Google Daftmill... too soon?

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

May 19, 2018





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Daftmill... too soon?
Don’t you just hate these distilleries that rush their whiskies out as soon as they hit 3 years of age? Well, me too. Thankfully Daftmill is obviously not one of them. Since Francis Cuthbert’s wee Fife distillery began production back in winter 2005, not a single drop has been commercially released.


Something that is commendable in my book, although understandable given that Francis has managed to do everything without investors or interference or external pressure. An envious and rather unique position amongst contemporary Scottish distillers. He has recently stuck a distribution deal with Berry Brothers and the following, premier Daftmill bottling is the result. Let’s try it without further ado...  


Daftmill 2005/2018 (55.8%, OB, Inaugural Release, bourbon barrels, casks 2, 3 & 7, 629 bottles) Daftmill 2005/2018 (55.8%, OB, Inaugural Release, bourbon barrels, casks 2, 3 & 7, 629 bottles)
Colour: Light Gold. Nose: Clean and fruity malt whisky. Full of lemon barley water, many cereals, freshly churned butter, a hint of something more surgical like lanolin, then fresh gooseberries and white bread. Continues with toasted sunflower seeds, rapeseed oil, trodden clover and some chopped parsley. It’s superbly fresh and pleasingly elegant. With water: some kind of mirabelle and barley eau de vie. Further lemony aspects and some starchy notes of porridge infused with runny honey.


Mouth: punchy! White stone fruits, lemon rind, raw barley, mint jelly, crushed ivy and white pepper. Goes on with notes of white jelly beans, pineapple cubes and various blossoms and nectars. Quite beautiful and in possession of a subtlety that you feel a Lowland whisky should possess - if you’re going with the flow of tradition that is. With water: a tad more spicy, more fruity (on white and orchard fruits) and floral. There’s also a more prevalent sappy element as well - green wood and green pepper and grass. I feel that it really works perfectly with a drop of water actually. Lemon jelly, bay leaf, fresh thyme and pear drops.

Daftmill back label
Rear label, pithy sentiment



Finish: Good length. Various seeds, some bitter lemon, quinine, baking soda, sunflower oil and the slightest earthiness. Comments: It’s tough to separate tasting this from the knowledge that, amongst all the many, varied and often uninspiring distilling projects that have arisen in Scotland over the past decade, this is the one distillery that has sat quietly turning out whisky and biding its time before releasing its distillate commercially. This is undeniably excellent, well made and extremely quaffable whisky; a style that is close to the raw ingredients and feels in synch with its place of origin. It’s not utterly stellar, but for a first year of production at a brand new distillery it is remarkable and suggests that this is a whisky to pay very close attention to in years to come.
SGP: 541 - 89 points.


Now, as you know, on Whiskyfun we don’t score cask samples, but for sake of comparison/illumination, I feel it would be worthwhile recording some notes for a couple of cask samples to place the new official bottling in some kind of olfactory context.  


Daftmill 2008/2018 (cask sample, bourbon barrel, cask #49)

Daftmill 2008/2018 (cask sample, bourbon barrel, cask #49)
Colour: White wine. Nose: quite different! This is really much more buttery and herbal. There is a sense of a more textural distillate at play. Lemon meringue, icing sugar, clove rock, sherbet; really a mix of childhood confectionary. Goes on with notes of spun sugar, brioche, sultanas, honey on toast and a few green ferns. With water: leafy, lightly earthy and even a slightly waxy edge. With time a gravely minerality and a few wildflowers. Mouth: Again this is big, emphatic distillate. This one is ever fatter, oilier, more textural and complex. Notes of molten marshmallow, natural vanilla, coconut shavings and soft wood spices. Something like pine resin and lychee sorbet after a while. With water: a clutch of exotic spices and lemon rind. Minty yoghurt, camphor and again some various wood resins and waxes. A little natural vanilla towards the end. Finish: Long, sweet, fruity in the sense of apples, pears and gooseberries. A lick of olive oil in the aftertaste. Comments: For me this is an improvement on the 05, I think Daftmill will only become more interesting in the coming years.
SGP: 531 - No score.



Daftmill 2006/2018 (cask sample, sherry butt, cask #39)
Daftmill 2006/2018 (cask sample, sherry butt, cask #39)
Colour: Amber. Nose: treacle sponge, toffee apples, mint choc chip ice cream and hessian.  A remarkably clean and juicy sherry cask. Sods of earth, motor oil, wood polish, black pepper and heather honey. A few whiffs of pipe tobacco. Lovely! With water: a little more leathery and chocolatey now. Some cherry cola as well. Mouth: lots of morello cherries, pine resin, raspberry jam and soot. Big, emphatic, lots of chocolate, mint tea, various oils and hessian. Again this is big, clean, punchy and delicious. With water: a more silky texture with walnuts, mineral oil, guava and green banana. Surprisingly fruity with water. Finish: Long, earthy, pleasingly balanced between sweet and savoury elements. Notes of strawberry wine, walnut oil and some herbal cocktail bitters. Comments: Hard to determine how much of this is cask versus distillate. What’s for certain is that both are of excellent and highly clean quality. Again, will be interesting to see how this one shows once it’s bottled.
SGP: 552 - No score.


In conclusion: Daftmill is very good and I’d recommend you endeavour to taste it and follow its progress.  







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