18 years at the Hogshead gave the Dufftown a golden color. I am looking forward to the whisky because I rarely have whiskys in the glass that were not allowed to mature in a bourbon or sherry barrel.
In the nose I have a mixture of wood, citrus and spiciness. There is no really strong fruitiness, a tart note reminiscent of lemon, limes and orange peel overlays the other flavors. In combination with strong fruits this is often quite pleasant, but without a strong accompanying fruitiness the sour note is not really mine. Granny Smith apples may still be noticeable, but for me that was already the case with fruity elements. The wood is very noticeable with hints of hazelnuts, tobacco and dark chocolate. Pepper and ginger provide a spicy and mild sharpness in the nose. There is a slight sweetness and creaminess, but rather subtle and reminds me a little of cream.
With water he gets an additional wax note, the acidity decreases and menthol is noticeable.
In the mouth, the whisky has a strong start and the alcohol tingles a little on the tongue, but is still drinkable on its own. The whisky is spicy with black pepper, ginger and some leather and tobacco. The fruitiness and sweetness come through a little stronger than expected, but do not play a major role in this flavor composition. The tannins become a little stronger at the back, the tobacco is more noticeable, the chocolate is slowly moving from the bittersweet area towards the coffee note and initiates the finish.
The tannins on tap set the tone. Tobacco, some leather, old furniture wood and a pleasant spiciness play the main roles for me. The dark chocolate is no longer noticeable, for me it's more towards coffee. The fruitiness and sweetness swing only slightly in the background. A maximally medium-long finish, a little dryness stays longer in the mouth but the other flavors are long gone.
The whisky opens up clearly with water, it becomes fruity and sweeter in the mouth, licorice can now also be tasted, and overall the whisky gains more aromas through the addition of water. And I'm not talking about 2-3 droplets, but about thinning down to about 48% alcohol. The ginger sharpness drops significantly and the whisky becomes milder and creamier in the mouth. It is not often that I find a whisky with added water better.
Overall, this is a whisky for me that I was not really impressed with. Adding water is a great whisky that I liked. But for me the nose lacks a powerful fruitiness, which integrates the acid notes well. In my mouth the focus is too much on wood and spices.
I give 84/100 points. I personally wouldn't get more than one sample from it. There are simply too many better whiskys for the money.