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Macduff 11 yo + Aultmore 11 yo ‘Masters of Magic’ (2008/2019, High Spirits, 46%)

Last week Nadi Fiori sent us, with his exquisite courtesy, six samples from the latest series of High Spirits’ bottlings, called ‘Masters of Magic’ – we won’t be able to cover the complete series, made up of 9 references, but from today to thursday we’ll publish the reviews of the malts we received, curiously all 11 or 12 years old, all bottled in 2019 at 46% – there was also a limited version of the series bottled at cask strength, abundantly sold out. Today we start with Macduff and Aultmore, both distilled in 2008.

Macduff 11 yo (2008/2019, High Spirits, 46%)

N: young, immediately new make, with some yeast. At the beginning there’s a little bit of alcohol roaring, which after a while gets more tamed. There is some yellow fruit, but more skin than pulp (pear and apple); lemon, to testify a nice acidity. Ritter with yogurt? A metallic touch, and something herbaceous/vegetal, between eucalyptus and hay.

P: you feel the youth, it’s still alcoholic, although less aggressive. The fruity part remains consistent, with yellow fruit peel and sweetened lemon juice. Barley, ginger – a bitter thread. And some honey?

F: a little wet cardboard note comes along, in addition to a pinch of a chilli.

78/100 – very naked and very young, maybe a little too young?, someone asks. All in all it seems to us one of those malts that at other times someone would have defined “for aperitif”, easy and simple, even if the presence of alcohol seems a bit out of phase. Pleasant, but nothing more.

Aultmore 11 yo (2008/2019, High Spirits, 46%)

N: the first impact is a little alcoholic, but after a short time it opens and gives us, here yes, the delight of Aultmore. Fruity, with notes of apricot and yellow plum; a thread of incense, or scented wood – no no, just incense. A veil of vetiver? A little bit of lemon.

P: the note that strikes us most here, beyond all the profile that will come later, is a note of white Ritter with berries – we had to say it now, we could not resist. Gooseberries or white currants? The first – to testify to some sweet and fruity, but not citrusy acidity. Spicy, definitely, so much so that somebody hypothesizes a sherry finish – caramel candies (Elah).

F: it remains a crisp and acidic sense, reminiscent of lemon seltzer candy. A little more toffee, tea.

85/100. Good, pleasant, the profile is amazing and combines yellow with red things – an autumn malt, with a nice acidity and unexpected spices, especially on the palate, all things that make it a really enjoyable drink. Aultmore climbs up the ranking of our favourite distilleries with every new sip… Tomorrow we continue with Linkwood and Benrinnes.

Sottofondo musicale consigliato: Andy Shauf – The Magician.

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