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Monday, March 14, 2022

The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old

Staying true to form as the blogger who writes about only the sexiest of single malts, I am reviewing two Dufftowns this week.

Built in 1895, Dufftown distillery was in the hands of the Mackenzie family until 1933 when it was brought into Arthur Bell's stable, and it has remained a major ingredient in the Bell's blends ever since, even after both brands were consumed by Diageo.

The Big D rolled out The Singleton malts in 2006: Glen Ord for Asia, Glendullan for North America, and Dufftown for Europe. I reviewed the Glendullan more than ten years ago (sweet Jeebus), finding it lackluster even during that starry-eyed era. Two years later, I found the Glen Ord much more to my liking. It's time to close the loop with a sample of the Dufftown 12yo Singleton obtained from Florin (a prince) at least seven years ago.

Distillery: Dufftown
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Range: The Singleton
Age: at least 12 years old
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
(thank you, Florin!)


Its nose offers idiosyncrasies missing from the other two Singleton 12s. Aside from familiar but welcoming notes of toasted barley, grapefruit and nectarines, there's something industrial going on, like metal, grease and/or spent synthetic oil. After 30+ minutes, notes of fresh thyme and fermenting garlic float up in the background.

The palate is not Smooth™ like most 40%/filtered/dyed official 12 year olds. It's sharp, metallic and bitter, with something musty going on in the background. With its gentle sweetness, the whole palate is a bit messy, but in an interesting way.

The whisky normalizes in the finish, shedding its oddities while holding onto a barley note. It's tangy, sweet and brief.


This is the first time I've used the word "idiosyncrasies" on this blog until today. Who would have known it would be about one of The Singletons? I'm pretty certain my palate is not on the bad drugs, because I distinctly remember trying this bottle with Florin, and both of us finding the whisky to be very quirky. Or maybe this was just a magic bottle.

Sadly, all of that character could not withstand the 40%/filtered/dyed presentation. May I be the first human on record to request a 46%abv/ncf/nc version of Dufftown 12 year old? In the meantime, I should just try the one cask strength Dufftown I have on hand...

Availability - Worldwide, no longer just for Europeans
Pricing - $30-$45
Rating - 81