Nose: Eucalyptus honey, spice and browning hay. Beeswax polished tables, floral touches (sugar flowers?), vanilla cream, apples, pears and some light raisiny notes.
Palate: Elegantly woody, with wax polish, linseed oil and sweet caramel leading to some darker flavours, including liquorice, woody spice and plummy fruit. Water knocks out the more interesting flavours, leaving it sweet and easy drinking but not much else – one to keep neat.
Finish: Green wood sappiness, cinnamon spice and touch of old wood.
Comment: Much darker in flavour than expected if this was all ex-bourbon cask, but it also doesn’t have quite the depth I’d expect from sherry casks – a tasty dram that plays with the Singleton feel and definitely benefits from the higher strength. Maybe we’ll get a high strength regular bottling of Dufftown one day…
Appearance: Deep antique gold. Good beading
Nose: Grand and mild; compact yet detailed, with ripe apple and pear fruit or perhaps beeswax and heather pollen, and scents of moorland herbs. Quite autumnal, with faint smoke and a savoury cereal note, and like an old dusty library carrying scents of wax and worn leather. Later, orange oil underscores the complex floral notes. In time some vanilla develops, becoming intense buttercream. Water lightens it considerably and brings out the malty, cereal character (like being in a grain loft), with leafy strawberries, more waxiness and the merest trace of smoke.
Body: Oily, dense.
Palate: At natural strength, this malt has a big, oily feel; sweet and reminiscent of a wholewheat breakfast cereal coated with honey. The initial effect is warming, with an instantly appetising astringency. Below this lie minty and faintly smoky notes and rich chewy liquorice with a digestive biscuit sweetness. It’s all sweeter and less oily with water; losing that piercing aromatic dryness and with the cereal note dimmed, it’s altogether gentler and more approachable.
Finish: Invigorating, warming and gloriously astringent at the end, with notes of pine and cedar to leave the palate tingling over a lingering last wisp of smoke.