Finally, my first Daftmill review here on Whiskylifestyle and it was about time because I have the inaugural release and the first winter release for you. Although the first bottles were released last year, the distillery itself has been running since 2005. But unlike many other new distilleries, Francis Cuthbert (distiller and co-founder) had chosen to wait with bottling their first whisky until it met his high expectations. This resulted in the inaugural release being 12 years old, instead of the usual 3 years.
This unusual approach is of course not reserved for all new distilleries because money must ultimately be earned. But Francis, who owns the distillery together with his brother, are both primarily farmers and with fairly low overheads related to the distillery made it easy for them to wait until they thought the whisky was ready.
Being a farmer fulltime also means that they cannot distil throughout the year, but only in the months of July and August and then again in November and December. This yields an average of around 100 casks, mostly 1st fill bourbon but a few sherry casks are also filled every year. So don’t expect releases all year round, but an annual summer and winter release and occasionally a single cask bottling.
As mentioned, today I have 2 Daftmills on the menu and the first is the Inaugural release. A 12-year-old single malt matured in a 1st fill bourbon cask and bottled at 55.8% ABV.
Daftmill inaugural release tasting notes:
Nose: Quite fruity. Apples, mandarins and peaches to start with. This is followed by powdered sugar. And it’s somewhat malty. Then a hint of lime and a floral note. Fantastic.
Taste: It’s quite rich and full. Vanilla, bananas and mandarins. A hint of cinnamon. Followed by a sweet grapefruit, which gives it just a slightly bitter edge. Minerals here as well.
Finish: Mid-long with pepper, honey and cinnamon. A little one-dimensional.
The nose is fantastic! So many fruits. Just lovely. After that, it goes a bit backwards. Although the taste is lovely as well, but just not as good as the nose. A pretty good first release of Daftmill. Well done!
The second one is the Daftmill Winter Release 2018, which has also matured in 1st fill bourbon casks but is bottled at 46% ABV.
Daftmill Winter UK Release tasting notes:
Nose: Quite fresh. Malty, unripe pears and apples. Vanilla. A bit grassy too. Lemon zest. A floral note and then it goes towards bananas. Followed by peach and pineapple. Cookie dough too.
Taste: Bananas again. Vanilla. A nice thick mouthfeel, creamy and soft. Pineapple. Somewhat salty. It ends with a slightly spicy, peppery note. A touch of oak. And then a bitter note.
Finish: The finish is mid-long with mostly vanilla and ginger.
This has that typical Lowland profile. It’s a good dram but it didn’t blow me away. But very enjoyable nonetheless. Although not reviewed here, I feel the summer release was a bit better.
Many thanks to Jason for the samples and the lovely photo.