Thanks to the kindness of our friend Ivan, who has the good fortune to live in Edinburgh and work for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, we took part in an online tasting of Daftmill, a hyper-craft distillery in the Lowlands, run by the will and energy of Francis Cuthbert (you can read a nice interview with him on the always excellent scotchwhisky.com). The opportunity was truly unique, because Daftmill has a very minimal production (about 65000 litres per year!) and a distribution that proceeds accordingly: in particular the single casks are usually sold through ballots, and they tend to increase in value immediately, making them practically unicorns. Over the next few days we will gradually publish all the reviews of what we tasted, guided by Francis himself by the way – today however we start with one of the biggest surprises of that tasting, namely an 11 year old single cask aged in an ex-Sherry Oloroso cask from the Miguel Martin bodega, put on the market last year exclusively for the UK. We’re excited because it’s the first Daftmill in sherry we’ve tasted…
N: compared to the profile we are used to, here there is a clear change in style, and definitely the cask tends to cover a lot of the house style, usually so smooth and delicate. Here we are dealing with a real sherry bomb, with red fruits, cherry and sultanas, baked plums… It is also very open and accessible with this abv, with an alcohol impact that’s practically non-existent in spite of the number written on the label. Chocolate, something that reminds of a Christmas cake. Delicious, we don’t know if with our eyes closed we’d say ‘Daftmill’ – but also “sticazzi”, as it were (which is a very important Italian way of saying “who cares”, especially when in Rome – do as the Romans do!). A fantastic fig jam gradually opens up, and there’s even a dark, almost tropical (we would say very ripe papaya) hint. A bit of leather comes out with water, and in general the nose tends more and more towards a fig cake. Fantastic.
P: understandably, there’s a little alcohol on the palate, but behind this there’s an explosive sherry bomb. Again endless red fruit, sultanas and strawberry jam, dark chocolate. The evolution is very consistent, and after a while you feel like you have the best homemade fig jam you have ever had in your life. Fantastic, juicy and complex, with just a hint of coffee and black pepper, just to give depth. Excellent.
F: Very long, endless, with cherry figs and chocolate, plus a delicate freshness. Pity we only had one sample!
That there was some enthusiasm, well, we think it was clear from reading the review…. An excellent whisky indeed, perhaps not the most representative of Daftmill’s malt quality, but do we really care? Or do we actually care if we have an excellent whisky in the glass that we would drink like there is no tomorrow? We’re leaning towards the latter. A profile of a modern single sherry cask, clean and fruity, without smearings, extremely enjoyable. Chapeau! 92/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Gorillaz – Stylo.