Daftmill “Summer Batch” — The First U.S. Release of a Farm-Distilled Single Malt – Scotch Whisky News

An Extremely Rare Release from a Thrilling New Scotch Distiller
2006 Daftmill “Summer Batch Release”
Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)

“This is as close to the roots of whisky as you can get. A true farm distillery making Scotch the way it would have been done 200+ years ago.” — Andrew Whiteley, K&L NorCal Spirits Buyer

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It has finally arrived! After much buzz, the inaugural U.S. release of Daftmill’s “Summer Batch” is at long last available. Daftmill is one of the most exciting projects in the world of Scotch whisky, with proprietors Francis and Ian Cuthbert building a new distillery and following distilling methods that are over 200 hundred years old. The barley for this fabulous dram is all estate-grown and harvested, while the distillery operates only four months out of the year. The resulting Scotch is not only of the utmost quality, but it is, as one might expect, produced in minuscule quantities. A mere 1,680 bottles of this gorgeous Lowland malt were made, and we are lucky enough to have secured a small allocation. This bottling draws together seven different casks, all of which are twelve years of age. A rambunctious single malt, it reveals a cornucopia of sweet cream, apricot, brown sugar, ginger, and so much more. Vibrant and youthful, it is a wonderful first taste and portends excellent things from this new distillery. If you’ve ever wondered what Scotch might have tasted like 200 years ago, this is as close as you’ll likely ever get. A truly superlative release, this is sure to become an instant hit with collectors. There are precious few bottles to go around, so make sure to act quickly to secure this one-of-a-kind gem.

2006 Daftmill “Summer Batch Release” Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($249.99)

90 points Whisky Advocate: “Pure, clean malt shines throughout this whisky, the first Daftmill bottling for sale in the U.S. Shortbread, candle wax, Golden Delicious apple, rose garden, apricot, ginger, and cinnamon on the nose. The palate is biscuity and sweet, with vanilla, shortbread cookies, candied pistachios, and crushed almonds; lemon and orange peel and lively rose oil perk things up once water is added. Tobacco, cinnamon, and toasted almonds and hazelnuts fade like a whisper on the gentle, soft finish. (SSB)” (04/2020)

K&L Notes: Owned by Francis and Ian Cuthbert, the Daftmill distillery was commissioned in 2005 and began serious production in 2006. This bottling marks their first release for the U.S. and is limited to just 1,680 bottles. Operating as a true farm distillery, all of the barley used for production is farmed by Francis Cuthbert on the estate and the distillery operates just four months out of the year for two months after each harvest. This traditional way of running a distillery hasn’t been seen in Scotland since the 1800s. It also makes Daftmill one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, producing just about 100 casks a year. This release is a melding of 7 different casks, all 12 years old.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 29, 2020

This is as close to the roots of whisky as you can get. A true farm distillery making Scotch the way it would have been done 200+ years ago. You get two crops of barley a year—shortly after harvest, you make whisky, then you tend to the other issues on the farm for the rest of the year. The estate nature of this whisky is quite romantic, but more importantly, the whisky tastes spectacular. At 12 years of age it is decidedly mature, but in the way of a precocious child—it drinks beyond the years of a young distillery, yet shows how much more there is still to come as it continues to grow. Wildly exciting and filled with promise. The whisky is a blend of 7 first fill bourbon barrels filled at the end of their first summer season (September 2006). It’s delicate and light, but with an intensity of flavor that is unmatched. There is a complex nose of florals, sweet cream, candied ginger, vanilla, and fine brown sugar and zest. The palate is spicy and difficult to pin down. It feels alive on the tongue, jumping between citrus, ginger, pound cake, and caramel candies. The finish shows fresh-cut summer grasses and lots of stone fruit. With only 1680 bottles produced in this summer release it’s sure to be a collector’s classic for those that can keep their hands off of it. For those that drink it—a splendid example of what whisky must have been.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 30, 2020

I feel very lucky to have visited the good Mr. Cuthbert at his farm and distillery in the summer of 2016. The beautiful and tiny distillery is hidden behind barley fields and built inside a gorgeous old stone farmhouse. Francis was in the distillery taking measurements, a truly hands on distillery owner. He seemingly does everything-although one must assume there are others helping, there’s no question that this tiny production distillery is a labor of love. We tasted several casks together all around 10 years old and while I thought they all tasted pretty good, he brushed off the idea of bottling them saying unequivocally that they weren’t ready. This man knows barley and we’ve waited with bated breath to see these barrels meet his high standards for bottling. Now after waiting almost 4 more years, we finally have access to this excellent and unusual single malt from one of Scotland’s smallest and most watched distillers. The color is white wine. The nose starts restrained, but obvious complexity hides right behind the initial austerity of first nosing. As it opens, we start to notice vibrant stone fruits: apricots, plums, peaches. Then a mineral element and some citrus and lemon oil components. It’s got a very old school feeling that isn’t really available from any other modern distiller. A drop of water and a bit more time and we’re being delivered truckloads of various fruits tropical and continental, some poached and drizzled in vanilla sauce. Creamy and luscious on the palate with wisps of white pepper and perfect clean American oak. This stuff is just lovely in every sense of the word. It’s a new old-style malt unlike so many of the modern new distillers who are trapped between the science and art of single malt distillation. Without a visionary like Francis to make the crucial decisions, any new distillery will be relegated to the second tier and never truly compete with the big boys. Of course, the price is no trifle but it’s a small price to pay for immediate access to the future history of modern single malt.


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