Archive for the ‘MacDuff’ Category

The Single Cask Macduff 1997 (19 year old) 53.5%

Cask 5278/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Jun 2017

OMG! Amazingly fresh, fragrant and almost perfumed with orange blossom honey, white fruit, apricot and mature, dusty oak. Where’s the burnt rubber and funkiness? Impressively clean with a touch of baked apple and lime. Very juicy and wonderfully balanced.

The palate is a little edgier but still pretty clean, with barley husks, cereal and lovely soft honey and mature oak. Supple wood tannins add hints of coffee and spice on the middle and the finish is long and grippy with those wood spices dancing on the tongue. Lovely length with lingering baked apple, hickory, grainy and coffee’d tannins. I’m seriously impressed by the progression and the cleanliness!


Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Macduff 2007 (9 year old) 55.5%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: Nov 2007 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Apr 2017

Quite a full nose with herbal, grin-like dried fruit. In fact it feels more like a grain whisky than a malt whisky. Tart Granny Smiths apple and gooseberry follow with a touch of nettles and fragrant pollen. To say it’s an austere nose is a bit of an understatement!

The palate opens with the tart green fruit, but overall the palate is fruitier with apricot, tangerine and some subtle toffee’d oak. The middle is still quite tight and subtly spiced. Grainy, peppery, sharp finish with a feinty industrial barley note.

Dilution brings out some aniseed and white liquorice on the nose, but it’s pretty subtle now. The palate is softer and less tart (thankfully!) and shows more oak and pulped white fruit and pepper. For a Macduff it’s fairly pleasant.

Coopers Choice Macduff 2008 (7 year old) 46%

Cask 9604 Bourbon/ Sherry Finished.

Dist: 2008 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: May 2016

Well you can’t say that this lacks distillery character! Stinky, sulphury and as hard as nails! Throw in some sour fruit and cardboardy notes and you have the full on Macduff experience!

The palate is classic Macduff. Hard, industrial with a cacophony of unpleasant characteristics – sulphur, rubber, grubby spices and earth!

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Macduff 2008 (6 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0082/ Dist: Apr 2008 Btl: Jan 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2015

Aromas of balsamic vinegar and malt with hints of herbs. Reminiscent of sweet and sour sauce with some hard barley and a touch of vanilla.

The palate is watery and industrial with a touch of cardboardy spice. Hints of sweet-ish barley, pear and toffee come through on the middle. Reasonable length, if a little hot with a lightly (cleaner) spiced finish.


Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Macduff 1997 (18 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2516/ Dist: Apr 1997 Btl: Aug 2015/ Tasted: Sept 2015

The nose is quite salty and astringent, which is unusual for Macduff. It’s also quite peated and there is a distinct lack of its usual rough edges. Hints of barley, stewed fruit and vanilla appear.

The palate is a little edgy but it opens with some herbal barley and toffee. It becomes very toffee’d on the middle with again a light saltiness. Long, crisp and mineral with some delightful sweet apricot and citrus emerging, which again is quite unusual for Macduff!

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Macduff 1997 (20 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Barrel/ Code: OMC2735/ Dist: Oct 1997 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

Slightly palsticy toffee nose to begin with, but some sweet barley and mature, sawduty oak offsets the roughness to a certain extent. Late hints of baked apple.

The palate displays some slightly hard barley along with some sweeter barely and hints of bitter coffee’d tannin, cinnamon, earth and baked fruit. Medium length and a little hot and citric but the sweet barley returns to balance. Not the worst Macduff I’ve ever tasted!

James MacArthur Old Masters Macduff 1990 (17 year old) 57.8%

Bourbon cask 1418/ Dist: 1990 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: Nov 2012

Very oily and industrial on the nose. Hard as nails barley with a slight earthy/ feinty/ sulphur note. Very manurey now with decomposing straw and compost along with a light cardboardy coffee note. Business as usual at Mcduff then! 

The palate opens quite malty with a treacle sweetness trying to offset the industrial character. Still it’s petty hard with some crystalised fruit. Very alcoholic with a lightly fizzy, earthy, cardboardy sub-Tobermory like spice finish. Very hot and very bitter. 

Water settles the nose down a little. The barley now displays a light sweetness and a touch of mature oak is now noticeable and thankfully less of the industrialness! The palate is quite oily and again less industrial but it’s still quite murky with a sweet treacly note. Although it’s still a bit on the bitter side there is some pleasant coffee notes and maybe a touch of berry fruit(?).

John McDougall’s Golden Cask Macduff 1992 (14 year old) 66.7%

Dist: 1992 Btl: 2006/ Tasted: July 2007

Rich, oily and fruity aromas of orange, fudgy oak and earth with a touch of straw and manure. The palate is pretty weighty and oily with loads of wood tannins and alcohol. The middle is laced with earthy fruit, malt, tobacco and hints of dried leaves. The tannins return and dry out the finish. 

Water brings out a perfume mandarin note with some lovely spicy vanilla. The water does take the edge of the alcohol as expected but the tannins remain.

Gordon & MacPhails ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ Macduff 1989 (18 year old) 43%

Refill Sherry/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: June 2011

Surprise!!!!! A lovely, mature, deep, honeyed nose with oodles and oodles of gorgeous honey, in a sort of restrained Glenrothes fashion. Deft notes of off-sweet sherry weave their magic. How come this is still on their list??? How come my taste buds are not being Macduffed up??? This is a little gem! 

The palate opens with the soft, liquor like honeyed fruit. Ok the palate is a tad less complex than the nose but there’s a serious depth of quite mature honey. Ok length with a late granity/ stony edge to the herbal and spicy sherry character. The spirit is a bit exposed on the finish adding some botanical notes, but I’m in a generous and forgiving mood today! – Being serious though, this is a very good bottling……. Of Macduff!!!

