edgy, but there is a touch of estery fruit and the barley notes develop well.

The palate is relatively robust and barley’d. Relatively clean and displaying a pleasant barley sweetness. A little edgy citrus appears on the middle, but it doesn’t get bent out of shape. Good length with the oak coming through long with hints of greengage and white liquorice.


Carn Mor Strictly Limited Dufftown 2009 (7 year old) 46%

Bourbon Hoggy/ Austrian Riesling Finish

Dist: 2009 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

Initially the aromas are heavy on the sweet-ish and petroly Riesling. Fresh white fruit, melon, barley, white liquorice, sweet vanilla and toffee follow as it settles down. There is a light industrial note beneath but there are plenty of other characteristics to balance.

The palate opens with a little more of the harder barley notes but again the wine finish softens. Hints of barley, grass and crisp citrus come through and lead into a slightly floral middle. Hang on, Dufftown, floral?! Good grief! The finish is a little hot but spicy. Finally the ‘distillery character’ returns but there’s enough lingering winey fruit to offset.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Dufftown 1999 (13 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0976/ Dist: Nov 1999 Btl: Apr 2013/ Tasted: May 2013

A hard, slightly industrial nose ( as expected) with hints of hard, candied barley, slightly sawdusty oak and earthy-coffee’d-spice. 

The palate opens with the brittle barley, citrus and a touch of vanilla oak. A touch of stewed fruit becomes apparent on the middle as do some spices however it still finishes rather austere, alcoholic and hard.

Gordon & MacPhails Dufftown 1998 (13 year old) 43%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1998 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

A lovely, fresh, citrusy, grassy and herbal nose. Quite elegant and fruity with a touch of old straw. 

The palate is soft and a touch confected and slightly watery. Fairly straightforward, yet a pleasant depth of straw like fruits. A good length with the alcohol barrelling through on the finish along with hints of burnt caramel. Pleasant spicy after taste though.

Conclusion: Pleasant if a bit unremarkable.

Murray McDavid Dufftown 1979 (17 year old) 46%

Fresh Sherry Cask MM1489 / Dist: Dec 1979 Btl: Aug 1997/ Tasted: Feb 2003

A stinky, earthy, vegetal Oloroso sherry nose with some rich fruit lurking and a distinct loamy/ soil character. The palate is concentrated Oloroso. A viscous, menthol laced soft fruit attack leads into a vegetal middle and a damp  soily finish.

Murray McDavid Maverick Dufftown 1993 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon – Syrah finished/ Dist: 1993 Btl 2004/ Tasted: Mar 2006

The nose is unctuous and oily with rich almost sherried fruit, alcohol soaked fruit cake, nuts and a hint of earth. In the mouth it is a delight, full of orange and peach fruit and a touch of cream. Medium bodied and full of the Syrah enhanced spicy fruit coming through on the middle. Very long with the bourbon oak coming back on the finish.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Dufftown 1995 (18 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLP0024/ Dist: Feb 1998 Btl: Apr 2015/ Tasted: May 2015

Initially the aromas are a little hard but the barley is quite fragrant. Lightly herbal with a touch of pollen and green fruit. With time a touch of toffee comes through.

The toffee appears first on the palate followed by the green fruit and herbal notes. A little industrial on the middle but the toffee is working hard to keep it contained! Medium length. Quite citric and a little hot on the finish. Lightly smoked after-taste.


Douglas Laing Directors Cut Dufftown 1982 (30 year old) 51.7%

First Fill(?) Sherry/ Code: DIR0018/ Dist: Mar 1982 Btl: Apr 2012/ Tasted: Apr 2012

A rich, very mature sherried nose of slightly balsamic, macerated fruit, liquorice, treacle and wood smoke. Edgy and ever so slightly industrial (there’s no escaping that Dufftown character) but there’s no doubting that this nose has a sublime depth to it.

Wonderfully mature on the palate. Time and oxidation has given it an almost Armagnac-esque rancio with treacle coated dark fruit and plenty of building, yet soft tannins. Heavily sherried but bursting with liquorice accented dried fruit and a beautiful array of mature spice. Yes it’s quite woody but it’s also extremely well balanced.

A drop of water makes the nose wonderfully aromatic allowing more raisinated fruit to show along with pepper, clove and a hint of old wood vanillins. It has also lost the slight balsamic/ industrial note as dilution opens it out quite nicely. The palate has become lighter now and a little peppery mature marc notes appear as the sherry is pushed back. Very long with a dusty spice coated juicy dried date and sultana finish. Stunning stuff.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Dufftown 1992 (28 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2035/ Dist Nov 1992 Btl: June 2011/ Tasted: June 2011

Hold the front page!!!!!!………. The nose isn’t too bad! Yes it is still industrial (there’s no escaping the distillery character) but there is plenty of barley sugar and honey to balance out the industrialness. Hang on this is remarkably complex. There are hints of walnuts, fragrant Lilly and plenty of manly, oily honey and sawdusty/ violet tinged oak. OMG!! This is actually (dare I say it!) Very good. Imagine a mature Glen Grant roughing it and you will see what I mean.

