When learning about and tasting whisky the blind tasting is often cited as the benchmark test for scoring in a non prejudicial or objective way. However, if like me you research a whisky before buying this is not always possible. I bought a couple of these Macduffs (one to drink one to keep) purely based on the Whisky Bible 2014 and Jim Murray's Score of 95.5pts. It was also a chance to explore an independent bottling from a distilery hitherto unknown to me - the official bottlings from the Macduff distillery are bottled as Glen Deveron...
Although it's only one guy's opinion at the end of the day - I've found his ratings are generally good (although I'm aware there's a lot of hostility in the industry around possible bias of his whisky awards). In this kind of tasting it's more about a reverse process of working back from the score and trying to discover why someone with a lot more experience thinks the whisky is so good...! I've had a few reflll sherry cask whiskies recently and I must say - they're a bit of a revelation. Fresh fill sherried whiskies like A'bunadhs are great, but the sherry can dominate the malt.
(see Ralfy review 627 for more on refill sherry casks)
This one reminds me of smelling my Dad's whisky as a child, even smelling the empty glass the following day. The malt and the cask compliment each other and create a classic whisky experience. The sherry notes are subtle, the nose is complex but subtle - there is a great oakiness in this one and it's not smouthered with fusty damp wood/ cellar floor notes. This is an elegant dram, with a fabulous nose and an even better long lingering finish with plenty of oak spices. The whisky is supremely balanced - fresh, crisp and vibrant. I'm not getting the hazelnut praline (perhaps almond and pear tart?) Jim talks of - but the Jaffa cake (chocolate/ citrus orange) is there.
I've spent over 6months with this one and it's actually magnificent in my opinion.
This one is well worth a punt if you can still find it. 92 pts from me