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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 1, 2013


Light Glen Deveron vs. Macduff

Another headline that doesn't make any sense as Glen Deveron is just another name for official Macduff. It's quite big and cheap in France and very easy to find in supermarkets.

Glen Deveron 15 yo (40%, OB, +/-2013)

Glen Deveron 15 yo (40%, OB, +/-2013) Two stars and a half I've never found the 10 yo Glen Deveron very impressive, it's always been cruising along the 70-75 points line in my book. Colour: straw. Nose: one of the most grainy and porridgy noses I came across in recent months. Then we have a little sawdust, plain dust, touches of oranges and a combination of butter and green tea. Not quite yak butter tea, though... There's something friendly in this unassuming nose. Mouth: Scotch. This tastes exactly like 'Scotch', that is to say Scotch as Boeotians (right, philistines) think Scotch is tasting. Malty, very slightly honeyed, marginally toasted, with a touch of grassy bitterness and oranges. Finish: medium and average. Comments: honest Scotch that really tastes like Scotch, whether single or blended. SGP:441 - 76 points.

Macduff 13 yo 2000/2013 (46.5%, Sansibar, sherry, 224 bottles)

Macduff 13 yo 2000/2013 (46.5%, Sansibar, sherry, 224 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: well in the style of many youngish sherried Macduffs, not a profile I'm very fond of, but reduction with water seems to have made it gentler. There are certainly quite a few used matches, quite a lot of butter caramel (Werther's!) and quite a lot of toasted brioche and bread. Slightly burnt chocolate cake straight from the oven. Mouth: quite strange. Bitter oranges, Campari, ginger and a both chalky and grassy side. It's becoming almost fizzy and prickly after a few seconds, with more grapefruit too, lemon drops, a wee feeling of 'plasticine smoked over a pile of burning matches' and, well, ginger tonic. Very unusual. Finish: quite long, the bitter oranges having become bigger, which isn't bad news. Comments: another funny one, I think. Demonstration malt whisky? SGP:351 - 78 points.

Those Macduffs have been either honest or interesting, but maybe we need another one. Such as a much older one?

Macduff 16 yo 1963 (70° proof, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, black label, +/-1979)

Macduff 16 yo 1963 (70° proof, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, black label, +/-1979) Four stars The oldest Macduff I've ever tried - as far as distilling years are concerned. A 1964 black label by Cadenhead has been very good (WF 87) while a 1965 'small white label' had been excellent (WF 90). Colour: gold. Nose: yesss! We have these un-missable notes of old herbs liqueurs, putty, old-style fresh paint, old toolbox and dried mushrooms that scream 'good OBE', before it all gets much drier and more austere. No fruits left whatsoever, and even a feeling of old bone-dry Madeira, moss, leaves... It's a rather beautiful nose but once again, with these kinds of noses, the palates can be flat dead or very acrid. Let's see... Mouth: well, it's not, not at all. More fruits than on the nose (around overripe apples and 'metallic' mangos) and a medicinal side that, I'm almost sure, wasn't there when this baby was bottled. Eucalyptus tea? Having said that, it tends to become a little flat and drying towards the middle. Finish: rather short, leaving much black tea on your tongue but almost nothing else. Or maybe a little mint? Comments: it's a funny game to try to detect what was there in the first place and what came from bottle ageing. I'm not saying it's an easy game! SGP:361 - 85 points.

Maybe we shouldn't leave it at that and try to find something that would be more enlightening. Such as a Macduff from a similar era, but bottled more recently and at a much, much higher strength. A challenge? You bet...

Macduff 35 yo 1969/2005 (61.1%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, sherry cask, cask #3686, 105 bottles)

Macduff 35 yo 1969/2005 (61.1%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, sherry cask, cask #3686, 105 bottles) Four stars I haven't seen or heard much from Duncan Taylor's since months and months, but I've got a large stash of older DTs in my library, such as this old Macduff that was bottled at a staggeringly high strength (bad pun, S.) Colour: rich amber. Nose: how would a cocktail made out of acacia honey, cellulose varnish and young Sauternes work? I think that would be as much as a hit as this big yet complex nose. Pretty wonderful, going on with a lot of vanilla, wee touches of coconut and a good slice of freshly baked plum pie. More bourbon than sherry, quite funnily, and it's very nosable at 61% vol. With water: much farmier. Damp wood, but also these beautiful honeyed notes. Mouth (neat): same feeling of high-end bourbon, with oranges aplenty and some kind of peppery honey. Touches of icing sugar too, orange drops... No burn! Halas, it tends to become a little bitter. Just a little... With water: mild success. Becomes a little Fanta-ish. Finish: long and spicier. More cinnamon as always. I mean, as often. Comments: a real Janus. Make what you want out of that. SGP:561 - 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Macduff I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

November 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Karuizawa 31 yo 1981/2013 (60.5%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #78)  - WF 93

Favourite older bottling:
Very Old Highland Whisky (Dymoch, Howden & Co. Ltd, Pure Malt, bottled +/-1910?) - WF 96

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Kilkerran 9 yo 2004/2013 'Work in Progress - Bourbon Wood' (46%, OB, batch #5)  - WF 91







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