Duncan Taylor MacDuff 1969 (37 year old) 52.4%

Sherry Cask 3682/ Dist: 1969 Btl: 2006/ Tasted: July 2007

An intense nose, dripping in the most glorious honeyed fruits with oodles of coffee and an enormous array of sherry spices. Strangely enough it has a rye like grainy edge to it and seems like an Invergordon on steroids! Intense, oily and mouth filling. Very rich with mature honeyed fruit, wood tannins and again that rye like nip. The sherry cask is well balanced by some delightful almond/ marzipan notes in the finish which really last. 

Water brings softens but doesn’t detract from its intensity on the nose. It’s still huge! However the palate does become a tad watery and looses focus. 

Duncan Taylor MacDuff 1968 (40 year old) 49.1%

Cask 8550/ Dist: 1968 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: Aug 2008

Monsterously fruity, with that classic Macduff diesel oil note! Yum! The senses are assaulted by waves of blood orange, tangerine and apricot. Followed by very mature honey, wax, earth and a beguiling violet note. Damn it’s amazing; I could swear it has metamorphosed into an old Glenrothes! It’s fabulous, so deep you can practically loose yourself in it or drown!

There is no let up on the palate; it’s intense, oily and fruity. There are buckets of gingery wood spices along with toffee and a hint of diesel oil. The alcohol somewhat dominates the mid palate but it leaves a delightful honeyed/ floral finish. A superbly tart finish with a distinct Bourbon-esque note.

Water makes the nose very floral now and really emphasises the orange fruit and crisp barley. It’s still wonderfully deep and fabulous! The palate becomes a tad watery and cardboardy (maybe I’m being a bit over analytical and critical here!) however there are plenty of oils to compensate. Ok it’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde malt, but I’m still going to recommend it, just don’t whatever you do dilute it.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance MacDuff 2000 (10 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: Nov 2000 Btl: Apr 2011/ Tasted: Apr 2011

Quite a floral nose – heather and bracken with no shortage of vanilla oak and youthful cereal. A bit high toned and gristy with some eye watering menthol notes. The palate is soft and gentle with youthful cereal and spicy malt, along with the oak adding toffee and caramel. The alcohol is quite intrusive for 46% and to be honest overpowers the palate. Pleasantly floral and grassy on the finish.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Macduff 1997 (15 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV1019/ Dist: Sept 1997 Btl: July 2013/ Tasted: Aug 2013

Hard, industrial aromas with white liquorice root and a touch of oriental spice. Hints of malt, toffee and raw honey. 

The palate displays hard, slightly soapy white fruit, toffee and white liquorice. There is a touch more oak than the nose would suggest. Medium length with a malty finish.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask ‘Cigar Malt’ Macduff 2000 (10 year old) 50%

Sherry/ Dist: Nov 2000 Btl: May 2011/ Tasted: May 2011

A light, leafy sherry nose, bordering on the edge of sulphurousness. Quite full with chocolate and toffee notes along with a touch of sugary syrup. The palate is full and chewy, somewhat straightforward, again the sherry flirts with the sulphur and the finish is rather dry and tannic with a spicy, coffee laced after taste.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask MacDuff 1990 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2033/ Dist Mar 1990 Btl: June 2011/ Tasted: June 2011

A spirity, volatile, ascerbic, unconstructed nose of turps and dirty Dufftown-esque fruit and bitter, bitter oak! Some light peat oils muddy the nose even further. Not very appealing!

The palate is exactly the same as the nose…. Hard, spirity and not particularly pleasant.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Macduff 1990 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2139/ Dist: Dec 1990 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2012

The nose reeks of Evo stick glue with acerbic white malt vinegar and some astringent, fizzy white fruit.

The palate is sherberty sweet and a touch fizzy with that glue note. Hard, industrial and distinctly unpleasant on the palate with a slight metallic finish. Yes, it’s business as usual at Macduff!

Douglas Laing Xtra Old Particular Macduff 1990 (25 year old) 54.1%

Sherry Butt/ Code: XOP0053/ Dist: Feb 1990 Btl: Nov 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

The nose is a little cheesy and sulphur tainted with green nuts and baked fruit. Very balsamic with hints of toffee, vanilla and some classic Macduff hardness. Although the blemish subsides it’s still noticeable.

Soft and treacly on the palate with dried fruit And again a sulphur note. Hints of creamy vanilla, herbs and green nuts on the middle but the distillery character is fully noticeable! Medium length, quite dry and citric although a pleasant balancing orange conserve note appears. Light cocoa after-taste.


Douglas Laing Old Particular Macduff 1999 (14 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0110/ Dist: Dec 1999 Btl: June 2014/ Tasted: July 2014

A slightly malty nose of baked fruit with hints of citrus and dusty barley, when shows a pleasant sugar coating.

The palate is quite spiced with clove and black pepper notes followed by baked fruit, vanilla and butterscotch. A reasonable length with a tart, citric finish which does make it a little on the dry side.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Macduff 1990? (25 year old) 49.1%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead?/ Code: OLD0355/ Dist: 1990? Btl: Sept 2016?/ Tasted: Oct 2016

Heavy and oily aromas with hints of creamy oak, toasted sugar, malt and cereal husks. Amazingly clean for a Macduff with a freshening citric note coming through.

The palate opens with some almost treacly malt and creamy, yet mature oak. Mouth-filling and robust with oily barley and subtle spice. Like the nose it is very clean and has a good finish with even a hint of orange/ tangerine and ramped up spices. I have to say, it is pretty good given Macduff’s usual output!