Dufftown Double Duel

Taste Review #32 – Mortlach 16 Flora and Fauna vs Pittyvaich 12 Flora and Fauna

Continuing from my tour of Speyside, and once again in the Seven Stills, one of the things I noticed about their whisky is that it had a high proportion of the Flora and Fauna bottlings. As you should now know, I have a soft spot for these bottles. Not all of them are rare, but some are harder than others to get and some are never really seen in a bar.

However, out of the four Flora and Fauna bottles that originated from Dufftown (Glendullan, Dufftown, Mortlach and Pittyvaich), three of them still live on as a distinct distillery range. However, Pittyvaich is a lost distillery, and will eventually become harder to find.

Mortlach distillery was the first legal distillery to open in Dufftown after the 1823 distillery licencing reform, and was the only distillery in Dufftown until Glenfiddich opened. In 1923, the distillery was bought by John Walker and Sons, and from there through various takeovers and mergers came to be owned by Diageo, its current owners. Mortlach has adopted a 2.81 distillation regime, which is similar to that formerly practiced at Benrinnes.

Mortlach Distillery

Pittyvaich, prior to the founding of Kininvie was the youngest distillery in Dufftown, being completed in 1974, alongside Dufftown distillery. It was founded by Arthur Bell to provide spirit for their blends, and in turn and the usual changes of hands, it passed into the ownership of Diageo. Unfortunately, things didn’t end so well for Pittyvaich, and it only produced for 19 years. It later was used to produce Gordons Gin, and as a Diageo training facility until 2003 when the buildings were demolished. Some of the equipment went to Clynelish disiltillery, so a little bit of Pittyvaich survives somewhere.

Pittyvaich Distillery (RCAHMS)

Dufftown is essentially the home of Speyside whisky, with 6 producing distilleries – Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie, Mortlach, Glendullan and Dufftown. There are two more silent distilleries – Parkmore and Convalmore, both of which have been dismantled and are now used for storage.

There isn’t a lot to do in Dufftown, but there is the Whisky Shop Dufftown in the centre of the village, as well as several bars, restaurants and takeaways. You aren’t far away from the Speyside Cooperage and Macallan Distilleries if you don’t fancy touring Glenfiddich or can’t get a place on the Balvenie tour. There is also the option of nearby GlenAllachie distillery just south of Aberlour.

Onto our business of wetting our thrapple


Region

Speyside

Age

Mortlach 16 years / Pittyvaich 12 years

Strength

Both at 43% a.b.v

Colour

Mortlach – Gold

Pittyvaich– Dark Amber.

Nose

Mortlach – Heavy sherry. Milky caramel, oak, vanilla. Bit of spicy oak.

Pittyvaich – Sherry sweet smoke, sultana, bit of orange peel.

Mortlach. The Beast of Dufftown

Taste

Mortlach – O-M-G. Christmas cake in a bottle. Sherry notes, citrus peel, slight hint of green apple, very rich.

Pittyvaich – wow. Smooth as anything. Nutty vanilla, toffee, raisin, spice

Pittyvaich

Finish

Mortlach Medium sweet, fruit, apples with a short blast of spice.

Pittyvaich – Long and dry, mostly vanilla and creamy caramel. Bit of smoke.

Conclusion

It’s not what you might expect. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. Mortlach has a great reputation, and the Mortlach Flora and Fauna bottling was probably the highest revered out of all of them; certainly the sherried ones. But for me, I’m surprised to tell you that the Pittyvaich for me was much better. It had a good mouth feel, the arrival was so smooth, and wasn’t so spirit led.

Pittyvaich Control (RCAHMS)

Of course, I have no way of knowing how long each bottle has been open, as whisky does degrade very slowly in the bottle due to oxidation. Has this played a part? I can’t tell, as I have no idea what a freshly opened bottle tastes like. What I can tell you is this:-

⁃ both were delicious

⁃ both are chill filtered

⁃ both have E150a colouring

⁃ both bottles are discontinued

⁃ no more Pittyvaich is being made

⁃ There still is a Mortlach 16 made at 43.4%

You might be lucky and find these bottles in your friendly specialist whisky retail shop, but chances are that they have just bought it at auction and are reselling. Prices for Mortlach range from £130 to £160. You might get lucky and get one with a wooden box. Pittyvaich wasn’t such a popular whisky, but pricing is slightly lower, between £100 and £150 on average. Both bottlings initially came with the white cap and will command more money.

