Monday, October 12, 2009
Scotch Whisky Review: The Singleton of Glendullan
This one is going to be brief. The Singleton is an inexpensive single malt scotch whisky, as these things go; it goes for about $36 here in Michigan. Can a lower-cost dram compete? The answer, as usual, is "it depends." Are you looking for an exciting drink that will shock or titillate or intrigue your tongue? Then look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a dram that is just plain very good, then my answer is yes, the Singleton is an excellent bargain and holds its own against some single malts that cost two or even three times as much.
This is a bottling from the Glendullan distillery in Speyside, a coastal region of Highland Scotland that is dense with distilleries. It's a 12 year old whisky. Even without reading the notes on this one, it's pretty obvious from the color and the nose that it was finished in sherry casks, but the literature on this one indicates that it also spent some time in bourbon casks.
On the nose: orange, honey, vanilla, malt, hazelnut, and oak. A professional review I consulted notes "sandalwood," and that helps clarify that faint floral, perfume-like note that I was unable to identify. In the mouth, the texture on the tongue is very smooth and oily. The burn in the mouth is warm and pleasant, not overbearing, and there are no big surprises -- there's nothing in the mouth that wasn't there in the nose. The finish is not overly drying.
This whisky holds up well to a little water, and it brings out some of the drier notes, especially the dry sherry, oak, and date flavors. (Grace says "pine nuts.") I found it pleasing either way.
While sweet, this whisky is not as sweet as the Scapa, which I found slightly cloying. The flavor is very nicely balanced and soothing, without any notes that seem out of place. Grace and I agree that this one would make an excellent regular dram after dinner or before bed. It gives a very warming, appealing blend of flavors. And because it doesn't "show off" like some of the other whiskies with big or very complex flavors, I don't have much more to say about it. Grace and I both give it an 8 out of 10.