Whisky Review #37 – Dufftown-Glenlivet 8 Years Old (1970s)

Dufftown Distillery is founded in 1895 as “Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery”. Currently owned by Diageo, this Speyside whisky is part of the component in Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd’s blended whisky. Dufftown distillery markets its single malt as Singleton of Dufftown.

This particular bottle appeared to be bottled around 1978 to 1985. There are quite a few versions of the Dufftown-Glenlivet 8 Years Old. Some bottles are 70 proof (40% abv) and some are 75 proof (43% abv). Both versions are claimed to be from the 1970s or the 1980s. We believe that it is possibly bottled in the 1970s and marketed till the 1980s. As for the difference in abv, it could be due to the slight difference in conversion between the Scottish way and the American way. That might explain the confusion. Nonetheless, it is a bottle that is worth your bucks should you choose to buy it.

Our bottle is appeared to be the version of the 43%abv.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Amber
ABV: 43% (75 Proof)

Nose: Strong sherry nose followed by sulphur and ginger spice. Slight peat that fades in and out. (17/20)

Palate: Full spice palate that does not overwhelm the sweet tropical fruits that come in shortly after. Slight coconut and vanilla cream follow after. (18/20)

Body: Well balanced whisky with a good mix of sweet fruits and wood spices. It fills you up like a warm blanket, making it a perfect drink for winter. (36/40)

Finish: Medium to long finish with lingering spice. Vanilla, toffee and ginger ale combines to make a pleasing finish to a worthy dram. (18/20)

Total Grade: 89/100


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    Whisky Review #36 – Dufftown-Glenlivet 12 Years Old


    Dufftown Distillery is founded in 1895 as “Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery”. It is currently owned by Diageo. This Speyside whisky is part of the component in Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd’s blended whisky. Dufftown distillery markets its single malt as Singleton of Dufftown.

    This particular expression of Dufftown-Glenlivet is matured in an Oloroso sherry butt. It is likely distilled in the 1970s and bottled in the 1980s. It is one of those bottles which saw the expansion of the distillery from four stills to eight stills.

    Tasting Notes:

    Colour: Amber
    ABV: 43%

    Nose: Fresh blackcurrant (something like Ribena), dried fruits and definite sherry influence with hints of vanilla and toffee. (17/20)

    Palate: Perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Sweet tropical fruits with vanilla essence coupled with juicy wood spice and beeswax. (18/20)

    Body: Love it! Good balance of sweet berries with wood spice makes this a really pleasant drink. (34/40)

    Finish: Medium to long finish. Tangy orange zest with fresh gentle wood spices lingers. (17/20)

    Total Grade: 86/100


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      Whisky Review #35 – Allt-A-Bhainne 1991 Gordon & MacPhail


      Allt-A-Bhainne is founded as a workhorse to supply whisky for blending houses. In 1975, Chivas Brothers commissioned the distillery to supply malt whisky as a component of the Chivas Regal brand. Allt-A-Bhainne makes light estery malt for blending houses regularly but produces a heavily-peated variant occasionally. Single malt variants are rare and few in between.

      This particular expression of Allt-A-Bhainne was released as a single cask bottling by Gordon and MacPhail (G&M) during a brief closure of the distillery. Labelled as part of G&M Connoisseurs Choice, this expression is a rare single malt whisky from the Allt-A-Bhainne distillery.

      Tasting Notes:

      Colour: Pale Straw
      ABV: 43%

      Nose: Nature nose of grass, slightly flinty. Vanilla comes on strong in a short while with some citrus zest. Hints of smoke and nutmeg follow, making the nose spirity. (16/20)

      Palate: Creamy vanilla ice-cream with citrus fruits combine with grass. Some nutmeg comes in to add some complexity to the palate. (17/20)

      Body: Simple yet flawless as an easy drink. Not complex but refreshing and clean on the palate. Ideal as an aperitif or as a long drink. (33/40)

      Finish: Medium to long finish with caramel and some sea salt. (17/20)

      Total Grade: 83/100 


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        Whisky Review #34 – Royal Brackla 12 Years Old

        Royal Brackla Distillery has a long history that dealt with Kings and Queens. It started with the Highland whisky winning the heart of King William IV of the United Kingdom. Captain William Frasers of Brackla House founded Brackla Distillery on the estate of the Cawdor Castle in 1812. After King William IV chose the Brackla whisky as his whisky for the Royal Court, the distillery was granted a Royal Warrant. This precious warrant allowed the distillery to wear the word “Royal” in its name, making it one of the three distilleries ever honoured with such a title.