There aren’t many independent bottles of Pittyvaich either. A handful from Duncan Taylor, Gordon & Macphail and Douglas Laing, but really the Flora and Fauna release and a couple of special releases are all you will get as official bottles. Grab it while you can to taste it.

1st Edition Mortlach (whiskyhammer.com)

I’d certainly recommend tasting both of these whiskies at some point in your journey. I’m glad I have without having to open my collection.

You can always visit the Seven Stills in Dufftown, as their bottles won’t last forever, and you’ll get a decent feed and service from owners Ros and Patrick.

Slainte Mhath!


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or by liking or sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

– authors own unless otherwise credited

Got Nuthin’ But Time….

what to do when things are quiet

Unfortunately for some, life does tend to place obstacles in the way of being able to enjoy a good dram. For me, that major obstacle is my work. As I write this, I’m currently in Kristiansund, Norway getting ready for another phase of an offshore project. This has meant whisky activities have been somewhat curtailed.

That does not mean I have not been busy.

At the moment, there is a handful of online auctions occurring, and if you fancy a 26 year old GlenDronach with a signed box from the most powerful tangerine skinned golf course owner in the world (his day job is running the USA) then perhaps take a look at this page on whiskyauctioneer.com. This might help my reviews improve as I will be able to buy more whisky.

But other than shopping in the online bazaars, what can a whisky enthusiast do to while away those quiet hours with not much to do?

As we are slowly approaching the end of the year, you can maybe consider what whisky goals you have for the next 12 months. This is what I am doing. There is so much to experience in this whisky-world, and now I am coming close to achieving the completion of a major collecting policy, I want to consider more the drinking side of it. I may even consider membership of the SMWS.

In quiet times, there is the space to research about whiskies you want to try, for those of us with limited budgets or those who have more disposable income and want to push the boat out wisely.

I am also looking forward to trying new whiskies, some of which I have had for some time, and would like to share with some of you in some way.

Continuing on the looking forward theme, I’m looking into attending a whisky festival, probably Spirit of Speyside next year if work and family permit. Attending these events can also be tied into a family holiday if your spouse is sympathetic to your hobby. Speyside is a great place to vacation, as long as you can deal with inclement weather.

Of course, you could always recommend my blog and or Facebook page to your whisky drinking friends. Just saying….. 😉

For my last look forward, and plus a look back, I’m thinking of what I can do to move Scotty’s Drams forward a bit. I’m limited in the I.T technologies, and prefer to keep the blog fairly basic, as we then concentrate on the important stuff of whisky. And perhaps whiskey too in the future. There is no shame in my looking back, as I am looking back to all the amazing people and contacts I’ve made since starting my whisky journey, from people in the street, on the train, retailers, fellow bloggers (in particular I really like www.barleymania.com – cheers Tobi, I manage to not to copy but am inspired by your samples!) and also people at work. During this trip offshore, I’ve already spoken to more than one person who has an interest in whisky, and that my readers, is another contact way beyond work.

To paraphrase a couple of quotes and merge into one –

“There are no strangers in whisky. Just friends you haven’t met yet.”

Have you made any new whisky friends or contacts?

And there we will leave it for this week. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but the internet is spectacularly crap here and I thought I’d have a break.

Next week’s review is a double header; not just one whisky but two from the village of Dufftown. I’ll give kudos to those of you who guess which ones.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or by liking or sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

Nae photos this time 😉

Hard to Put Down

Taste Review #31 – SMWS 41.101

This whisky was tasted in mid September whilst I was quickly passing through Glasgow. I only managed two nips at the Bon Accord bar in North Street. I’ve never tasted any SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) produce before, and with a choice of SMWS available, this was my chance.

