WhiskyReviews.net is a free service and always will be. However, if you would like to support the author you can do so by subscribing for just £1 per month. Alternatively, you can make a one-off donation of your choice. Thank you for your support.
The Alistair Walker Whisky Company
Alistair Walker has 20 years worth of experience in the Scotch whisky industry. He began his career with Burn Stewart in 1997, before moving to the BenRiach Distillery Company in 2004. The move gave Alistair the chance to work with BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh but when the company was sold in 2016 he was left wondering what to do next.
Walker decided to set out on his own, creating a new business that would specialise in the independent bottling of single cask Scotch whiskies. Bottled under the Infrequent Flyers label, Walker’s casks tend to come from distilleries that aren’t so well known.
I’ve been aware of the attractively packaged Infrequent Flyers for some time, even tasted a couple, but I hadn’t got round to buying one until a recent visit to Robbie’s Drams in Ayr. The 11-year-old, PX-finished Miltonduff was one of the first drams that caught my eye. Despite almost pulling the trigger on several different bottles I eventually returned to the Miltonduff.
The Milton distillery was founded in the grounds of Pluscarden Abbey, six miles south of Elgin. It became known as Milton of Duff (and later just Miltonduff) when the Duff family bought the land. The area was a favourite with illicit distillers and founders Andrew Peary and Robert Bain may have been distilling prior to buying a license in 1824. They ran the distillery until it was purchased by William Stuart in 1866.
The distillery was sold to Thomas Yool & Company in 1895. They sold on to Hiram Walker in 1936 before being taken over themselves by Allied Distillers in the 1980s. Between 1964 and 1981, Miltonduff housed a pair of Lomond stills that were used to produce the Mosstowie single malt. The site also housed Allied’s Malt Distilleries Technical Centre, complete with Lab and engineering department.
In 2005, Allied was acquired by Pernod Ricard and Miltonduff became part of their Chivas Brothers portfolio. Official bottlings of Miltonduff are rare but independently bottled single cask expressions are becoming more common.
Smell: Think of any sherry bomb cliche and it can be applied here. Dried fruits. Christmas cake. Dark chocolate. Prune juice. Maple syrup. Figs. Leather. Tobacco. Walnut. The PX has certainly got its claws into this whisky. A generous splash of water brought up some red berry notes and rich caramel.
Taste: Sticky syrup and spicy nutmeg. Dried fruits. Prunes especially. Maple syrup again. Leather. Old oak. Water softens the spice a little.
Thoughts: It’s certainly a gorgeous-looking dram. Holding it up to the light it turns a glorious reddish hue. Perhaps you could possibly accuse it of being a bit one-dimensional because it’s very, very oak-driven. I can’t claim to be too familiar with Miltonduff’s spirit character but there’s no way in hell you’re finding it here, anyway. Is that really a problem though? When it tastes good, does it matter if the spirit has been swamped? And taste good it certainly does. Especially after I added a splash of water. It toned down the intensity of the oak and softened the edges a little. The end result was a sumptuous sherry-bomb Speyside that’s almost as good to nose as it is to drink. I say almost because let’s be honest, as much as people discuss the importance of aroma, we don’t spend £70 on a bottle to sniff it. If this dram is any indication, my first Infrequent Flyers purchase won’t be my last.
If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt at the link below. Please be aware that this is an affiliate link, meaning I can be paid commission on any purchases you make.
For more on the Alistair Walker Whisky Company visit here