Mystery Drams – Independent Bottlers

As part of a recent “Mystery Drams” Youtube Live event we did, I had the opportunity to sample another single cask Bunnahabhain from independent bottler, Douglas Laing. This expression was from their “Single Minded” line and was from a refilled ex-bourbon hogshead. This 10-year-old whisky was bottled at 43% ABV and here’s my take!

Nose: Tidal pools, light smoke and malty sweetness

Palate: Buttery wholegrain bread, smoldering driftwood charcoal and double smoked bacon.

Finish: Toasted sugar, charred oak and vanilla, lingering light peat smoke.

The second mystery dram turned out to be a Duncan Taylor “The Octave” Miltonduff 9-year-old expression. Also, a well-established independent bottler, Duncan Taylor’s “The Octave” series takes single cask whiskies from various distilleries and gives them a second maturation in smaller casks. The smaller casks give the whisky more exposure to wood over a shorter period. These secondary maturation casks are re-constructed sherry casks.

Miltonduff distillery is in the Glen of Pluscarden in the Speyside region of Scotland. Miltonduff distillery has changed ownership numerous times of the course of history and is now owned by Pernod Ricard. It’s three pairs of pot stills and two Lomond stills combine for a total capacity of 5.5 million liters per year. Although there are no official bottlings, one can find expressions from various independents. Here’s my take on this 9-year-old Miltonduff The Octave. Bottled at 54.1% ABV.

Nose: Rich honey, apple crumble, caramelized maple syrup, candied orange peel.

Palate: Creamy, orange and banana, burnt toffee.

Finish: Dried orange peel and cloves.

The third mystery dram for me to discover was a Carn Mor Ardmore 10-year-old single cask. Carn Mor is a single cask line put out by Morrison & Mackay Whisky Merchants. Ardmore distillery is located in Aberdeenshire in the Highland Region of Scotland. Built in 1898, Ardmore is now owned by Beam Suntory Inc. They have 4 pairs of pot stills which produce 5,530,000 liters per year. Morrison & Mackay’s 10-year-old single cask version of Ardmore is an ex-Laphroaig cask bottled at 57% ABV. Here’s my take!

Nose: Light peat, vanilla, lemon, ginger spice and applewood smoke.

Palate: Coastal peat, vanilla, caramel, more ginger, clove and dried kelp.

Finish: Medium, dry, more coastal peat, lemon and oak spices.

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