The SMWS label their bottles by a code number for the distillery followed by the series number.

The bottle and Dram

Region

Speyside

Age

28 y.o

Strength

49.5% a.b.v

Colour

Mahogany

Nose

Dark fruit, prunes, tobacco, black currant

Palate

Dark Cherry, blackcurrant, caramelised sugar and a small hint of oak.

Finish

Long, pleasing and complex when all of the above components fade with a spicy explosion.

Conclusion

Yes, well, what can I say? Firstly, for those of you who hadn’t taken the time to Google the SMWS distillery codes, I can tell you that this was the produce of the Dailuaine distillery which sits in that wee pocket of three distilleries which I thoroughly approve of. The only real official bottling of Dailuaine at present is the 16 year old Flora and Fauna bottling, which I also like.

This whisky spent 27 years in a bourbon cask, followed by a further year in a first fill Pedro Ximenez cask.

This one was a flavour punch in the chops, and hard to pin down any one flavour. On initial smell, I was reminded of cheese until I realised it was actually tobacco and prunes. At cask strength, it was a bit strong, so had to be tamed with a wee splash of water which did the trick and became much more drinkable.

I would strongly recommend this if you like your whiskies with strong and upfront flavours. Availability is the key here and you’d probably only find this at auction, or from the SMWS. I paid £28 for this dram which given its rarity and the fact it was a 35ml serving wasn’t bad value. Expect to pay around £180 for this at auction. As there was only 258 bottles made, this is on Unicorn Whisky territory, so if you want to try it, buy one if you see it.

Slainte Mhath!


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or by liking or sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

photo – authors own

Cross over to the dark side

Taste Review #30 – Octomore 9.1 Dialogos

It’s no real secret that I enjoy two styles of whisky, sweet or smoky. Sometimes I can go as far as saying I like them both together. Yes, sometimes nothing can beat an excellent Speyside whisky, but sometimes I just want more.

One thing I haven’t done yet on Scotty’s Drams is drink a really young whisky for review. You may think that young whisky is rubbish, but that is not necessarily so. Take a look at one of my much earlier articles about the myths of age by clicking here. We all know that NAS whisky is hiding younger produce, so it is a brave move to advertise an age statement of 5 years.

I sense a challenge!

Having said that, Octomore is just a peated Bruichladdich, so there isn’t a lot of risk here, so when I saw it advertised as the worlds peatiest malt, I was in for a piece of that action.

The Dialogos part of the release name is meant to mean – ‘written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literary and theatrical form that depicts such an exchange’.

Personally I think it just represents a heap of marketing bollocks.

Bottle and dram

Region

Islay

Age

5 years

Strength

59.1% a.b.v

Colour

Pale Gold

Nose

Smoke. Lots of it. Sweet notes of toffee, vanilla, floral too.

Palate

Smooth. No real problems despite being cask strength. Fudge, smoke, oak wood, nuts.

Finish

Long, maritime finish with a hint of sea salt. Treacle, molasses, peat.

Conclusion

Despite the peatiness of this whisky, coupled with its youth, it was an extremely nice dram, and if I saw a bottle of it at a good price, I would buy without hesitation. If you are a Laphroaig fan, this is for you. Outclasses Ardbeg completely.

Tube and bottle (tyndrum whisky)

This goes to prove my point in a much earlier article on the blog that young age is not a disqualification from being a decent whisky. If this was a much older dram, it might have lost that lightness and just been overpowering.

Bottles of this are available online for around £115, but always check your local friendly whisky retail specialist. My dram cost £10 for 25ml at the Grill Bar in Aberdeen.

Incidentally, it isn’t the worlds most peated Scotch whisky. For the time being that is the Dialogos 10 year old at a 167ppm. The challenge continues.

Slainte Mhath!


