Door number 18 in the Boutique-y Advent calendar delivers a 28 year old Miltonduff. There has not been many official bottlings from the distillery – a few cask strength editions released by Chivas, and launched earlier in 2017, a 15 year old, under the Ballantine’s brand (Miltonduff is used as a dressing malt in the Ballantine’s blend). But, indie’s like Boutique-y have got you covered if you’re a fan of the distillery - indeed, this Emily Chappell designed label focusses exactly on that – Miltonduff fans. And after today’s whisky, there might be another right here.
Nose: Initially grassy, light and slightly mineral. Cider apples, lemons and gooseberries are merged with slight steeliness, and some light farmyard aromas including hay and straw. Honey provides sweetness and is joined with dusty aged-notes. The addition of water brings out some cask influence in the form of ginger spicing, but it is resting that really offers benefit here – honey and wood coming to the fore and fruits increasing in intensity greatly.
Taste: Reasonably full-bodied, but still retaining a light and refreshing touch. Tart apples, apricots and barley sit together with vanilla and fresh herbals – grassy and uncut hay. Cask influence is greater here with both cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt. Honey again provides much of the sweetness. Water adds white pepper and turns the fruit from slightly tart to sweeter and more syrupy in delivery. A long period of resting offers a marvellous transformation here, bringing out sappy wood notes, polish and tobacco and heightening the honey and fruit sweetness. Rest this whisky changes it from light refreshing sipper in to something altogether more complex and sophisticated.
Finish: Medium in length and delivering light wood and vanilla together with gentle cask spice.
Straight out of the bottle, this Miltonduff is a very solid ex-bourbon cask whisky. A few drops of water and a long (I’m talking well over an hour here) resting period and the liquid elevates itself to another level entirely. Fresh fruit and herbals are joined by intense sweet honey, pronounced, but restrained wood and spicing and a lovely richness that shouts quality. I’ve scored this in its well-rested version, and strongly recommend that you consider taking your time with this one – it’s well worth it and might make you another Miltonduff fan in the process.