        This particular Royal Brackla expression is bottled specially for John Bisset & Co. and made available only in the Italian market.

        Tasting Notes:

        Colour: White Wine
        ABV: 43%

        Nose: Freshly cut grass with aromas of wild flowers and spicy toffee opens the nose. A little peat comes through as you nose it longer. (18/20)

        Palate: Sweet toffee comes through with the first sip, with bbq meat sauce becoming more evident as you savoured it. Slight smoke but yet grassy and mellow on the palate. (17/20)

        Body: Well balanced with a good mix of smoke and grass. A pleasant old style malt. (35/40)

        Finish: Short finish. Pleasant toffee sweetness lingers just a while. (17/20)

        Total Grade: 87 /100 


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          Whisky News: New Speyside Distillery Slated to Open

          Speyside, Scotland is about to get a new distillery. The Cabrach Trust has announced plans to build Cabrach Distillery in the Cabrach area on the southern edge of Moray, which is also the heart of Speyside. The Moray Council has given the approval for the Cabrach Trust to build the distillery recently.

          The new £5.3M whisky distillery plans to employ traditional distilling and bottling methods passed down from years gone by. The aim of the Cabrach Trust is to put Cabrach back on the whisky map and recalling its long history of Scotch whisky production. Cabrach is said to be one of the earliest places where illicit stills and smuggling of whisky could be found in ancient times.

          Construction plans are slated for June 2018 and production to start in 2019. The first bottling of matured whisky from Cabrach Distillery is planned for 2024, where 150,000 bottles are expected to be released each year thereafter. Cabrach Distillery is committed to source all ingredients locally and their water source is natural springs located on the land surrounding the distillery. The whisky will be matured in quarter casks (50 litres) and bottled directly on site. With such small casks, we can expect great whiskies from Cabrach Distillery!

          In the meanwhile, Cabrach Trust is busy working out the final specification for the distillery. They are also conducting deeper research with the ICBD regarding the exact balance for process, ingredients and maturation to get the flavour right for their whisky.

          A share offer will be announced early next year to give supporters a chance to be involved in the early stages of the distillery and own a small piece of whisky history.

          The Amazing History of Glenfiddich

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          Glenfiddich is the world’s best-selling single malt owned and produced by William Grant & Sons in Dufftown, Scotland. Better known as a Speyside single malt, Glenfiddich clinched the most awards at the International Spirits Challenge so far. It is one of the few Scottish distilleries that are family-owned with its current owner being the fifth generation of William Grant’s descendants.

          History of Glenfiddich

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          William Grant was a visionary of his time. For 20 years, he harboured the dream to “make the best dram in the valley”. He realised his dream in the summer of 1886, where he, together with his 7 sons and 2 daughters, set out to build the distillery by hand, with only one stone mason to help. It was completed one year later.

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          William named the distillery “Glenfiddich”, which is Gaelic for “Valley of the Deer” and a stag became the distillery’s symbol. The first drop of spirit ran on Christmas Day, 1887. It was a memorable day; one that paved the way for Scotland’s single malts.

          William’s grandson, Gordon Grant joined the family distillery in the 1920s, when Prohibition was in full swing. Instead of halting distillation, he increased whisky production. Due to his insights, Glenfiddich was one of the 6 operating distilleries in Scotland with fine, aged whiskies, ready to be sold, after the Prohibition ended.

          In 1957, Charles Gordon (William’s great grandson), built an onsite infrastructure that included having coppersmiths onsite to maintain their copper stills. A dedicated cooperage followed in 1959. These 2 infrastructures proved to add strength to Glenfiddich as it made them self-sufficient later. Almost at the same time, Glenfiddich also launched its now-iconic triangular bottle, which houses all their liquids up till today.

