Another Malt Nuts meeting came and went and this time our tasting target was Miltonduff who up until now I think I’ve only had once before in my life. A core component of Ballantine’s it’s not a whisky that gets a lot of press or fanfare in the single malt arena, but I guess that’s why we tasted it. We wanted to get to know this little guy that isn’t too well known or often written about.
History of Miltonduff (via Malt Madness)
- 1824 – Founded
- 1866 – William Stuart purchases Miltonduff
- 1895 – Thomas Yool & Co. purchases part of the distillery
- 1936 – Purchased by Hiram Walker
- 1964 – two Lomond stills added (use dot create wider range of whisky styles)
- 1981 – Lomond stills replaced with regular pot stills
- 1986 – Purchased by Allied
- 2005 – Purchased by Pernod Ricard
Per usual this was a blinded tasting so we didn’t know anything more about the bottles other than that they were Miltonduff. Before the meeting began we chatted about life and caught up on the happenings of our fellow Malt Nuts while some enjoyed a bit of Kosher chili (I always eat mine after the tasting). We then toasted our gracious host and it was off to the metaphorical races as the paper wrapped bottles started making their way around the table broken up into the following rounds.
- Cut (46%) Miltonduff
- Cask Strength Miltonduff
- 2 Miltonduffs and two surprises (we didn’t know about the surprises till the end)
And this is how it all panned out, for me at least.
Cut (46%) Miltonduff
- Nose: Frui, graham, malt, vanilla, nuts spice and a bit of sulfur.
Palate: Fruit, earthy malt, graham, nuts, spice and a bit of sulfur.
Finish: Long -> fruit, earth, malt, graham.
Overall: B (83-86) Quite nice through and thorough. This was a strong B for me.
1B: Provenance Miltonduff 9 years (07-16): 46% – ex-Sherry Butt
- Nose: Fruit, acetone, honey, malt, buttered popcorn and a touch perfumy.
Palate: Fruit, buttered popcorn, acetone, cinnamon and malt.
Finish: Long -> Fruit, buttered popcorn, acetone and cinnamon.
Overall: B- (80-82) Not fully balanced with the buttered popcorn being weirdly strong. The longer it sat the more a cinnamon character arrived to help even it out a bit.
Cask Strength Miltonduff
- Nose: Fruit, honey, malt, caramel, nuts and melon.
Palate: Fruit, honey, malt, caramel, nuts, melon and a bit of spice.
Finish: Medium -> Fruit, honey and malt.
Overall: B (83-86) Limited in complexity but rich in the delivery. Almost made it to a B+
2B: Dram Collection Miltonduff 7 years (08-15): 60.3% – Hogshead
- Nose: Fruit, vanilla, spice, honey, malt and a touch of sweet spirit.
Palate: Fruit, vanilla, spice, honey, malt and a bit of acetone.
Finish: Medium -> Fruit, spice, malt and oil.
Overall: B- (80-82) A bit hot and not fully balanced. Water helped a bit, but not enough to kick it up a rank.
2C: Adelphi Miltonduff 9 years: 58.5%
- Nose: Alcohol, wax, bananas, leather, wax and medicinal.
Palate: Fruit, alcohol, wax, bananas, medicine, grain and acetone.
Finish: Med -> Alcohol, fruit, wax and spice.
Overall: C+ (77-79) A bit acidic and harsh with lots of young sharp alcohol notes mixed in. Water only makes it more bland.
2D: SMWS 72.41 Miltonduff 9 years (04-13): 59.8% – First Fill White Wine Hogshead
- Nose: Earthy malt, fruit, toffee, citrus and spice.
Palate: Earthy malt, fruit, toffee, citrus, spice and graham.
Finish: Medium -> Earthy malt, alcohol, fruit.
Overall: B+ (87-89) Runs hot, but it’s good. Water opens it up a bit.
2E: SMWS 72.43 Miltonduff 10 years (04-14): 59.8% – First Fill White Wine Hogshead
- Nose: Burnt toffee, malt, cocoa, fruit, honey, dark fruit and cinnamon.
Palate: Bananas foster, malt, nuts and honey.
Finish: Medium -> Toffee, Bananas Foster, malt and honey.
Overall: B+ (87-89) Wow, this is really good. On the higher end of the range for sure.
2 Miltonduffs and two surprises
3A: Signatory Dufftown 15 years (97-13): 55.3% – Hogshead
- Nose: Fruit, malt, honey, banna taffy, toffee and hay.
Palate: Fruit, malt, honey, bannna taffy, toffee, hay and a bit of cinnamon.
Finish: Med -> Fruit, malt, honey and cinnamon
Overall: B (83-86) I like it. It’s not super complex and after the reveal I should have known this was the Dufftown. That banana note should have been the give away.
3B: Boutique-Y Whisky Company Miltonduff 8 years: 45.5%
- Nose: Buttered popcorn, cinnamon, malt, fruit, vanilla, and clove.
Palate: Buttered popcorn, cinnamon, malt, young oak, mint, malt and grain
Finish: Med -> Buttered popcorn, cinnamon, young wood and malt
Overall: C+ (77-79) Just kind of… eh. Nothing too exciting here and the young oak has an American craft quality to it that’s a bit off putting.
3C: Carn Mor Miltonduff 21 years (94-15): 46% – Hogshead
- Nose: Waxy lemon, oil, malt, banana, orchard fruit and graham.
Palate: Fruit, oil, lemon, malt, graham and vanilla.
Finish: Medium -> Fruit, oil, malt and graham.
Overall: B (83-86) Ok… just ok.
3D: Wemyss Longmorn 23 Years (92 – 16): 45% – Hogshead
- Nose: Farmy malt, honey, fruit, cocoa, graham and banana.
Palate: Malt, honey, banana, melon, nuts and graham.
Finish: Long -> Malt, honey, fruit and chalk.
Overall: B (83-86) When I made my guess I pegged this one as the Dufftown. Again, after re-reading my notes for this one, I should have pegged it as Longmorn. Oh well.
And there it is. All the Malt Nut Miltonduff tasting goodness. In that last round we didn’t know about the surprises till Barry announced it right before the bottles went around. We got to guess which ones were Miltonduff and which ones weren’t. Me and a couple other guys guessed correctly and then the challenge was upped a notch and were asked to guess which distilleries. I guessed Dufftown right, but not on the right bottle… oh well 🙂
Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures – till next time, cheers!