Today’s post will be our 6th Glendullan review on The Dramble. That’s really not a lot when you consider that over the years, we’ve racked up 51 varied Bunnas, 34 efforts from Tobermory and 29 releases from Arran – though tackling 13 assorted wine casks in one sitting will always bump up the numbers. Glendullan doesn’t tend to cross my desk very often. And looking on Whiskybase I can see why – just 308 listed bottles. That’s a tiny number for a distillery founded all the way back in 1897.
The distillery itself is large – 10 washbacks, 6 stills and an annual capacity of 3.6m LPA. When compared to the whole stable of Diageo distilleries – Glendullan sits in the upper echelons of size. However, like so many other sites, the bulk of production goes towards blends. The original distillery was closed in 1985 and ‘Glendullan 2’ which had been operating since 1972 took over. In the time since, a few Rare Malt editions and a Flora and Fauna bottling was produced – but it was not until 2008 that the distillery was really foisted into the single malt market. Falling under the Singleton brand (alongside Dufftown and Glen Ord) – the Singleton of Glendullan was originally launched for the US market.
As far as I can tell the concept behind the Singleton has largely been to focus on one for each of the three distilleries for the major global markets – Europe, the US and Asia. However, these lines seem to have been a little blurred of late with a smattering of older expressions and inclusions in both Diageo’s 2021 Special Releases and this year’s Prima and Ultima – which is effectively the new Special Releases, whilst the existing brand moniker has been largely pivoted downwards to shift higher volumes of bottles at lower prices (whilst of course continuing to suggest just how special they are).
I wonder whether these two wider release inclusions signify a broader intention to release Singleton Glendullan beyond the United States. 2019’s House Tully release within the Game of Thrones collection left me feeling entirely indifferent, but it still widely available (and yes, I still draw a wry smile when I see quite how many of these ‘limited’ bottles were shaffled up in the hope of immediate profits – there’s no accounting for stupidity). Nevertheless, regardless of whether more Glendullan will be coming down the pipe there’s always indy bottlers to turn to – and whilst releases are far from abundant, they’re not altogether uncommon.
Door 11 of the 2021 Boutique-y Advent calendar offers up a Glendullan 16 year old Batch 3. This older release from 2018 comprised 469 bottles at 48.8%. Originally selling over at Master of Malt for £64.95 – I can’t see any places this side of the equator that still have this in stock. Friends in Oz though can pick it up from Sydney’s The Dusty Bottle for $160 AUD.
Both Sorren at OCD Whisky and Brian at Brian's Malt Musings and undertaking the 24 days of Boutique-y this year – so after you’re done here, go check them out for some alternative views.
Nose: Malty and gristy with mas tuns and grain silos – mint leaves provide a lift, whilst honey is joined by crunchy green apples and zesty tangerines. The addition of water presents a far more fruity-forward composition with orange peels and gooseberries enveloped in a real sense of oily/creaminess.
Taste: Soften than the nose with an arrival of golden syrup, honey and toffee apples. Unfined sugars and Seville orange join and almost cough syrup-like quality whilst chocolate drops sit alongside floor polish. Dilution is super beneficial – again heading into fruity territory with fleshy peaches and polished orchards providing considerable brightness to what remains as a malty core.
Finish: Medium to long with grassy aspects and souring fruit salad.
Defined, expressive and very dilution-friendly Boutique-y Glendullan. The gristiness on the nose is a little awkward, but outside of that the combination of malty core with spirit-led fruits lends this whisky a real sense of both character and freshness. An easily likeable, easy sipper.