Reviews of interesting whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
The Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery was founded in 1895, within an old mill. Like the mill, the distillery used the river that ran alongside to generate power.
Dufftown became famous as the home to seven distilleries. The sheer number within such a small area caused occasional problems, however. Distillers were taken to court by the local authorities over the amount of effluent that was being dumped in the waterways and fall outs between distillers, arguing over water supply, were not uncommon. There are stories that distillery workers from Mortlach were caught attempting to divert the water course away from rival businesses, for example. I doubt they were the only ones making such efforts in such a competitive industry.
Dufftown Distillery has had various owners over the years. It was acquired by MacKenzie & Co in 1897. They in turn sold to Arthur Bell & Sons in 1933. Bell’s was later taken over by Guinness and Dufftown, along with Bell’s other businesses, became part of Diageo in 1997.
Dufftown’s whisky has traditionally been produced to serve the blended Scotch market but in recent times, the distillery’s single malt has been bottled under “The Singleton” brand. The distillery forms a trio of Singleton distilleries, alongside Glen Ord and Glendullan. Originally, The Singleton of Dufftown was targeted at the European market while Glen Ord and Glendullan were aimed at Asia and North America, respectively. Today, however, all three are widely available, as Diageo seeks to challenge the market dominance of malt brands like Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.
The Singleton of Dufftown 18-year-old is bottled at 40% abv and retails around £65.95.
Smell: Fresh fruit. Apple. Pear. Orange. Dark chocolate orange creams. Toffee. Wee bit of oak. Slight charcoal note. Some raspberry and raisins. Vanilla pods.
Taste: Nice mouthfeel – feels robust for a 40% dram. Lots of toffee. Toffee apples. Highland toffee chews. Apple pastries. Dark chocolate. Bourbon. Cinnamon. Raisins. Gentle oak spice. Finish is gentle with drying oak, cocoa and dark chocolate.
Thoughts: The sheer scale of Diageo makes it an easy target for criticism but despite its preference for lower strength and artificial colouring, I’ve always found the quality of the whiskies to be of a reasonable standard and this Dufftown is no different. Even at 40%, it has some depth to it. It doesn’t feel like anything has been stripped away – either in flavour or mouthfeel – it’s like any chill-filtering that has taken place has been done with subtlety. Which is good – because it prevents the whisky from coming across too lightweight on the palate. Maybe for my personal tastes it lacks a little intensity? Maybe it’s just a bit too smooth? But those who prefer their whiskies mild and easy-to-drink will, I’m sure, enjoy this well-rounded wee splash of Speyside.
Price: Normally I opt for something bigger and bolder in terms of the experience on offer but I actually really enjoyed this wee dram and an asking price of £65 seems very reasonable for a whisky that’s been 18 years in the making. Surprisingly good.
For more on The Singleton visit https://www.thesingleton.com/