Here’s a malt from a relatively obscure distillery released by a pretty obscure independent bottler. Well, I suppose Miltonduff is not so very obscure a name to whisky geeks but it has very little by way of reputation and not too many people have tasted very much of its output (I’ve only reviewed four others). The distillery is part of the Chivas Bros. portfolio and produces malt for the group’s blends. Other than in the seemingly-discontinued Cask Strength Edition series (for example), very few official releases have seen the light of day—though I believe there is now a 15 yo official release. As for Tasting Fellows, I have no idea who they were. I say “were” because Whiskybase only lists 12 releases and the last was in 2014. This Miltonduff was from their first release in 2012 and I purchased these samples then from the Whiskybase shop. I then forgot about them for almost six years until they recently emerged from a search in my shelves for something else. I decided to drink them before losing sight of the samples again.
Miltonduff 17, 1995 (58.1%; Tasting Fellows; bourbon barrel #2802; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Malty and fruity (apples, pears, lemons). On the second sniff there’s some bread with the malt and some chalk with the fruit. As it sits the fruit gets sweeter still with blueberries joining the party. With more time it’s the fruit that’s ascendant and it’s quite musky now. Water brings out more of the malt and brings the toasted oak to the nose.
Palate: As promised by the palate: a lovely blend of malt and fruit with a frame of toasted oak. Nice thick texture and remarkably approachable at full strength. With more time the oak seems to get a bit too loud. Okay, let’s add water. Yes, water pushes the oak back and intensifies the fruit, which is muskier now.
Finish: Long. The malt and the fruit (accent on the lemon) fade out and then the oak comes to the fore—spicy but not at all tannic. With more time there’s some coal smoke as well. Fruitier here too with water, with quite a bit of lemon peel.
Comments: Solidly in line with most of the Miltonduffs I’ve had, particularly the OB 14 yo I reviewed about four years ago. Malty, fruity: a vibrant, easy drinking malt for the summer months. I would not be unhappy to have a full bottle of this lying around (I don’t think it cost very much at release). Better with water, I thought.
Rating: 86 points.