The palate is a text book example of controlled oiliness. Not too heavy and not too light. It liberally coats the hard edged barley and honey, which amazingly keeps the industrial roughness at bay. The middle is redolent of old marc with hints of liquorice, greenish walnuts, plump juicy sultana, macerated prunes and an Armagnac-esque dried fruit rancio. Finally ending with a burnt rubber and hot alcohol note (well it is still Dufftown!)

All I can say is this is a unicorn, a mythic beast – It’s a bottling of Dufftown I’d actually like to drink, and I never though I’d say that!!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Dufftown 1982 (30 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2224/ Dist: Nov 1982 Btl: Dec 2012/ Tasted: Jan 2013

Lightly oily and industrial aromas with a rather pleasant floral/ citrus edge. The distillery ‘character’ is balanced by a huge dollop of mature honey, which builds and becomes the focal point of the nose. Light, dusty spice and a touch of liquorice appears.

The palate is lightly oiled, opening with some hard barley but like the nose it is softened by the honey. Quite floral, if a little spirity and hard on the middle with the oily, mature honey developing rather pleasantly. Quite a woody, fine grained tannin finish, which brings some dry spice.

Dewar Rattray Dufftown 1976 (32 year old) 55.4%

Bourbon Cask 7753/ Dist: 1976 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: Oct 2008

Faintly rubbery aromas of old vegetation – yum! (Note the sarcasm!) There’s some mature orange fruit but the rubber becomes more intrusive. Like the distillery bottling its not subtle, earthy and rustic would be the kind way of putting it.

The palate is oily, mature and earthy with a rubbery middle (surprise!). It’s redolent of old fruit, decaying rose petals, manure and alcohol! – Yes it’s that pleasant!

A drop of water isn’t much help in fact it my notes say – Yuk, earthy, manure and old rose water with a side serving of old rubber! Enough said!

Dewar Rattray Dufftown 1976 (35 year old) 58%

Bourbon cask 7743/ Dist: 1976 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A big, brawny nose of bruised honey and succulent dried fruit. There is still an undeniable touch of the industrial about this (farmyards and manure).However it is very complex with some fleshy almost agave notes followed by roughly, burnt coffee grains, but, and this is the big but, that lovely mature honey and oak is keeping all that industrialness warped up in a blanket. Although every now and again it does yell ‘I’m a Dufftown goddamn it!’ But damn it’s good! I think I need to sit down! 

The palate opens with some hard barley with a gentle industrial note. Burnt coffee grains and a forest full of tannins follow. The oils and alcohol build in intensity along with an almost floral marc-like note and a touch of decaying straw. My god it has an alcohol punch at the finish. A rough and ready Dufftown with enough mature honey to round off the edges! 

Diluted the nose becomes a tad cleaner and leaner, but the coffee notes have become quite herbal now. In fact you might be forgiven for thinking this was from a refill-sherry cask given the abundance of herbal notes. The palate is ever so slightly watery and a touch confected, again revelling in that herbal pusedo-sherry character. Very oily now with the hard as nails barley more prominent and a serious amount of pepper on the finish. Still it is actually quite enjoyable, and definitely not dull!

Dewar Rattray Dufftown 1976 (35 year old) 58%

Bourbon cask 7742/ Dist: 1976 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Mar 2012

Oh my God. Surprisingly cultured and distinctly un-industrial! Those are definitely words I never though would come to mind when tasting a duffer! The aromas are quite dense and herbal with no shortage of mature honey, liberally sprinkled with icing sugar. There is a hint of roughly sawn, slightly damp timber which morphs into an earthy kind of character and there is even a slight violety note. Now eyes closed you could almost mistake if for an old Glenrothes, albeit from the wrong side of town! 

Soft, gentle and quite oily on the palate, opening with plenty of wood tannins and sweet wood spices. Now at this point it could have become mouth puckeringly dry, but…… it doesn’t! The sumptuous, mature, herbal honey puts a stop to that and it evolves into a lovely macerated, liquorice mouthful. A bit piquant and edgy on the middle but a lovely barley light sugar comes back, mingles with some garnity/ mineral notes. Only in the after taste does it reveal that’s it’s a Dufftown, but only in a controlled, earthy, un-musty, un-industrial, un-murky fashion! Good grief! This is a superb old duffer! Is this a fluke? Who knows, just buy it and enjoy this very unlikely experience!

