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The Singleton of Glendullan

Review: The Singleton of Glendullan   86.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published January 10, 2013

About two years ago Diageo launched a new (what I am going to term) “entry-level” 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch from the Glendullan Distillery (in Dufftown) called The Singleton of Glendullan. The malt is part of their Classic Malts Selection, and is produced from spirit aged in both European Sherry Oak casks and American Bourbon Oak casks. I first encountered this Single Malt at a local Food and Wine event two years ago, and I was impressed enough to buy a bottle for myself, and one for a friend that Christmas. My bottle was sipped slowly over time and has long since disappeared; but fortunately for me, I was recently given another bottle to review on my website by the Northern Alberta Diageo Marketing Rep.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Pictured to the left is my Singleton of Glendullan Single Malt Whisky bottle. I like the oval design, the smart label and the solid cork stopper. The dark dusky green colour helps the bottle to stand out a little on my barshelf and I have no complaints. (Especially as this particular Single Malt whisky is very affordable in my locale.)

Note: the bottle is of the 750ml variety with a 40 % alcohol by volume content.

In the Glass 8.5/10

As I pour the whisky into my glencairn glass, my nose is greeted with some nice butterscotch and caramel notes which are accented with lightly smokey tones of sherry (think dark fruit like dates and raisins), fresh fruit, some sweet malty notes, and a mild herbal punky peat. As the glass sits, the caramel turns to toffee as the oak spices assert themselves. I sense impressions of leather and tobacco, some nutty aromas (almond and hazelnut), a bit of yellow apple, as well as glimpses of honey, vanilla and ginger which all drift in the breezes above my glass. In my opinion there is much more complexity to this malt than first appearance would indicate.

In the Mouth  52/60

The initial entry into the mouth is smooth with a nice mixture of woodspice and soft toffee which are accented by flavours of both fresh fruit (apple and green grapes) and dry fruit (dates and raisins). There is a pleasant malty sweetness running throughout which makes this whisky very easy to sip. As on the nose, there is much more complexity hinted at than first impressions would indicate. I taste whispers of tobacco, an underlying nuttiness (almond and hazelnut) some old leather, and a mildly herbal peat smoke in the background. Traces of honey and vanilla seem to evolve from the malty sweetness and the whisky has me in a very nice place.

I should mention that the Sigleton of Glendullan is rather laid back in its approach. It is very smooth and seems a near perfect whisky to serve to anyone who is unfamiliar with Single Malts. It reminds me a lot of the new Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, albeit with a flavour profile perhaps a little less developed, but very good nonetheless.

In the Throat 13/15

The whisky is pleasantly smooth and unassuming in the finish with flavours of toffee mixed with a light herbal peat and a nice ginger and white pepper fade. Some scattered tea leaves and lightly bitter cocoa creep into the exit, but the lightly honeyed flavour acts to complement these flavours very well.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Singleton of Glendullan is nicely balanced Single Malt. There seems to be the right amount of sherry smoke and dry fruit present without the dram becoming a sherry bomb as well as a nice complement of fresh fruit to give the malt a little more liveliness in the glass. I like how the lightly peated flavour accents the whisky rather than dominates it, and there seems to be just the right amount of malty sweetness to make everything work. I do not mean to imply that this is some kind of mouth-watering super whisky. It is rather, just what the producers claim it to be, a very nice introduction into the world of Single Malts.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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)


2 Responses to “The Singleton of Glendullan”

  1. Dan said

    The Glendullan is Diageo’s North American ‘Singleton’ Release. In Europe, it is ‘The Singleton of Dufftown’, and in Asia it is ‘The Singleton of Glen Ord’. Three different whiskies marketed under the same name, but the others aren’t available here…

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