This is the very first Macduff I have ever reviewed. It is also, I believe, the very first Macduff I have ever had—my spreadsheet does not record any other. Not much Macduff is available, and what is available is usually under the Glen Deveron name. In fact, Winesearcher currently shows nothing available in the US under either name. So for my American readers this is a particularly useless review. Not only is this whisky unavailable but if it should pique your interest in the distillery, it does not appear that we can even find anything else from them here. Such is life.
Macduff, part of the Bacardi/John Dewar holdings, is located in the Speyside and is a relatively new distillery. It was founded in the 1960s, and has mostly produced whisky for the owners’ blends. And at various points the distillery has in fact been named Glen Deveron. Some identity issues, obviously but that’s not all that’s unusual about them. They also apparently run a combination of two wash and three spirit stills. As to whether this is an interesting fact is a different matter. But I’m certainly hoping this older Macduff will be.
Macduff 31, 1980 (50.2%; Wilson & Morgan; sherry cask 6886; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Not a dark sherry bomb by any means; instead it’s softer fruit that leads the way: tinned oranges and apricot, ripe banana and some honey; some of that pleasant metallic note that often appears in older whisky. With time the fruit expands. A couple of drops of water tamps the fruit down
Palate: Everything from the nose but then a big tropical fruit burst as I swallow (ripe pineapple, mango). The texture is a bit thin. More oak on the second sip. Not much change with time but that’s fine—what’s here is very good. Water brightens the palate up with more citrus and tinned pineapple.
Finish: Long. More citrus here along with the mango and that oak to frame it all. With time the mango expands further and the oak is joined by some pine resin. Much brighter here too with water but the mango is still dominant. The oak gets spicier and more peppery.
Comments: A wonderful surprise. I’m guessing this was a refill sherry cask. The fruity results, at any rate, are identical to what happens with so many whiskies put away for this length of time in refill wood. That is to say, this is very reminiscent of fruity Longmorns, Caperdonichs, Tomatins etc. of this general age and era. I don’t know how much a bottle of this cost back in 2012/2013 but I suspect I could have swung it. So it goes. I’m glad I got to taste 60 ml of it at any rate. I have a feeling this is not representative of Macduff’s regular output.
Rating: 90 points.
I’m afraid your last comment about this 31-year-old beauty being unrepresentative of MacDuff malts at large is probably the big takeaway here. Even so, your review has me thinking again about an odd MacDuff IB that I’ve seen collecting dust at my local specialist retailer for years now. (I think it’s an ex-bourbon teenager; so yeah, surely pretty different—but still.)
More a suspicion—despite my normally sweet nature—than a pronouncement (after all, this is the only Macduff I’ve had). If you do pull the trigger on that bottle, do report back.
I would buy that IB if I was you. My whisky purchase of the year so far was a speculative punt on a Gordon and MacPhail connoisseurs choice Macduff 14 yrs and its lovely. Lots of fruit, real surprise..