There has been an explosion of new distilleries recently which is a great thing. It shows confidence in the market as a whole and for the future.
Sadly however I’m nearly at the point of new distillery overload. Not specifically because of the distilleries themselves, its more to do with contrived new releases, limited editions, founders clubs, etc and to be honest they are starting to wear me down a little.
You really do wonder about their long term strategy after their initial milking of the inaugural release cash cow. What will the future hold for these new distilleries? What will their core expressions really be like? How will they be pitched price wise? Will they stand up without gimmicks?
Adam over at Malt-Review wrote a fantastic piece on this very topic which is well worth a read (after you’ve finished here of course…)
One new distillery that is doing it the right way is Daftmill. No fancy new releases, no premier founders club, no wanky buzzwords, no whisky that has been to the planet Jupiter, or named after historical characters who wore tin hats, or any overly contrived marketing for that matter.
The Cuthbert brothers who own Daftmill distillery have been quietly producing whisky on their Fife farm since 2005. As full time farmers and part time distillers the whisky is only produced during the quieter periods on the farm. They applied for planning permission to convert an old mill building into a distillery in 2003 and the first spirit was distilled in December 2005. The entire operation has an output of only 20,000 litres per year.
After years of waiting for it to be ready to release all of a sudden there was an announcement from the distillery that Berry Bros & Rudd would be handling their distribution which only wetted our appetites further.
Daftmill was almost here.
Their inaugural release arrived earlier this year and was priced at £210, which as a inaugural release and especially a 12 year old inaugural release, wasn’t massively overpriced considering the state of the current market.
Immediate fodder for bottle flippers as usual however.
As much as I swithered over buying a bottle, as eager as I was to try the (in my head anyway) most eagerly awaited whisky release for some time, I wasn’t up for paying that.
Not long after their second release then appeared on the (virtual) shelves. This was their ‘Summer Batch’ release. Distilled in 2006 and bottled in 2018, from a run of 1665 bottles.
Priced at a more reasonable £95 it flew off the shelves and luckily one flew in my direction.
Daftmill Summer Batch Release, 12 y.o, OB, 46%abv (from my own collection)
The nose is packed with custard cream biscuits and green apples. A light malty backbone with interspersed vanilla. There are bunches of green grapes and touches of florality, perhaps Honeysuckle, and a soft hint of candy floss.
The palate is fruity in the main. Apricots and peach stones give it a very slight minerality. There are gooseberries here alongside some crisp green apples. Touches of sweetness come and go with some nice, almost buttery, vanilla. A great balance between fruit, vibrancy and a natural elegance.
There are the first glimpses of wood in the finish, alongside touches of white pepper and white chocolate. Feels quite delicate in a way but stands up nicely. Faint elements of green wood are present but are kept in check by lingering vanilla and fading fruit.
Knowing they have waited so long until it is deemed ready, and judging by the sheer traditional qualities of the spirit here then it is safe to say that Daftmill is well on the right track. Solid future foundations are built on solid releases.
No churning out product as soon as it is legally old enough.
Just good whisky.
You can find more tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.
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