The Singleton 17 Years (Special Releases 2020)
The Singleton? It’s rare to have a Scottish single malt that’s not named after the distillery were it’s made. That, however, is Diageo’s way of creating of top five selling brand, because The Singleton is made at three different distilleries. This year’s entry in the Diageo Special Releases is The Singleton of Dufftown 17 Years, distilled at (of course) Dufftown Distillery.
While named after one of the most famous whisky towns in the world, it is arguably one of the least known. Firstly, the best-selling single malt in the world hails from Dufftown, while sister distillery Balvenie is also revered the world over. Secondly, one of the most cult-ish distilleries in the world, Mortlach is made in Dufftown.
Dufftown produces mostly for blends. Or at least, Dufftown caters to the wishes of Diageo’s blenders. When they wanted a more grassy new make a few years ago, fermentation was lengthened and wort was made more clear. Historically most of Dufftown’s production ended up in Bell’s, but I have no way of knowing that is still the case.
The Singleton 17 Years (55.1%, OB, Special Releases 2020)
Nose: Hints of lime and underripe banana peel, this is rather spirit-forward and gentle. Fruity though, with a good amount of kiwi and green grapes, even some apple sauce. Finally a whiff of lavender. While maybe not abundantly aromatic, it certainly grabs my attention.
Taste: Sweet and creamy with some lovely grassy elements, as well as nice orchard fruits and honey. Ending on soft oak spices, herbal notes and a touch of cloves.
Finish: A hint of chalk, but mainly white grapes and freshly cut grass.
Maybe this isn’t the sexiest of this year’s Special Releases, but The Singletown of Dufftown 17yo is simply good, proper malt whisky. The cask influence plays a secondary role and it probably is all the better for it.
More Diageo Special Releases 2020
Do you want to read more of my reviews of this year’s Diageo Special Releases? I’ve compiled a neat little list below. Enjoy!
- Pittyvaich 1989 30 Years
- Dalwhinnie 1989 30 Years
- Mortlach 1999 21 Years
- Talisker 2011 8 Years
- Cragganmore 1999 20 Years
- Cardhu 2008 11 Years
- Lagavulin 2007 11 Years
Sample provided by Diageo
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.