New Year resolutions – why bother? In recent years as the artist formerly known as Whisky Rover, I’ve utilised this annual phenomenon to refocus distilleries that warrant further coverage. Generally, it’s underlining a mental note to seek out more Balvenie or other distilleries that have rarely reached my tasting stockpile of samples, or bottle purchases.
When preparing for the new version of Malt and the merger that we orchestrated. I went through all of my reviews for 2017. This was sometime in September and accounted for 234 reviews in that calendar year. That’s a lot of whisky and articles such as this, excluding a few that would have been vertical or tweet tastings. Scores were assigned and articles are slowly being updated and moved towards the new format. However, looking at this assortment of names and distilleries it showcases a wide variety of whiskies.
Towards the end of 2017, a distillery began to rise in prominence on my radar thanks to a couple of excellent releases. That distillery is Miltonduff and if I was forced to reveal my favourite whiskies of 2017 – something we purposely avoided here at Malt – Miltonduff would account for 2 or 3 entries. The Gordon & MacPhail 1997 Miltonduff just came alive with the addition of water and the 1995 Miltonduff entitled the Last Bunny is a future classic for more than just the contents. These were both bookended by the sublime 1966 Miltonduff Pluscarden Valley 22 year old with a delightful sherry cask and later in the year the Cadenhead’s 2006 Miltonduff 11 year old, that I’ve tasted but not yet purchased to review. All of this would have meant in 2018 a resolution to investigate this Chivas owned distillery further, but as I’m not doing resolutions let’s call it an urge.
Hence this 1980’s Miltonduff that I purchased from the resource that is the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar. It’s a bottling that is generally widely available on the secondary market and doesn’t set the bidding alight either. This is good. I’ve probably had it many a year ago but a more considered approach was necessary hence this review.
The distillery is another workhorse for its master’s blends, but there was an effort in 2017 to introduce the name to a larger audience with the release of the Ballantine’s 15 year old. In separate releases, other malt components of Ballantine’s were also showcased with the Glenburgie and Glentauchers also appearing at 15 years. In theory, you could create your own malt version of the aforementioned blend and as I’ve yet to try any of these releases we’ll leave it there.
Miltonduff 12 year old 1980’s – review
Colour: olive oil.
On the nose: a light wine gum aroma flows with a touch of iced tea and fresh apple. Icing sugar, orange peel and a gentle caramel. Nothing too pronounced with white chocolate and towards the end a sprinkling of cinnamon.
In the mouth: a touch of new make spirit followed by a lively fruit sweetie upon arrival that persists into the finish with a little white pepper and apple compote. Lemon sponge, mango, lychees, icing sugar and vanilla poached pears all flow nicely.
This Miltonduff is really enjoyable in a modest and unassuming way. Delicate, gentle flavours and aromas all glisten without bravado or fanfare. There’s plenty to savour here at a modest price. It may lack that old school style whisky that many of us live for, but it marks a transition point. The movement from the old styles towards the more modern wood driven flavours of today. This Miltonduff sits midway and has enough to keep you interested – I’d buy a bottle if the price was right.