Bladnoch Forum Dufftown 1982 (26 year old) 53.8%

Hogshead 18586/ Dist: 1982 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Sept 2009

The nose has a light re-fill sherry character to it with mature honey, hickory and wood spices. It’s quite pleasant by Dufftown standards but there is no getting away from the expected slightly earthy-murky note often associated with this distillery.

The palate opens with that almost re-fill sherry note along with some brittle barley and honey. Like the nose the ‘distillery character’ asserts itself with a tart sharpness and after the alcohol passes it leaves a distinctly metallic note behind.

A drop of water brings out a slight linseed/ turpentine note. On the palate, like the nose has become oilier with a briefly sugared light engine oil character. It is a classic down and dirty Dufftown, with a hard, quite woody finish. I actually quiet enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way.

Singleton of Dufftown Trinite 40%

Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: Quite oily and dense with impenetrable slabs of coffee-caramel. Hints of malt and digestive biscuit.

Palate: Flat and caramelised with digestive biscuit, malt and more caramel!

Finish: Medium length with a touch of spice and, er, caramel!

Conclusion. Too heavy handed with the caramel one thinks.

Singleton of Dufftown Unite 40%

Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: Pungent, tequila-esque pulped, fleshy white fruit. Quite oily with hints of rose petal marc and developing burnt caramel notes.

Palate: Quite herbal with plenty of burnt caramel which flattens.

Finish: Surprisingly long with some peppery tequila-esque notes in the finish and a botanical after-taste.

Conclusion. The nose was quite interesting but the palate was complexly flat.

Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire 40%

Tasted: July 2014

The nose is young, hard but relatively clean bar the slightly odd combination of perfume and light cardboard! A little spirity with plenty of dense, coffee’d sherry. Maybe it should have been called schizophrenic? 

The palate is a little on the hard side with a straightforward mix of firm barley, coffee and a touch of cardboard. Young and a little hot on the finish, but still relatively clean!

The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old 40%

Tasted: Sept 2008

A pungent and oily nose with some obvious sherry cask influence. Uncompromising (to put it nicely) and rough around the edges. The palate is intense and malty with obvious sherry character. It’s spirity and alcoholic, not exactly what you would call a malt with finesse. A drop of water makes the nose slightly soapy and emphasises the oils. Although it lessens the alcohol burn it still short and a bit rough. At least it seems to have lost its rubbery note, so I guess it’s an improvement after all?

Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old 40%

Tasted: Feb 2012

A dense and dramatic nose that seems older. Quite woody and malty with earthy honey and dried fruit. It develops some herbal nuances as some botanical spirit emerges. Underneath there is some light but juicy fruit.

The palate is soft and rather caramelised – crème brulee, creamy toffee and yet more toffee. Good length with a continuation of the toffee-caramel theme. Some herbal notes and late spice. Conclusion: A lovely nose but the palate is rather too oak dominated.

Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old 40%

Score: 9.1

Nose: dense, luscious, honeyed and fragrant with straw-like barley and sweet malt. Full and lightly nutty (refill sherry?) Beautifully sweet/citrus balance with hints if Orange, coffee and developing light peat and spice.(3.8)

Palate: soft, silky, youthful honey, barley and malt. Quite full with a refill-sherry sweetness along with hints of citrus, spice and light earthy-peat.(3.6)

Finish: lovely length with the honey lingering and finishing with the crisp citrus.(1.7)

Conclusion: a lively, classy Spey.

Singleton of Dufftown 15 year old 40%

Score: 7.9

A dense nose of herbal honey with a slight industrial note. Quite oily with some maturing fruit, barley and sweet vanillins. With time the oak becomes lightly sawdusty. (3.6)

Palate: Opens with a load of toffee and caramel. And continues in that vein, maybe there’s some fruit under all that oak. (3.0)

Finish: Medium length with a touch of citrus and minerals coming through. Lingering oak! (1.4)

Conclusion: Lovely nose, but the oak has trampled all over the palate.

Singleton of Dufftown 18 year old 40%

Score: 7.6

Nose: Taught, herbal Oloroso with hints of perfumed orange and grilled nuts. Good depth with hints of fragrant spice and earth. Late sour cherry note. (3.3)

Palate: Soft and a little watery. Simple, nutty sherry with hints of creamy coffee and building oils. (2.9)

Finish: Good length with some herbal spirit notes coming through. (1.4)

Conclusion: Pleasant nose, dull palate, disconnected finish.