Did you know that Miltonduff is the 7th largest working distillery in Scotland? I bet you didn’t, and I bet that many of you have never heard of this distillery either! Well let’s change that right now.
The story begins in 1824 when an illegal farm distillery by the name of Milton in Scotland’s Speyside region was granted a license to distill, following the passing of the Excise Act. After its founders, Robert Bain and Andrew Peary received the license they added the word ‘Duff’ to the end of the name. The Duff family was the actual owners of the land on which the distillery sat.
The distillery worked steadily until 1935 when it was purchased by Hiram Walker Gooderham and Worts’. The owners who eventually became known as Chivas Brothers needed a steady flow of malt for their burgeoning Ballantine’s Blend. Most of Miltonduff’s malt production is still used for Ballantines with the remainder going directly into Chivas’s numerous other blends.
As a result, official distillery bottling’s are rare to non-existent. However Gordon & MacPhail (G&M), Scotland’s Oldest Independent Bottlers, have a unique relationship with the present owners. G&M have the exclusive right to bottle small quantities of malt every year with consent from the distillery. They do this under a pre-approved label that has been in use for many years. I particularly like the Miltonduff label for its traditional and classic tones of gold and green with a lovely picture of the distillery.
The end result is a win-win for everybody. Chivas Brothers do not have to market and sell yet another malt, and can instead concentrate on selling their money making blended Scotches. G&M get to do what they do best, that is bottling rare and unique whiskies and bringing them to an appreciative audience who, have not been swayed by big brand marketing companies. Vine & Table gets to have a very rounded selection of whiskies that include well known brand names along with many lesser known malts. And finally you the consumer, who without specialist retailers like ourselves, would never have the pleasure of indulging in more esoteric malts.
So how does it taste? This 10 year old has all of the attributes of a classic Speyside malt, light yet firm in body with notes of summer flowers, orange marmalade and buttery fudge. The use of sherry casks is clear but the sherry character never dominates. It has a good finish with just a hint of pepper and spice. Bottling strength is 86 proof.
I have long liked this expression since I was first introduced to it on early 2009. The price for this whisky is very affordable in my opinion and will not leave you reeling from sticker shock as some other rare malts have a tendency to do!