          Growing the Glenfiddich Brand

          The 1960s to 1970s were tough years for whisky distilleries. Many of the smaller, independent ones were either bought over or closed down. William Grants & Sons increased the production of their whisky and introduced both advertising campaigns as well as a visitor centre in order to survive the tough years. This period effectively marked the “birth” of modern-day single malt category as the company decided to market single malt as a premium brand in its own capacity.

          It is interesting to note that William Grant & Sons are also one of the pioneers to package its bottles in tubes and gift tins. They also understood the importance of duty-free markets for their whiskies. These marketing strategies worked for the brand, and it grows to become the best-selling single malt in the world today.

          The Glenfiddich Ranges of Whisky

          Glenfiddich whisky is produced at its distillery in Dufftown, Speyside. They take water from the Robbie Dhu springs and use various oak casks sourced from the Caribbean and America (Rum and Bourbon) as well as sherry butts from Jerez, Spain. The distillery has 28 hand-made copper pot stills and a team of coppersmiths maintain them on site. Glenfiddich has an extensive range of whisky from the core to the rare and the experimental.

          The Core Range

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          The core range includes their signature 12 YO, 15 YO, 18 YO and 21 YO. Each whisky is finely crafted to their individual taste profiles. The core range is popular and is enjoyed by many whisky drinkers around the world.

          The Special Edition

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          The special edition range consists of expressions bottled for a reason. For example, Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix was created in 2010 after warehousemen worked 24/7 to rescue maturing casks in minus 19-degree Celsius after extreme snow collapsed some of their warehouse roofs. Snow Phoenix was the result of the marrying of the finest of those rescued casks.

          The Rare and Vintage


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          The rare and vintage collection is Glenfiddich’s most exclusive and oldest single malt whiskies. The distillery auctioned these bottles for charity and broke records all over the world.

          The Cask Collection

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          The Cask Collection is Glenfiddich’s global travel retail edition. They represent the family’s pioneering and innovative spirits.

          The Experimental Series

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          This ground-breaking series of single malt whisky is the proof of the family’s philosophy of freedom and possibilities. Both of these expressions came from collaborations between Malt Master Brian Kinsman and someone outside of the distillery.

          Glenfiddich Today

          William Grant & Sons continues to bring exceptional whiskies to the international market with their Glenfiddich creation. There is no doubt that future generations of the family will continue the proud tradition of Glenfiddich and bring it to greater heights. We look forward to more amazing creations from the distillery in the future.

          Whisky News: Macallan launched Edition No. 3

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          Macallan announced the launch of their Edition No. 3 last week. It is the latest release of their annual limited edition series. Similar to the previous editions, this expression continues to explore Macallan’s unique approach to whisky making by revealing intimate details of the creation.

          In this new expression, Macallan’s Master Distiller, Bob Dalgarno, worked with Master Perfumer Roja Dove and his exceptional sensory insights in describing unique aromas in oak casks to create the complexities of single malt character. What they did was to get Dove to nose particular oak casks in their warehouse and described the distinctive aromas. Dalgarno then selected particular casks from those descriptions to create Edition No. 3.

          The final selection was a combination of smaller European and Amercian oak casks. The smaller size of the casks meant a greater contact between the spirit and the wood, creating a final product that is “sweet and fruity with fresh oak”.

          With a global release of 250,000 bottles, the Edition No. 3 is bottled at 48.3% abv, slightly higher than the normal Macallan bottles.

          It is priced at US$95. We figure it will be made available in the Singapore market soon!


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            What you should know about the Springbank Distillery

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            The Springbank Distillery is a family-owned single malt whisky distillery located on the Kintyre Peninsula on Scotland’s west coast. It established on the site of Archibald Mitchell’s illicit still in 1828. It is one of the last surviving distilleries in Campbeltown, a place that once housed more 30 distilleries.

            Short History of Campbeltown and Springbank Distillery

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            In 1591, Campbeltown was first associated with whisky in official records. By 1601, it became a popular whisky smuggling centre as well as the place to produce illegal whisky. The Mitchell family (founders of Springbank) moved to Campbeltown as settlers from the Lowlands with skills as maltsters in 1660s.

            Archibald Mitchell became a partner at Rieclachan Distillery in 1825 and was later joined by his brother Hugh Michell. When the laws were eased with the registration of whisky distillery, the Mitchell brothers founded Springbank in 1828. Built on the site of Riechlachan Distillery, Springbank became the 14th licensed distillery in Campbeltown.