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or by liking or sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

– authors own unless otherwise credited

A wee chip off the Monkeys Shoulder

Taste Review #29 – Kininvie 23 Batch 3

This is the first of the whiskies I had at the Bon Accord Bar in Glasgow. Kininvie as a single malt is very rarely seen, although there has been three batches at 23 year old and a couple at 17 year old. I’ve never seen it as an independent bottling, but there may be one or two out there. This puts it into the edges of Unicorn whisky.

The Kininvie distillery is not really a distillery on its own, but an offshoot of The Balvenie distillery. While it was its own dedicated mash tun and wash backs in the Balvenie distillery, the wash is piped to a remote still house about 200 metres away. Due to the regulations, this separate still house could not be called Balvenie, so is called Kininvie. The distillery started production in 1990, and early releases were known as Hazelwood, which was the home of a descendant of William Grant. The Hazelwood name is to be reused as a line of blended whiskies.

In fact, most of Kininvie’s output is for blending, and it is one of the key components of the Monkey Shoulder blended malt. This I will also be reviewing at a later date.

The Dram and Bottle

Region

Speyside

Age

23

Strength

42.6% a.b.v

Colour

Light gold

Nose

Fresh fruit, wood, vanilla

Palate

Nice spirit buzz on arrival. Tropical fruits, creamy vanilla, Oak.

Finish

Sweet, barley sugar, Pineapple,

Conclusion

Hey hey hey! This is the first Kininvie I have tasted, despite me having the 23 year old from the first 2 batches in storage. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed. Quite a strong arrival, and it needed a bit of water to develop to a point where I could start picking out flavours.

Yes, at 42.6% it still needed water, and this wasn’t on account of spirit strength. It is just a fact of life that some spirits don’t reveal their true nature until a little water is added. It is presented at natural colour and I am guessing it may be chill filtered as I saw no cloudiness appear when I added water, but then again, I added very little and it was at room temp.

Kininvie is bottled in 35CL measures, and given the price tag of around £120 at retail, it doesn’t represent good financial value. I’ve had whisky just as good costing a lot less. However, it is a bit on the rare side, so you might be better off looking at auctions, although some prices can hit the retail price.

I paid £27 for my dram at the Bon Accord bar in Glasgow. Not cheap, but worth it for the experience and another dram ticked off.

Slainte Mhath!


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or by liking or sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

– authors own.

Boogie Woogie (Glen)Ugie!

Taste Review #28 – Glenugie 1980 ‘Deoch an Doras

During my three days of complete whisky geekery, I decided to spend a bit of time trying to drink drams I already had in storage that I didn’t want to open, or rarer drams that I hadn’t bought and wanted to try. I had planned to visit the Tannochbrae guest house in Dufftown, but they weren’t open, so I ended up in the Seven Stills. I hadn’t been there before, and didn’t realise it wasn’t a pub as such, but more a bistro. However, they have a cracking whisky selection, and I had three drams there that I had always wanted to try, and all three were unicorns.

Glenugie Distillery (Stuart Johnson/Flikr)

Glenugie was a distillery that sat just to the south of Peterhead, in the North East of Scotland, and was the most easterly of the distilleries. It was owned by Seager Evans, who used the whisky in their blends. The distillery sat in the shadow of HMP Peterhead, a darkly imposing gaol where some of Scotland’s most violent criminals were sent. Indeed, the prison was the scene of violent rioting, at least one riot saw a prison warded held hostage on the roof, requiring the attendance of the SAS.

Prison Riot, Peterhead 1987 (P&J)

Seager Evans had been sold to Whitbread, and the division renamed Long John International. But disaster for the industry was around the corner. During the 80’s saw the start of the whisky loch due to over production and the industry was haemorrhaging cash. There was a massive cull of distilleries between 1983 to 1985, and sadly Glenugie was the first one to close. Long John International passed over to Allied Distillers, which later became a part of Pernod Ricard.

It is Pernod Ricard that now bottles Glenugie, and given when the distillery closed, bottlings are going to become ever older and expensive. This one is in the Deoch an Dorcas range, which is supposed to mean a drink at the door in Scots Gaelic. The site of the distillery is now demolished and is now used by Score Energy.

