There is still independent whisky to be bottled, even if the pickings are slimmer, and some tempting things show up on shelves. Here, a Mortlach (one of my favorite distilleries, but hard to find) was distilled in September 1997 and spent some number of years in ex-bourbon before being transitioned to a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt to finish, for a total of 18 years in cask.
Dufftown is, in fact, a small distillery in the town of Dufftown, with the official name of “Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery” which does nothing to alleviate the confusion (it refers to the valley – glen – of the river Livet, not the Glenlivet Distillery). The Diageo-owned distillery has six stills and was established in the 1890s. …
The whisky is aged in some inscrutable combination of European and American oak casks, some of which held sherry at one time. The “two types” of American Oak used could refer refill and first-fill, or it could mean ex-bourbon American oak casks that have been “seasoned” by sloshing some re-used sherry around in them. The whisky is bottled without added coloring or chill filtration.
BenRiach’s chameleon malt has, in this case begun life unpeated and spent an undisclosed amount of time (probably more than 12 years) in ex-bourbon before being transitioned into a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt to mature for additional time, totaling 15 years. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV without chill filtration or added coloring (a practice collectively known as ‘Craft Presentation’).
The Double Cask is a NAS vatting of Glen Scotia single malt aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, and which is finished for “up to a year” in Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry casks. … Glen Scotia, one of the two remaining Campbeltown distilleries, is known for a house character that involves mild peat (like the lesser-peated Springbanks), an oily mouthfeel, and some variant of lemon peel notes.
Milford, a single malt aged in ex-bourbon casks, was distilled at the now-closed Willowbank Distillery on New Zealand’s South Island. The distiller started distilling in 1969 and closed in 1997 after changing hands between Seagram and Fosters. Small amounts of the distillery’s output were being released by the New Zealand Whiskey Collection at ages from 10 to 20.
Priced where 16 year-old single malts used to be priced, it’s bottled at the basement strength of 40% ABV after aging in extremely usual ex-bourbon barrels. … A tasty, easygoing malt that has been murdered by the addition of far too much water.
GlenDronach The Hielan’ is an 8 year-old ‘Dronach that only seems to retail in the UK. The whisky comes from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, which makes me think it’s an attempt to compete with a number of “double cask” expressions proliferating on the market such as The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year. It seems odd to me to compete with a popular $40 whisky by releasing a $40 whisky that is 4 years younger, but nobody asked me.
In 2013, around the beginning of the NAS craze, Diageo released Talisker Storm to much marketing fanfare and an initial retail price of around $70 – $80. The only difference between it and the flagship Talisker 10, a perennial favorite, was the lack of an age statement and the use of (some) re-charred ex-bourbon casks…
The Duthac is named after the medieval St. Duthac and intended to honor the annual pilgrimage of King James IV to his shrine near the distillery in Tain. This contrived story is probably intended to justify the marketing phrase, “A whisky fit for a king.” A king flying coach, I suppose. The whisky is a no-age-statement (NAS) bottling of Glenmorangie finished partially in PX (Pedro Ximénez) sherry casks, and part in charred virgin oak…