Sunday, 27 May 2012

Whisky Discovery #115

Singleton of Dufftown 15 Year Old (40% abv, OB, Bottled 2012 70cl)
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
Circa £40.00 70cl

The Singleton of Dufftown 15 Year Old

This was the third dram of 'The Magnificent 7' master class session with Colin Dunn at The Whisky Lounge Midlands Fest. I must admit, I was surprised to see this as part of the magnificent seven line up. With the huge range of single malts available from Diageo there are many more I would have chosen over this, however, I was looking forward to seeing how it compared against the other expressions in the range. I tried the 12 year old early on in my journey and found little to' write home' about. Then at Whisky Live in London earlier this year I tasted the 18 year old expression, which was so much better. Only the 12 year old is usually widely available in the UK, I've seen the 15 year old on the usual on-line retailers, and my local Cambridge Wine Merchants in Ampthill also have a bottle of it on their shelves. 

There has been a fair amount of publicity for the 12 year old expression in the UK, especially on Facebook where they have been giving miniatures away to their followers and asking them to vote if is their favourite whisky. I sent of for one recently (I was hoping for either a 15 or 18 year old sample) and when the 12 year old arrived, gave it to my daughter to see how it was for her. Singleton is also being promoted on Diageo's website, with the voting tally is prominently displayed on the main page. Then, I was on holiday in Tenerife last month and there was a wall of Singleton whisky in the airport duty free shop showcasing all three expressions. Diageo have been busy promoting this brand, certainly in Spain.

So what did I think?

Strangely enough (and who'd have guessed it?) It seems to sit nicely in between the 12 and the 18 year old. The spirit and maturation wood is the same throughout, using  a mixture of European and American oak casks, and so the flavour profiles are all very similar. Personally I wouldn't pick up a bottle of 12 year old again, I tried hard to find something in it, but all I could really say was 'nice bottle' (and I mean that as I kept mine, it's used daily as our water carafe!)

The 15 year old is so much better than the 12 year old It is incredible what the extra three years in the casks have done for the lacklustre 12 year old. Although not quite as good as the 18 year old, it has a very fragrant nose; 

Colin told us that it always reminds him of fig rolls and I could see where he was coming from, but there was also a coconut and chocolate bouquet to it too, like a dark chocolate Bounty bar.

The bottle was left to my daughter during the tasting session (well Colin came and placed it on the table in front of us, and it fell into my bag before we left) so had the opportunity to revisit this at WDHQ. With longer in the glass, the fig roll biscuits are far more prominent, and also a creamy butterscotch aroma, but still the dark chocolate and coconut was there, as I said, very fragrant. 

On the palate the sweetness continues, quite smooth with vanilla cream. The finish was much longer than I was expecting, initially a light peppery finish which remains while a sweetness develops at the back of the mouth. All said it is quite a drinkable whisky, with lot more going for it than the 12 year old, however I don't think I will be looking to add this to my shelf in any great hurry and I think they need to reconsider the abv of both the 15 and 18 year olds

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