The Dufftown distillery is located in the part of Speyside and
Banffshire that carries the same name:
Dufftown. According to
Michael Jackson's geographical classification other distilleries
in that area are
Balvenie , Convalmore, Glendullan, Glenfiddich,
Mortlach and Pittyvaich - but not Banff itself, oddly enough.

Dufftown distillery

Since 1985, Dufftown is in the hands of United Distillers (UDV) who merged with International Distillers and Vintners (IDV) in 1998 to form United Distillers and Vintners (UDV). UDV is owned by industry giant Diageo; Scotland's largest malt whisky producer.

Dufftown 15 years old Scotch whisky
Where to find Dufftown distillery

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Dufftown location
Dufftown distillery profile

Dufftown  (Pronounced: DUFFtown)
Speyside (Dufftown)
Balvenie, Glendullan, Mortlach
1896
Jock's Well
3 Wash, 3 Spirit
4,000,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
UDV / Diageo (since 1985)
Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4BR
No

Dufftown Distillery Profile

Bunnahabhain single malt whiskyTrack Record - overview of all single malts and scores

Dufftown is quite a 'low profile' brand within Diageo's
portfolio - the latest official bottling I tried was bottled
around 1995. Still, Dufftown is Diageo's 'powerhouse'
distillery  with the largest capacity of the dozens of
distilleries that the company owns. That being said,
it only ranks at #12 of all the distilleries in Scotland.
It seems that Diageo owns the largest number of
distilleries in Scotland, but the production capacity
of their 'average' distillery is relatively low compared
to those of for example William Grant or Edrington.

As (bad) luck would have it, many of the Dufftowns I tried were sampled under less than ideal 'administrative' conditions - either during the early 1990's before I started taking serious notes or at a festival or in Scotland being distracted by the manical behaviour and rantings of my fellow malt maniacs.

For example, the Dufftown-Glenlivet NAS (70 Proof, OB, Black & Red Label, Bottled Late 1970's, an unremarkable malt, 71 points) and the Dufftown-Glenlivet 8yo (70 Proof, 40%, OB, Black & Red Label, Bottled Early 1980's,  very light in style, 73 points) were sampled on Islay in 2005 and I only made rudementary notes on them.

Fortunately, I do have notes for the Dufftown-Glenlivet 'Over 8yo' (80 Proof, Bells OB, Black Label).
Nose: Creamy & well rounded. Coffee? A little sellery. Smoke. A nice dram, but not very expressive.
Taste: It seemed quite 'veggy' on the palate. A little bitter, but not unpleasantly so. A tad MOTR.
Some wood and tannins, drying out towards the finish. Once again: pleasant enough but not great.
Score: 76 points - Davin who enjoyed it with me in Glasgow went for 75 points.

I've enjoyed several bottles of the Dufftown 10yo (43%, OB, 100cl) during the early 1990's.
Nose:
A sweet, oily aroma with hints of syrup and pepper. Full and malty - a blend-beater.
Taste: A soft, round taste with a long afterglow. Lack of taste development and complexity?
Score: 76 points - although the Bang-For-Your-Buck value is considerably higher.

The Dufftown 11yo (58%, Von Fass Cask Strength) was a sample sent by Olivier.
Nose: Fudge. Sweet and malty. Yeah, this is the 'Dufftown' profile I remember. Then a hint of lime.
The citrussy side grows stronger, evolving into stale, warm beer. Now the beer grows stronger.
Now it transforms into something dusty and fruity like dried apples. Very intersting development!
And it goes on. After ten minutes the organics move in. Wet pipe tobacco. Quite remarkable.
Oddly enough, it has sort of an allergic reaction to water, becoming metallic and sharp.
Taste: Sweet. Mouth coating. Once again, this profile reminds me a lot of the 10yo OB.
Hmmm. Now a hint of something smoky and fishy. Perfectly drinkable at cask strength.
Unfortunately, a splash of water breaks up the palate. The smooth finish grows dry and flat.
Score: 82 points - I had it somewhere in the lower 80's first, but then it slowly krept into the upper 80's thanks to the amazing development in the nose. However, its poor response to water pulled it down again.

Dufftown 12yo 1987 (43%, Chieftain's Choice, Bottled 2000?)
Nose: Started off with some malt and sherry. Hint of spices.
A lot of volume at first, but the nose disintegrates quickly.
Taste: Nice. Malty. Smooth start, then it gets a bit 'chewy'.
Decent Burn. Not very complex, though. A little bitter in the finish.
Score: 73 points - t may need some more breathing, though...

Dufftown 15yo (43%, Flora & Fauna, Bottled +/- 1999, Kingfisher on the label)
Nose: Nice! Starts soft, but grows more complex and powerful with time.
Sweet with hints of citrus. Malty. Some smoke, but not as much as earlier drams.
Taste: Sweet & malty burn. Toffee. Coffee. Mocha? A hint of menthol?
Sherry and wood in the finish; a bit dry, a little gritty.
Score: 77 points - better than average, but ultimately not interesting enough to capture my imagination.
 

Check out my Track Record for a complete and up-to-date overview of all 'siplings' I've tried.
 
 
 

Trivia about Dufftown:  Being named after the town itself, one might
easily assume that it was also the first distillery to be set up in Dufftown.
Well, it wasn't -
Mortlach (1824), Glenfiddich (1887), Balvenie (1892) and
Convalmore (1894) were all established earlier. Glendullan followed in 1898.
The next distillery to be built was
Pittyvaich in 1975. Unfortunately, that
adventure ended in 1993 when the distillery closed again in 1993. William
Grant's 'token' malt distillery
Kininvie (1990) is located in Dufftown as well.

In 1933 Dufftown and Blair Athol were purchased by Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd. from Perth.
Since that moment Dufftown has been an important component of the famous Bells blend.
The number of
stills was doubled from two to four in 1974 and just five years later in 1979
two more stills were added, resulting in an overall production capacity of 4,000,000 litres.
That makes Dufftown the twelfth largest distillery in Scotland, measured in capacity.

Much like Deanston , the Dufftown distillery was not originally
built as a malt whisky distillery; it was converted from an old
mill by the Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery Co. in 1896. Just one
year later in 1897 Dufftown was acquired by MacKenzie & Co.
who also owned Blair Athol distillery in Pitlochry to the south.

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