On a recent visit to Edinburgh, my friend and I found ourselves at a loss with about 2 hours to kill, so, being whisky lovers, we decided to pay a little visit to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Queen Street venue to pass some time. Any excuse right? While there we had 4 drams from some of the society’s recent releases which I decided to do reviews of, this review is of the second of those delightful drops. – the first dram, a 19yo Linkwood, can be found here.
Dram number two of the afternoon was 72.51, which, if you know your SMWS codes (you can find out more about them here) means that this one came from the Miltonduff distillery, in Speyside. The details for the bottling are below:
|Cask No.||72.51 – Miltonduff|
|Bottle Name||Pepper-crusted charred roast beef|
|Cask Type||1st Fill White Wine/Virgin Oak Hogshead|
|Alcoholic Strength||60% ABV.|
|Number of Bottles||252|
|Tasting Notes||The whisky, previously in a 1st fill white wine hogshead, reminded us of an ‘unmovable force’ only swaying a little when adding some water.|
For the second whisky of the day we had another one of the societies resent soirees into finishing and secondary maturation. This 12 year old Miltonduff was distilled on the 23rd of September in 2004, from here it was filled into a 1st fill white wine hogshead. After an undisclosed amount of time it was then transferred into a virgin oak hogshead where it sat until bottling. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this sort of casking, or the title given to this whisky, but it certainly wasn’t what I got!
Upfront it was bitter, with a tannic grapeyness, and incredibly earthy. It was quite sour also and sulphury. As you could have expected from the labelling it was going to have savouriness to it, which came through initially as roast meats. Was this even whisky? Sticking with it we got overripe pears, white grapes and smoked cashew nuts, backed up by an array of different spice from vanilla to garam masala to cracked black pepper. Some sweet caramel and brown sugar battle through the bitter, sulphury edge with a dash of water. The water also brought out under ripe conference pears and more wood character. It was an intriguing nose and different to anything I had nosed before so I was looking to see how this came through on the palate.
Fizzy and strong arrival, the 60% ABV really smacks you in the mouth. It is also hugely sweet and not as winey as the nose, it is immediately clear from tasting that the virgin oak has had quite a strong impact on the flavour profile of this. It’s rich with vanilla, nutmeg and toasted coconut, as well as walnuts. The wineyness comes back through in the development which also brings tannic wood, bitter green cooking apples, milk chocolate and golden syrup. At the last there is a slight wisp of wood smoke. I must say that I hugely preferred the palate to the nose, this is a very odd dram!
The finish is again all about the virgin oak, with subtle suggestions from the white wine cask. Loads of vanilla and coconut shavings lead the way into the finish, which is joined by soft wine tannins. A nice sweet note of mixed peel comes through, as does dried thyme but the finish is fairly short and very drying.
Well, I still don’t know how I felt about this one, there were parts which I really enjoyed but certain aspects which I really wasn’t sure on. I would highly recommend this dram to anyone who can get the chance, not because it’s amazing and everyone will love it (I think this is the type of whisky you will love or hate), but because this is an experience of a dram. It is so different to anything that I have tried before and found it very interesting. We were both unsure of dram 2, so with over an hour still to go before our train we opted to go for a third.