By Alex Southgate
It’s always interesting to try different blends from the same distillery. Something as small as a different choice of cask type made from the same wood stock, such as a rebuilt bourbon barrel against a hogshead made from bourbon barrel staves, can make for an immensely different scotch. Equally, the end product is very much an invention of the master of malts in charge of that blend. This is one of the key factors that makes whiskey tasting so endlessly fun and interesting. The Singleton of Dufftown Malt Master’s selection is no different. This particular whisky has been chosen by Master of Malts Craig Wilson and matured in European and American oak casks with three variants–ex-wine, ex-Sherry and ex-bourbon–to help give it its signature taste.
This Speyside whiskey has been selected in an attempt to bring new life into the whiskey tasting fold. The flavors have been designed to appeal to a wider audience and palettes that aren’t necessarily used to tasting scotch. Even the design of the bottle, (and the box it comes in,) is classy, modern and appealing to the eye, something that isn’t bad at all from a distillery that’s been producing single malts for over a hundred and twenty years.
It’s difficult to get a good feel for the look of this Scotch from the bottle, but as soon as it hits the glass you notice light caramel tones. This is a fairly viscous whisky which clings visibly to the glass as it moves and is something notable in the mouth feel as there is a distinct velvetiness to the finish.
There is an earthy, nuttiness to the nose which is noticeably instantly and this is coupled beautifully with hints of pear. These scents pair nicely with a good dose of vanilla and the homeliness of roasted wheat. The caramel tone of this Dufftown blend is something that carries to the tasting. The classic combination of toffee and apples is notable and gives way to a savory, peppery finish. All round this is a drink that makes you think of the winter months and if there was ever a fireside warmer this would be a very good candidate.
The Singleton of Dufftown Malt Master’s Selection comes it at around £26 per 70cl bottle. This expression isn’t in regular distribution in the U.S., so if you see it, expect it to be marked up as a special import.