            The family continued to expand their whisky outreach. In 1834, Archibald’s sister, Mary Mitchell, founded Drumore Distillery. By 1837, Archibald’s sons, John and William Mitchell, took over the distillery. The two brothers worked to expand the family’s whisky business, with William founding Glengyle Distillery in 1872.

            The family still owned many of the distilleries today. Currently, the 5th generation of the family is in charge at Springbank. He is the great, great grandson of Archibald.

            The whiskies of Springbank

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            The distillery produces three types of peated and unpeated malt whiskies. Most of them are single malts that are sorted into one of the three distinct brands of Springbank. A small percentage are sold to large blenders or made into Springbank’s own blended scotch labels.

            The three distinct brands of Springbank single malts are

            1. Springbank Single Malt
              This is possibly the most popular variation that bears the namesake of the distillery. The standard bottling is a 10 years old that is medium-peated and distilled 2.5 times. It is bottled at 46% abv. There are also cask strength Springbank bottles of 12, 15, 18 and 21 years old. This brand also releases wine cask editions on a regular basis.
            2. Longrow Single Malt
              Longrow is a name that was taken from the mothballed distillery founded by John Ross in 1824. Springbank revived the brand and bottled the first Longrow in 1973. The standard bottles are no-age statement editions, heavily-peated and doubled distilled. Nevertheless, there are some rare age-statement bottles such as the 16 years old. Longrow also has a Red edition that uses a different type of wine casks each year. Longrow won Best Campbeltown Single Malt at the 2013 World Whiskies Award.
            3. Hazelburn Single Malt
              This is the newest edition to the Springbank Distillery. It is also named after another mothballed distillery in Campbeltown. The liquid is first distilled in 1997 and bottled as a 10 years old. A 12 years old expression was released in 2009. Hazelburn is a non-peated, tripled distilled whisky.

            Springbank’s whisky making process

            Springbank is the only Scottish distillery that completes 100% of their production process on site. They malt 100% of their barley using the traditional floor malting methods. They also used many old pieces of machinery that were preserved and maintained over the years.

            The whisky making process for Springbank is as follows:

            1. Malting – Traditional floor malting methods are used in this stage. Barley is steeped in cold, clean water and allowed to swell up to 3 days. After that, it is laid out in a 6-inch deep even layer on the malting floors where the Springbank team turns it at regular intervals.
            2. Kilning – Once the malt is ready, they are moved to a kiln where they will be dried over a peat fire, hot air or a combination of both, depending on the brand being produced. Kilning takes between 30 to 48 hours.
            3. Milling – When kilning is completed, the barley is crushed into a fine powder called grist.
            4. Mashing – Grist is then placed into a mashing tun where hot water is added. This process extracts all the sugar into a liquid. The team rakes the liquid 3 times during mashing.
            5. Fermentation – The liquid drained from the mash is known as wort. It is transferred to wooden wash backs and yeast is added to convert the sugars into alcohol over a period of 80 to 110 hours of fermentation.
            6. Distillation – The liquid from the wash back passes through the 3 copper stills of Springbank – the wash still, the low wines still and the spirit still. After that, the liquid is transferred to the spirit safe when the stillman monitors the progress. The different brands go through different distillation processes to differentiate their distinctive styles.
            7. Cask Filling – The new spirit is then transferred to empty casks specially selected for Springbank.
            8. Maturation – The new casks are then sent to the dark, moist warehouse and left for a minimum of 3 years in maturation. Most whiskies are matured for a longer period under the watchful eyes of the Distillery Manager.
            9. Bottling and Labeling – All Springbank whiskies are non-chill filtered with no artificial colours added. During bottling, the team inspects the whisky at key stages to ensure the consistency of high quality and correct labelling.

            Choice of Campbeltown

            Springbank is indeed a great choice if you are looking at sampling Campbeltown whiskies. WhiskyGeeks have tried 2 rare whiskies from them. One of them is a Longrow 16 Years Old while the other is a Springbank 8 Years Old. Both are exceptional!


