The Macduff Distillery is relatively young in comparison to many of its Speyside neighbours, having only been founded in 1962.
Nestled away in Banff, Aberdeenshire and also known as Glen Deveron, this distillery produces some top quality, if little known whiskies, with quality malts all across the range, which includes a 10-Year-Old, a 12-Year-Old and an 18-Year-Old.
The youngest of the pack is fresh and sweet, with plenty of sea air. It will take you sandy beaches and musty taverns where the salt and brine is well ingrained in the wooden beams.
The nose is intriguing and beckons you to really get in there and sniff it out.
It is like an orchard drizzled in caramel, with fruity sweets and thick, syrup notes combining and intermingling.
They dance together under the watchful eye of the oak barrel, which can be detected in the undertone.
On the palate these flavours are distinct and well refined. The caramel becomes soft toffee that just melts in the mouth.
Fresh baked apple crumble, with a crunchy, biscuit topping comes through with more salty sea air and syrup sweetness.
The oak of the barrel becomes more like vanilla and has a wonderfully creamy texture to it.
The finish lingers with a nice contrast being made between the salt and caramel.
Now we come to the 12-Year-Old. Those extra years in the barrel have given this dram a nice spicy warmth to it, but again the characteristic salt and fruit are present.
The nose opens as it means to go on, with lots of apples, pear, biscuit and warm cinnamon.
The barrel is hinted at, with a similar oaky vanilla to the 10-Year-Old.
On the palate, this becomes spicier, with nutmeg and cloves joining the grainy notes.
Barley and toasted oats come through quite strongly on the palate and combine well with the spice.There is a slight saltiness to the spice and grains that wraps them together well.
The finish is long and malty, with a good amount of depth to it.
The last in the range is the 18-Year-Old. This dram may as well be a homage to Macduff’s closeness to the coast, considering how packed it is with sea brine and salt spray.
The nose introduces these flavours with a wonderful nuttiness behind it. This is reminiscent of the oak barrel and has a creamy sense about it.
Hazelnuts and pecans are joined by apples and pears, giving it a refined yet sophisticated flavour.
The sea brine is easily separate and has a delicate tang against the dullness of the nuts.
On the palate, the nuts become woodier and sweeter. They are combined with with dried raisins and apricots to create a combination that fits together perfectly.
The brine has even more of a tang to it and the sea air is ever present, with plenty of seaweed and salt.
There is an undertone of cinnamon and nutmeg in the 18-Year-Old as well, that gives it a subtle warmth.
This warmth becomes more obvious in the finish, which is long and allows you to fully savour all its delights.