Last year he was at the festival with some of his own bottlings, but I’m not sure he did a masterclass or not. At least, I wasn’t there. So, hoping for some truly interesting drams we all sat around anxiously when he announced his round of Dufftown.
A slight murmur of disappointment ensued since, while Dufftown has a lot of distilleries, it is highly unlikely to taste the most interesting ones: Kininvie, Convalmore and (do I dare say it?) Parkmore. The more well known ones are Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Mortlach, Dufftown and Glendullan.
The Glendullan was first, an 12 year old from Provenance. Light and fruity, with oatmeal and pear. On the palate it was rather thin and sweet with pear and peach. The finish was rather fresh but turned more towards artificial flavours (pear drops).
Next was a 14 year old Mortlach from a bourbon cask, bottled by The Maltman. A rather nice nose with barley, cream and banana. The palate had a light pepperiness, oak, banana and vanilla cream. On the finish it turned a bit more earthy.
Third was a 20 year old Pittyvaich from Diageo’s special releases of 2010. I have a bottle of this so a more in depth review will follow shortly.
Fourth came one of the closed distilleries, Convalmore. One of Mark Watt’s new Cadenhead dumpy-like bottlings. Distilled in 1977. This turned out to be a damn tasty dram with sherry, plums, honey, orange and raisins on the nose. There was a hint of flint as well, but in a very good way. The palate had sweet oak, nuts and dried fruits. On the finish it turned even greater with honey and slightly bitter fruit.
Next came a Singleton of Dufftown 18. As many of the Singleton releases, I find them very uninteresting. Cereal, vanila, thin and flat. Some fudge.
Before last was a Glenfiddich. Luckily, not just any Glenfiddich, but the Distillery Only of them. A 15 year old Cask Strength release of their Solera bottling. Lots of fruits and sherry on the nose, oak and honey. On the palate more honey, soft tropical fruits and a hint of pepper. Fruity sherry and oak on a long finish. Pretty damn tasty, if you ask me!
The last dram was Balvenie’s 17 year old peated cask. I had never tried this one, contrary to about everyone on the planet that cares about whisky, apparently. I expected this to be an Islay cask, but apparently there has been some heavily peated Balvenie that got misplaced in their massive warehouses. Legend has it that no one knows where these casks are, but the ones that the whisky was in before were used for this whisky.
On the nose it had the honey and toffee of Balvenie, but the very slight peatiness turned it all up a notch and made everything a tad more intense. The palate had honey and orange, again with a tangy peatiness. The finish had a bit more peat than the rest and lasted long, with mostly honey flavours.
So, no Parkmore (that would have set him back quite a bit) or Kininvie. What made this tasting great was the presentation that Michael Lord did. He is quite the comedian and knows how to take the piss on every distillery around Dufftown but also how to make up for that. Great jokes, and some pretty nice whiskies too, especially numbers 4, 6 and 7.
The murmur of disappointment at first proved to be unnecessary. We should have known Mike would take proper care of us. Glad he did!