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              This is How Scotch Whiskies are Categorised


              Most people would know Scotch whisky as single malts, but there are also other forms of Scotch whiskies that you should know so that you can enjoy whisky completely! In this article, we will share a little about the different categories to pip your curiosity!

              Scotch Whisky Categories

              The Scotch Whisky Regulation 2009 defined five different categories of Scotch Whisky to regulate how Scotch whiskies are made and marketed across the world. The relevant category must be labelled clearly and prominently on every bottle of Scotch whisky that are sold around the world.

              Single Malt Scotch Whisky

              A single malt Scotch whisky must be distilled in a single distillery from water and malted barley without adding any other cereals. It must be batch distilled in pot stills and bottled in Scotland.

              Single Grain Scotch Whisky

              A single grain Scotch whisky must be distilled in a single distillery from water, malted barley and the addition of whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. Some Scotch whiskies which does not comply with the definition of single malt Scotch Whisky are also labelled as a single grain Scotch whisky

              Blended Scotch Whisky

              A blended Scotch whisky is simply a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.

              Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

              A blended malt Scotch whisky is a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

              Blended Grain Scotch Whisky

              A blended grain Scotch whisky is a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

              Greater Protection for Traditional Regional Names

              The changes made in the Scotch Whisky Regulation 2009 acts as a better protection for traditional regional names that produce Scotch whiskies, that is, the names of Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown. These names can only be put on the labels of whiskies which have been wholly distilled in the regions. A distillery name cannot be used as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky that is not wholly distilled in the named distillery. Labelling of every bottle of Scotch whisky is strictly monitored so as not to mislead consumers as to where the Scotch Whisky has been distilled.

              Better Protection for Consumers

              These regulations also provide for better protection for consumers who are buying Scotch whiskies all over the world. It helps to keep fraud down to the minimum. Besides, such regulations also help consumers to better understand where each bottle of whisky came from.

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                Understanding Scotch Whisky Regions

                Scotch Whisky Regions

                For a start, we are going to talk about the Scotch Whisky regions, mainly because Scotch whiskies are so popular all over the world, including Singapore. There are originally only 4 main whisky-making regions – Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and Campbeltown. As the distilleries grew in numbers over the years, Speyside (which was originally part of the Highlands) was recognised as one of the whisky-making region on its own because of the sheer number of distilleries located in the locale. As of 2013, there were 105 distilleries located in the locale that is defined by the river Spey.

                The Islands are never recognised officially by the Scotch Whisky Association, the main authority on Scotch whiskies. However, over the years, the whisky distilleries located in the Islands are allowed to put the name of the island that the whisky is made in on the label of the bottle as long as the golden nectar is distilled wholly in Scotland. This make the whiskies in the Island known to the world and now they are unofficially known as the 6th region in Scotland.


                The different regions are generally known for the different profiles of whiskies that they made. Each region is famous for a particular type of profile since the whiskies take on the characteristics of the land they are created in. Here’s a simple description of the whisky flavours in each region.


                The Highlands are marked as the biggest whisky-making region in Scotland, hence, it is not surprisingly to find a wide range of flavours here. You get the light and fruity styles in the Southern Highlands and the more spicy and full-bodied ones in the Northern Highlands.


                Speyside is defined by the river Spey, which runs through this region and provides water to many of the distilleries located here. The whiskies made in Speyside are recognised as the most complex of the lot in Scotland and most of them carries sweet aromas and sophisticated flavour profiles.


                The Lowlands are no longer a popular location for whisky distilleries and only three distilleries are still in operation in the Lowlands – Auchentoshan, Blandoch and Glenkinchie. This area is well known for light-bodied single malt whiskies.


                Campbeltown is a seaside region is which the sea is a heavy influencer on the whiskies produced. The golden nectar from this region usually carry the sea and brine of the region as well as the peat that is popularly used in the production of whisky.


                Islay is another seaside region that is well known for its peaty and strong-flavoured whiskies. They tend to be smoky and rather extreme in taste due to the various extremities of the sea that surrounded the area.


                The Islands are a group of islands that produce whiskies that are in between the sweet aromas of the Highlands and the peaty ones of Islay.

                It is obvious that Scotch whiskies are a complicated lot, but they are interesting. We will continue to bring you new details about these beautiful liquids whenever possible, so stay tuned for more!

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