Nothing remains of the distillery, apart from the remains of an old windmill, (see photo below) which is listed, and was probably never used in the whisky production. The highlighted warehouses were demolished in 2018 to make room for more specialist storage.

This was the second official bottling of Glenugie, and I gather this was only a run of 500 bottles, so will be quite rare.

Bottle and Dram

Region

Highland

Age

30 years

Strength

52.13% a.b.v

Colour

Honey

Nose

Rich, dried fruits raisins, chocolate,toffee, wood.

Palate

Sweet, sherry notes, plum, prunes, raisins, slightly tannic. Oak notes open up nicely with the addition of two teaspoons of water.

Finish

Long, chocolatey. Metallic taste at the end. Drying

Conclusion

In short, very nice. This is truly whisky whisky history as you know that every drop drunk can never be replaced. Despite being at cask strength, I never added any water to start with, as I wanted to experience the full unadulterated flavour. The sweet and wood was there, and despite me not knowing what cask was used, I’d suggest a sherry cask, possibly of European Oak, but will never know.

Various bottlings of Glenugie are available, but most command big prices at auction. The best bet is to visit a Pernod Ricard distillery and see what is on the shelves. There isn’t any more being distilled, and this is certainly a distillery that I would recommend a dram of being tried, if only at a whisky bar.

Score Energy, Peterhead (Apple Maps)
Warehouses and Windmill, pre 2018

This was affordable for the geeks amongst us at £29 a nip. Bottles can go for over £700 at auction.

Deoch an Doras, as previously mentioned means a drink at the the door, but is more commonly referred to as one for the road. Please, if you experience this dram, don’t rush it, and take your time. It will be worth it.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or liking sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


photo credits

all credited below photos.

Dram, authors own.

The dram of split personality

Taste Review # 27 – Glengoyne 10

the distillery – glengoyne.com

This is the last in the trilogy of distilleries that were in the film “The Angels Share”, the other two I’ve previously reviewed being Deanston and Balblair. This is a pretty distillery , dissected by the A81 between Glasgow and Aberfoyle. Underneath the road, the Highland fault line runs, which means that the stills are in the Highland Region, but the warehouses are in the Lowland region. As the stills are in the Highland region, that is the classification it receives. Potentially a dual personality.

from the air – Apple maps

Glengoyne started producing whisky in 1833, and is now owned by Ian Macleod Distillers, whose other distillery is Tamdhu on Speyside.

The still house holds 3 stills, 1 Wash and 2 spirit stills, along with 8 warehouses. Behind the warehouses, the long distance trail, the West Highland way goes past on the course of an old railway line. The distillery would be an excellent place for walkers to take a diversion, as there is a visitor centre on site.

the bottle

Region

Highland

Age

This Glengoyne is 10 years old

Strength

40% a.b.v

Colour

Golden Yellow

Nose

Mmmm. Quite sweet. Vanilla fudge, floral notes, apples

Palate

Light, herbal, Apples, oak, barley, liquorice. Bit of a spirit kick. Water gave a nuttier taste.

Finish

Short, sweet, malty dryness.

the dram

Conclusion

The 10 year old of this distillery is the youngest expression released, and I have to say, for me I found this a bit rough. I don’t know why people rave about this malt, but I am suspecting I need to go for something a bit older. There didn’t seem to be a great depth to this dram, and the complexity was, to my taste, limited.

I might be being a bit harsh, as there wasn’t anything that bad about it, but neat, even though it was 40%, it was ragged round the edges, and I felt I had to add water – something I don’t automatically do for many whiskies. However, I think I would be tempted to try the older expressions.

At around £33 for a full sized bottle, it isn’t too expensive if you want to take a punt. I’ll pass on this one, and see if it is the older expressions that garner the praise.

Slainte Mhath!


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or liking sharing this article by clicking on icons below.

If you prefer not to use Facebook, follow the WordPress blog by clicking on the link below which will deliver any blog posts to your inbox, including reviews, distillery visits, whisky news and advice.


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photos credited on image / authors own.