For the past few years, I’ve mainly seen STRs being used for quickly aging younger whiskies – but now we’re starting to see them as utilised for additional maturation. This Macduff has spent 12 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead and then been re-racked into a 1st fill STR barrique.
Nose: Gooey toffee and Caramac bars sit with banana skins, pancake batter and oat cakes. Cider apples and hedgerow berries are joined by whipped cream covered sponge cake whilst caramelised brulee is served with elderflower tea. Dilution expresses the underlying herbal quality of the distillate – lemongrass, thyme, buttercups and hay.
Taste: A softer outlook than the expressive nose suggested – apples and pear juice bring sweetness and then turn progressively sour, whilst lemon peels and barley water sit with hot vegetable stock, pine and fir cones and toasted cask staves. Water brings bright orchard fruits to the front palate whilst pushing pepperiness and crunchy cereal bars to the back.
Finish: Medium, with dried white fruits, berry sweetness, vanilla pods and a pleasant progressive dryness.
This Macduff mixes some thought-provoking sweet and savoury notes, whilst still managing to keep its short STR maturation well in check. The wood here is restrained and offers a subtle, but balanced addition of red wine berry sweetness, and a pleasant toastiness – just what an STR should do. Solid.