Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Singleton of Dufftown 21 & 25 year old Hong Kong launch (Tasted #278 - 281)

This evening MHDHK introduced two new expressions from The Singleton to Hong Kong - the Sherried 21yo, and the ex-Bourbon cask 25yo, both from the Diageo-owned Dufftown Distillery in (you guessed it) Dufftown, Speyside. Held at the stunning Paradis in Central, the event included a guided tasting of both the 12 and 18 year old (from the Highlands-based Glen Ord distillery), as well as the new releases.

First though were the cocktails, which saw The Singleton taking the place of spirits that are usually something other than whisky, such as the Singleton Espresso Martini (made with The Singleton of Glen Ord 12) and the mojito-esque Singleton Smash (made with The Singleton of Glen Ord 18). Our favourite though was the Singleton Carre, based (we suspect) on the Vieux Carré, swapping out the rye for single malt. A delicious twist, made even more so by the assortment of accompanying canapés.

It wasn't long before it was time to take our seats, and hear Marketing Director Drew Mills talk us through the tasting lineup, providing a little more insight into the whiskies we were about to taste. For example, we've known for a while that The Singleton is popular in Asia (particularly in travel retail), but didn't know that in Taiwan (widely known as being the most significant single malt market in Asia), The Singleton enjoys the position of #1 single malt. Of course, to be fair "The Singleton" is not a single distillery, but rather a brand which represents multiple distilleries' single malts. An impressive statistic nonetheless.

Drew explained that whilst the 12 and 18 effectively follow the same maturation (the latter simply for another 6 years), the 21 and 25 are matured in an entirely different fashion, with the 21 aged in ex-Sherry casks (style and bodega not specified), and the 25 aged in ex-Bourbon American Oak casks. We also learned that casks from The Dufftown Distillery are prized by Johnnie Walker blenders when producing Johnnie Walker Blue Label

..and with that background, it was time to taste!

The Singleton of Glen Ord 12yo (40% ABV, 12yo, Highlands, Scotland, $535HKD / $70AUD)
Colour: Orange gold.
Nose: Orange peel and milk chocolate. Smooth, creamy vanilla.
Palate: Slightly thin at first, but rounds out soon after. Candied almonds and orange zest, with a slight earthiness.
Finish: Short, earthy, with the faintest hint of smoke.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. An enjoyable, approachable everyday sipper.

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18yo (40% ABV, 18yo, Highlands, Scotland, $1,450HKD)
Colour: Copper gold.
Nose: Not dissimilar to the 12, but much sweeter, with much more confectionary.
Palate: Vanilla, strawberries and whipped cream. A fuller mouthfeel than the 12. Some candied orange peel.
Finish: Medium length with a little more smoke than the 12.Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. A nice step up from the 12, yet still very approachable.

The Singleton of Dufftown 21yo (43% ABV, 21yo, Speyside, Scotland, price TBC)
Colour: Yellow gold.
Nose: Prawn toast, honey ginger, mum's sherry-soaked Christmas compote (particularly those sherry-soaked peach slices. Yum.)
Palate: "Wow" was the first response. Fantastic. Sweet, rich, creamy, with a seemingly perfect ABV (and that's coming from someone who loves cask strength whiskies). Sesame, boiled lollies, some bortrytis semillon and loads of berries.
Finish: Long with a hint of smoke, fruit compote and lots of red berry fruits.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Very, very good.

The Singleton of Dufftown 25yo (43% ABV, 25yo, SpeysideScotland, price TBC)
Colour: Light orange gold
Nose: Smooth and round but with much more tropical fruit than the 21yo.
Palate: Much spicier, slightly hotter. LEss stewed fruits and more tropical fruits - lots of apples, pears, passionfruit and even a hint of pineapple.
Finish: Longest of the four.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. A great dram but given the choice, I would (and did) have another 21!

The Singleton of Dufftown 21yo and 25yo are now available at SOGO Causeway Bay B2/F Freshmart (price TBC). Until 31st May, anyone who purchases a bottle also receives a pair of Singleton Glencairn glasses. would like to thank MHDHK for the invite and for yet another brilliant Hong Kong launch event.


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