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. Continue reading
And after yesterday’s 23 yo Miltonduff here is an even older one. This one is stated as being from a sherry cask. It was bottled by Maltbarn and I’m hoping it is better than their Glenrothes 1990 that I reviewed last week. With a 63 bottle outturn the cask was obviously split with someone else. Let’s get right to it.
Miltondfuff 30, 1982 (49.5%; Maltbarn; sherry cask; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Not much evidence of sherry, at first anyway. Instead there’s some musky fruit with hints of gasoline and some creamy vanilla. No real development. And not with water either.
Palate: Very much as on the nose except sans the gasoline, and with some minerally notes in its place. That musky lime is more fresh and effervescent here. Gets a little more bitter (lime zest) on the second sip and there’s also some sweetness on the tail. Not much change after that. Let’s add some water. No, that doesn’t do much good–more than a little soapiness emerges. Maybe a hint of tropical fruit at the very end. Continue reading
Another malt from the not-very beloved Miltonduff. I’ve quite liked the two I’ve reviewed so far (here and here). This is my first from a sherry cask (see below) and also the oldest I’ve had so far (though that mark will not last long). This was bottled by Riegger’s Selection, a German store and indie bottler of whom I know very little. As far as I can tell from their website they have some sort of connection to the Speyside distillery and select from the same warehouses as the Scott’s Selection line which originates in that distillery.
Miltonduff 23, 1987 (56.7%; Riegger’s Selection; cask no. 7057; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Roasted malt and some musky fruit–somewhere between lime zest and melon. The roasted malt turns pretty quickly to something closer to burnt toast. The fruit gets stronger and a little fermented as it sits. After a few more minutes there are clear sherry notes: mild gunpowder, dried orange peel. With a drop or two of water the citrus climbs up over the malt and it gets much brighter in general. Continue reading
Well, as my first Miltonduff was pretty good I figured I’d open a recently purchased independent bottling and taste a bit right after so as to make a direct comparison to an official bottle. This one is in Signatory’s Cask Strength Collection and is a single cask selected by K&L in California. I’ve generally liked all the K&L selections I’ve had in the last few years so I’m optimistic.
Miltonduff 18, 1995 (56.9%; bourbon barrel #4115; from my own bottle)
Nose: Not quite as expressive as the 14 yo; not quite as much fruit at first nosing. It’s a freshly opened bottle though, so let’s give it some time. Okay, with a few minutes to breathe it does open up a little: there’s more vanilla now and more musky, malty sweetness; fruit too but it’s more tightly coiled. Water should help, I’d think, but let’s take a sip or two first. Ah yes, with water it’s much brighter–more lime now and more vanilla and cream and a little malty/sweaty sweetness. Continue reading
Miltonduff is in the Speyside and is one of Chivas Bros.’ workhorse distilleries, producing mostly for blends–in particular for the very popular Ballantine’s*. I don’t think there are very many official releases around of the single malt, and a lot of what has been put out by the indies has got it a spotty reputation. This particular release is from Chivas Bros.’ series of limited edition 500 ml cask strength bottles that are theoretically meant to be available at the distilleries only–at least that was the case when the series was inaugurated, I believe. There have been releases in this line from Glenlivet, Longmorn and Glenburgie among others, and they’ve generally been very well reviewed. As I’ve never had anything from Miltonduff before I’m hoping this means that my introduction to this distillery is going to be a good one.
*Can you, without googling, name the Tom Waits song that mentions a character who “knew that he’d be ready with a stainless steel machete and half a pint of Ballantine’s each day”? Continue reading