A Pair of K&L Exclusive Single Malts at Unbeatable Prices – Scotch Whisky News

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A Pair of Exclusive Single Malts at Unbeatable Prices

We’ve had quite an impressive run of single cask exclusives over the past few months. There have been so many great drams that even we’ve had trouble keeping track of them all! While such a bounty is never a bad thing, it does mean that some bottlings don’t get the full attention they deserve. Enter the 21 Year Old bottlings from Auchroisk and Macduff. These under-the-radar single malts offer everything a discerning Scotch drinker looks for and do so without breaking the $100 mark. This is nothing short of remarkable in today’s heated Scotch market. The Auchroisk is a multi-layered affair serving up an array of cereal, nut, and honey tones, while the Macduff exists on the more elegant and refined side of the Scotch spectrum. Both are utterly captivating and will be welcome additions to any Scotch collection, large or small. We encourage you to read through the staff reviews and see what makes this pair so special.

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1997 Macduff 21 Year Old “Hepburn’s Choice” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($79.99)

The lovely Macduff Distillery – sold locally under the Glen Deveron label – is one of those tragic cases of great malt lost behind the blends. The owners don’t spend much time making a fuss of the little distillery, which was built in 1958. Not much of the whisky is sold as malt and mostly it’s marketed in France. The distillery located in Banffshire was a crucial element in the popular William Lawson Blend, but recently the owners have revitalized the Glen Deveron brand with a posh new look and some expensive age stated offerings. Despite the great packaging of the released brand, the low proofs, high price and use of chill-filtration has meant we’ve avoided the brand for the most part here at K&L. While it’s not a name that gets people running into the store, there’s no question that Macduff is producing some gorgeous Highland malt of the highest quality. Part of what makes it so unique is the use of 5 total stills (2 large wash and 3 smaller spirit) which contribute to the extremely elegant character of this exceptional malt. Not as fruity as Benrinnes and not nearly savory as Mortlach, the only other distillery with this precise setup is actually Talisker. For those looking for purity, complexity and crave the refined flavors of the malt-driven distillates in the eastern Highlands, there’s no doubt that you’ll fall in love with this most stalwart of malts. Macduff will save Scotland again. Well, at least he’ll save you a few bucks, so might as well make him King already.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2018

Rich, malty, and possessing just a touch of chewiness. This is an incredibly clean and pure malt. Cereal and honey are the high tones. A bit of caramel and chocolate make up the bass. A real workhorse for the blending industry, it’s a bit of a rarity in the US to see the single malt on its own. That’s a real shame, since it’s an exemplar of pristine malt flavor. A gentle fruitiness rounds out the inherent flavor of the barley. If you like old school Highland Scotch, this cask is for you. It’s a thing of beauty.

Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 26, 2018

There’s a nice breadiness and spice profile on the nose for this Scotch initially. More sniffs reveal licorice notes, fizzy cola, orange zest, lemon, vanilla chews, and rose petals. The palate is more leathery, but just as zesty with bright lemon, orange, and spice. The spice builds – rather than softens – through the finish making this a fun little ride.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 16, 2018

This is the first time that I have had the chance to taste a single malt from this distillery. I am glad that I got to have this chance, because this is a very good single malt whisky. With one or two drops of water the nose opens up and is powerful and expressive, with aromas of wax, honey, and wood spice. In the mouth the honey, wax and spice notes continue with a creamy mouthfeel.

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1996 Auchroisk 21 Year Old “Hepburn’s Choice” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($89.99)

Let’s get the hardest part out of the way – It’s pronounced “Ah-thrusk.” This non-peated nutty and spicy malt is the result of hot and fast whisky making. A quick mash of the malt, a short fermentation period, and a rapid boil in the wash still leave this whisky heavy and rich. A style that makes it a cult favorite for drinkers and blender’s alike. Located just south of the Burn of Mulben and east of the River Spey, Auchroisk was originally built to supply J&B with malt for their famous blend. There have been distillery bottlings since 1986, but it is more common to see this gem of a distillery bottled as single casks from independent bottlers. Happily we work with the best independent bottlers to find the best casks, and this one really shines. The roasted character from the hot production has mellowed over 21 years into a rich and complex blend of honeyed granola and roasted chestnuts. Perfect for a cold winter’s night by the fire.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2018

Part of the problem with bringing in 40 casks at once is that several of our bottlings fall under the radar. In general, were ok with that because once people make it around to tasting the sleepers they begin to realize the incredible diversity of the whiskies we have to offer. Auchroisk is a good name that almost no one knows. We powered through the last of the limited release this year, which the distillery couldn’t sell at the MSRP of $400, but our customers demolished at $250. Now we’re offering a similarly aged product from this excellent distillery for only $90 and no one seems to have noticed. Their loss is your gain! This magnificent example of one of the quintessential Speyside flavor profiles is firing on all cylinders. The big nose of cake frosting and oak spice reminds me very much of the 25 year old, but with more purity. The palate is pointed and peppery until you add the requisite dash of water. Then the nose pops with an opulent mineral quality, something like a northern Rhone white (but not like floral viognier). The palate is now absolute overflowing with flavor. Citrus peel, candied apples, malted cocoa, tropical fruit salad, it’s an absolute stunner. When people finally get around to this little whisky, they’ll be kicking themselves they didn’t notice it sooner. And this PRICE, I mean COME ON!

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2018

Of the many casks we brought in this year in the sub-100 dollar range, I think this is my favorite of the no peat variety. And not just because it’s the one currently in my glass. The weight and texture of this malt is gorgeous. It’s perfect without water, full and nutty. Dominated by golden cereal grain and toasted nuts. The color says bourbon barrel, but the inherent character of the malt makes it feel like it’s seen a short finish in a sherry butt. There is a great spice cake and fresh Dutch crunch roll/brioche note that I almost always associate with sherried whisky. The finish is super clean and lengthy. For me, this is pure enjoyment in a bottle.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2018

Another hidden treasure from the world of single malts. The nose has honey and wax aromas but comes across clean and fresh. In the mouth the entry is sweet with pure and delicate flavors. With water, the nose really opens up with floral notes coming up and in the mouth dry flavors balanced out the flavor profile. There are no smoke aromas or flavors. A fantastic bargain for single malt lovers.

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