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Singlemalting #242 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 18 – MacDuff 14 Year Old

Welcome to day 18, the eve of the final full week of dramming adventure. Today we are tasting the second offering from the crew at Claxton’s. Back in Speyside again, we have a Macduff 14 year old. The last time we got to savor MacDuff was in the 5th edition on day 1 from Single Cask Nation.

MacDuff Distillery

MacDuff distillery is more commonly known by the proprietary label Glen Deveron. Founded in 1960 production began in 1963. William Lawson purchased MacDuff in 1972 and eventually sold it to Bacardi in 1993 where it is made an integral part of the John Dewars & Sons operation. This now concludes a trio of Duff related distilleries in our 6th edition. Dufftown, Miltonduff and now MacDuff. Who knew that you really can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff (terrible pun there but Simpsons was a bit of a favorite back in the day).

Claxton’s MacDuff 14 Year Old – Speyside – Sherry Butt # 1835-900032 – 55.9% abv

Colour:          Palest tarnished gold. Even though the guys at Claxton’s gave me the details of the cask as Sherry Butt. They did not specify how many times that barrel had been used and this one looks very much like a 2nd or refill butt.

Nose:          Chocolate coated candy cane, freshly oiled leather, plum pudding sauce. Quite a light nose for a sherry cask again leading me to think that this cask has seen a few fills before this one. I really like a more gentle approach with cask management as I love to see distillery character shining through.

Palate:         Fig newtons, wine gums and prunes. Light sherry influence leading me back to that plum pudding sauce. Grand marnier truffles. Mmmmmm could spend a bit of time on this. Lots to explore here and all quite delicate.

Finish:         Lovely light finish for 55.9% and didnt even ask me for water at all. Citrus notes burst through and leave a bitter chocolate coated orange rind lingering.

Lovely whisky that has a lot of complexities if you are willing to spend plenty of time with it. A very gentle sherry butt that has left a ton of distillery character and allowed for some really nice balance here.

In our 5th edition on this day we had the monster Secret Spirits Glenallachie at a staggering 66.2% what a wow of a dram that was. Still some bottles available.

Please spend some relaxing time with dram in hand watching our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we are going back to the Highlands to knock off another distillery making it’s first appearance in any of our editions. Very excited to see how this rarely seen independent bottling goes down.

Until tomorrow have a fabulous evening and quality time with your dram of MacDuff.




Singlemalting #235 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 9 Orkney 10 Year Old

Welcome to da islands mon…. sorry wrong islands. Welcome to the almost perpetually wet, stormy, brine covered and glorious Scottish isles. Today we head to Orkney to a distillery that most of you know very well. This is again one of those casks where the distillery must not be named from Claxton’s Independent bottlers. Claxton’s are based in England and have built a reputation for bottling exceptional casks in their iconic if not imposing flat and square bottles.

The distillery in question today was founded in 1798 and is in the far North in Kirkwall in the Orkney Island chain. Influenced by repeated Viking raids and eventual settlements the Orkneys have a very unique history as part of Scotland lore.

Not so Mysterious Orkney Distillery

Most expressions from this distillery are lightly peated so it will be interesting to see how this single cask compares to the prorietary bottlings.

Claxton’s Orkney 10 Year Old – Island – Bourbon Hogshead #1836-008A – 63% abv

Colour:          Lighter than anything that has gone before so far this edition. 18k gold.

Nose:             Lovely sweet barbequed, buttered corn on the cobb. Definite influence of some earthy peaty elements but they are wrapped in sweetness. Loving this hogshead influence on this nose. It’s a little on the delicate side which is a really good thing. The more sniff time I spend on it the better it gets. All of this and at 63%. No way in the wide world of sports would I think that this was 63%…….. ever. Great balance on this.

Palate:          Some tropical influence which comes as a bit of a surprise. Not quite ripe pineapple, citrus, but lighter lemony notes. The 63% really does not dominate at all and I find myself barely thinking about the abv or feeling it for that matter.

Finish:        The sweetness and fruit dominate the finish. I am still getting that creamy BBQ influenced sweetness that is somehow transforming itself into a corn on the cobb. This is a really new tasting note for me with Scotch but my brain cannot get past it.

This is a great example of how minimal oak influence can be outstanding in leaving a ton of nuanced flavors that would otherwise be swallowed up. Fantastic dram Claxton’s well done on the cask selection.

Last edition we had the A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 9 Year Old.

Just do it. Check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig.

Tomorrow we are heading to Islay for our first full on peaty experience of this edition from Douglas Laing. Buckle up boys and girls this is going to be fun.

This was a nice softening up process on the peat stakes before we set out to try and hurt you tomorrow. Hoping that you have been having a blast so far. It’s hard to believe that we are closing in on the half way mark already. It takes Cindy and I almost a whole year worth of work to put this together and it seems to go by so fast.

See you tomorrow lads and lassies.