The often overlooked Miltonduff distillery offers a versatile spirit that can shine at a wide variety of ages. Here we’re presented with a 9 year old drawn from a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Lemon balm, sage and cayenne pepper sit with dry earthiness, reeds, flax and white jelly babies. Field barley and Shredded Wheats are joined by lemon sherbet, Andrew’s Liver Salts and a scattering of white grapes and gooseberries. Dilution offers a tequila-esque note alongside freshly picked apples, waffles and pancake battle.
Taste: The arrival is fulsome and with a palpable weight. White grapes and fruit pastilles and joined by oleaginous pan fats, split chilli peppers, curry leaves and green bell peppers. The development becomes earthy and malty with dried soils, oatcakes and part-fermented beer. In the background – additional fruity asides of apples, peaches and limes together with more savoury notes of herb-infused pastry and beef dripping. Reduction offers a brighter, more fruit-forward experience – melon and kiwi livened by orange liqueurs and lemon zest.
Finish: Medium with lingering cask influence – pepperiness, charred staves and a residue earthiness.
A shape shifting Miltonduff that has a wonderful weight and presence. Whilst initially everything feels wild and off the rails, you quickly come to the conclusion that this is akin to a finely-honed adventure story – exciting and unexpected – but still with a defined beginning, middle and end. This month’s sleeper hit. Recommended.