By Richard Thomas
The name “Singleton of Dufftown” always struck me as a way around a thorny identification problem, although I know that isn’t where it comes from. The whisky comes from Dufftown Distillery, which is the last of six distilleries to open in that Speyside township. The other five are Balvenie, Glendullan, Glenfiddich, Kininvie and Mortlach, so Dufftown is obviously a prestigious whisky-making hot spot. “Dufftown whisky” is a term with some potential for confusion.
The Singleton’s signature is to draw on a mix of American and European oak, giving it a sweet and spicy verve, and was originally established about a decade ago by current owner Diageo as a travel retail line. Beyond The Singleton and a line of single malts named simply “Dufftown,” the distilleries stock is an important contributor to Bells (but I won’t hold that against it).
Bottled at 40% abv, this single malt has a middle amber coloring, sitting in the brown-copper range. The nose is a well-balanced brew of apples and wine, earthy coffee rinds and musty wood, and just a dash of ash. The flavor follows suit, with apples and plums, oak and a dash of pepper coming on at the end. The finish is light and silky, despite an aftertaste of dry wood and pepper, which in fact gives the close a lovely contrast. Overall, it’s a flavorful and contemplative sipper.
The 15 Year Old Singleton of Dufftown is listed at around £40 ($60) in the UK, but is listed as low as €40 with some European retailers.