Miltonduff 8-Year-Old (Battlehill)
Review: Battlehill Miltonduff (Aged 8 Years) 88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on February 09, 2012
The Battlehill Scotch Whisky brand is produced by Duncan and Taylor who is an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. This company has been acquiring casks from Scottish distilleries for decades and by doing so they have assembled an impressive array of Single Malt casks which they bottle under their own private label. The Battlehill brand was originally conceived as an entry-level Single Malt for the bottling of Single Distillery Single Malt Scotches which had been matured for 6 years to 10 years. Over time the range has grown and 16 to 18 Year Old bottlings are now available. Rather than bottling at Cask Strength which is quite common for independent bottlers, the entire Battlehill range is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.
The Battlehill Miltonduff 8 Year Old Whisky is a blended from multiple Casks all of which are a minimum of eight years of age. I received a sample of this bottling from CSN Wine and Spirits in Calgary, Alberta. This store purchases a wide range of the Battlehill Single Malt Whiskies, and has one of the best selections of Single Malts for sale in the entire province of Alberta.
Miltonduff is a Speyside distillery owned by Pernod Ricard. The whisky distilled at Miltonduff is generally earmarked for blended scotches, the primary brand being Ballantines. This makes a distillery bottling quite unusual.
This is what I learned from my sample.
In the Bottle 4/5
The bottle presentation for the Battlehill Miltonduff 8 Year Old Whisky is pretty standard fare (pictured to the left). There are no tasting notes to help the consumer choose if the flavour profile of the whisky is suitable for his or her palate, and there is no indication on the display box or on the bottle’s label of the types of barrels used to age the whisky. The bottle does of course mention the distillery of origin for the whisky, the age of the whisky and bottling strength. Fortunately the folks at CSN Wine and Spirits have a large assortment of bottles for tasting to help you find the right whisky in your price range.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When the Battlehill whisky is poured into the glass it displays a very light amber colour. When I raise the glass to my nose, the initial aroma is full of fresh cereal grain with a light dabbing of honey. Some penetrating citrus notes are obvious as well.
As the glass breathes I receive impressions from my childhood of ripened grain fields, fresh-cut timothy grass, and freshly peeled willow bark.A light but firm spiciness accompanies the aroma and I enjoy nosing the glass. Although the whisky is not overly complex, it is very pleasant and unassuming.
In the Mouth 54/60
When sipping on the Miltonduff eight year old, it quickly became a favourite of mine. The whisky is very easy to relax with. There is a strong cereal grain flavour with some peppy citrus coming through as well. There is a light grassiness which is quite enjoyable (When I was younger, I used to chew on the timothy grass in the hay fields, and I can taste that same flavour here too) . Along with everything is a touch of honey sweetness and a light herbal component which is sort of reminiscent of heather and willow.
Mixing with a drop or two of water opens the whisky making it creamier and perhaps a little more sweet on the palate. A light fruitiness becomes apparent with flavours of fresh ripe yellow apples and even a dollop of marzipan. This is an easy going, relaxing malt.
In the throat 12.5/15
The whisky shows its young age in the finish with a bit of peppery spiciness tapping the tonsils and heating the mouth. I taste honey and ginger with light dabs of rye spices in the exit.
The Afterburn 9/10
The Battlehill Miltonduff 8 Year old is better than the sum of its parts. Although it is not overly complex, and it is perhaps a touch rough in the exit, I found myself wanting to return to the whisky again and again. I think the reason I liked it so much was that I found it is not a demanding whisky, rather it is one of those easy-going spirits which are simply great for relaxed enjoyment.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)