Ah yes, Dufftown, Homer Simpson’s favourite distillery. I know very little about it and in fact this is the first Dufftown I have ever tasted. I’ve had a G&M exclusive for Binny’s on my shelf for years now but have somehow never felt like opening it—isn’t this fascinating information?! More useful information from Malt Madness tells us that it is named for the part of Speyside it is located in: Dufftown. It has a number of other distilleries as neighbours but the most famous of them all is Glenfiddich. It’s a Diageo distillery, producing almost entirely for blends (Bell’s in particular). There is an official Singleton release but that’s pretty much it outside of the independents.
Anyway, I hope my first Dufftown will be a good one and that it will buck the trend of mediocrity set by the two other recent K&L Signatory exclusives (the Linkwood 19 and the Glenburgie 21, only one of which cracked 80 points).
Dufftown 18, 1997 (54.8%; Signatory for K&L; hogshead #19504; from a bottle split)
Nose: This one’s spirity and grainy to start as well; quite a bit of citrus (lime) below those notes and some indistinct, astringent woodiness. Gets a little breadier as it sits (dough) and the citrus shifts into citronella territory. Not much balance or integration. With more time it begins to settle down into a more honeyed citrus and there’s more malt here too now. Nothing interesting with water.
Palate: Leads with the citrus and there’s a malty note below and some fruit. Nice, thick mouthfeel. On the second sip some of that grainy, astringent stuff from the nose shows up as well. And with time it takes over, getting woodier but not in any interesting way. Let’s see if water salvages this. Nope! It actually makes it even more astringent.
Finish: Medium. Nothing new here at but no deterioration either—that’s a relief. Alas, the finish goes the way of the palate as the astringent notes come to dominate. As on the palate with water.
Comments: The nose started out badly and then improved; the palate started out well and then deteriorated. Still, on the whole, it’s not bad, though it’s not good either: I’d say it’s generic whisky of its type.
This is the worst run of K&L casks I’ve had in a while; in fact, it’s the worst run of cask exclusives I’ve had from any store. What gives? What exactly is the “cask selection” procedure that is bringing us these utterly mediocre/uninteresting casks? I can only hope that the Imperial is better and, if it’s not, that all these bottles will sit on K&L’s shelves long enough to get them to buck up with next year’s selections.
Rating: 78 points.