1) Miltonduff was Allied's largest distillery - closely followed by Glentauchers. Even after the take-over by Pernod Ricard the capacity of the distillery is one of the largest in the group; only Glenlivet has a larger capacity.
2) Even before Word War II the first 'premium' blend was designed by George Robertson, master blender at Ballantine's. Apart from Miltonduff and Glenburgie (who both belonged to the George Ballantine & Son group) the blend contained Ardbeg, Balblair, Glencadam, Pulteney and Scapa.
3) Allied Domecq used Miltonduff to house their 'Malt Distilleries Technical Centre'. It houses the warehouse management for all their distilleries, an engineering department and a laboratory. After the take-over by Pernod Ricard the complex also houses the group's dark grains plant.
4) In the past, Miltonduff malt whisky used to be triple-distilled.
5) The Miltonduff distillery has 16 stainless steel washbacks.
6) The Catholic Church briefly owned part of Miltonduff; the parish of Elgin was bequeathed a share of the ownership of the distillery in 1900. However, the stocks were sold on soon afterwards.
7) The Miltonduff distillery should not be confused with the Milton distillery - an old name for Strathisla distillery.
8) Miltonduff is a core ingredient of the Ballantine's blended whisky.
Miltonduff 1998/2011 (57%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#3605)
Nose: Creamy and slightly sour. Sparkly - reminds me of cider. A nice but fairly bland summer whisky.
Early summer fruits. Apples and mirabelles. Plums perhaps? You really have to dig deep to find much detail.
Palate: Oy... Feels rough and chalky. This cask must have been always deceased. Bourbon blandness.
Score: 71 points - it's decent whisky, but character-wise I might as well be drinking a bland blend.
Miltonduff 8yo (43%, Duncan Taylor 'Battlehill', Bottled +/- 2008)
Nose: Light & melony. Growing complexity. But then the development seems to stop. Bad nose day today?
Taste: Deep fruity burn. Big finish, ending on a woody and bitter tone. Caramel? Time isn't kind to this whisky.
Score: 77 points - which is quite an impressive score for such a young malt whisky...
Miltonduff 1999/2007 (55.7%, Whisky Doris, C#810, 180 Bts.) - tasted blind
Nose: Nose: Light with some oily and farmy notes in the background. Some spices too.
Very smooth after a lot of breathing, almost like an Irish whisky or a grain whisky.
Taste: Smooth, oily start, powering up in the centre. Feels like a grain whisky on the palate as well.
A fair dose of fruits on the palate. Fairly sweet - but is it because of the young age? Long, dry finish.
Score: 81 points - decent enough, but not the most impressive dram at the MM Awards 2008.
I must admit that I would have pegged this as an Irish whiskey or even a grain whisky.
Miltonduff 12yo 1989/2001 (65,28%, Single Barrel Collection, Cask #30322, 289 Bottles)
Nose: Wowie! Big and polished first, growing dustier. Lovely fruits. Developing organics. A big malt.
After I added a dash of water the nose opened up just a little bit further. Another cracking malt...
Taste: Very potent on the palate. Big and sweet. Not terribly complex, but extremely drinkable.
Some water improved the palate as well, giving it some more depth. A cloying sweetness in the finish.
Score: 88 points - but I should add that this particular malt might be too sweet for some people.
This Miltonduff may be the highest proof whisky I've ever tried - or at least it's in the top three.
Miltonduff 11yo 1990/2001 (60.4%, Cadenhead's, Bottled July 2001)
Nose: Starts of rather mild but very promising. Citrus. Sweaty. Farmy. Spicy.
Wonderful development - and it becomes very complex over time.
Taste: On the palate it starts out full bodied but it turns notably grittier towards the finish. Too bad...
Score: 84 points - just short of 'highly recommendable'.
Miltonduff 34yo 1966 (43.6%, Hart Brothers, CVI, Bottled +/- 2000) - a cask strength (!) malt.
It showed its class in the glass with nice and heavy 'legs'...
Nose: Fresh fruits and salt liquorice - an interesting combination. Water melon. Smoke.
More liquorice with time, but it disappears after five minutes. Maybe even a hint of peat?
Taste: Sweet and sherried. Hint of smoke. Fruity like fruit cake or marshmellows. Fabulous finish.
Score: 85 points - My initial score of 83 points didn't fully express my appreciation for this beauty.
Miltonduff 17yo 1978/1996 (57.9%, Cadenhead's, USA, 75cl) - tasted blind
Nose: Started off creamy and spicy. Citrussy. Sorrel. Rhubarb. Even more citrus with some water.
Many different fragrances in the 'sour' end of the spectrum. This must surely be a Lowlander, no?
Taste: On the palate it was remarkably sweet though. More chocolate towards the finish.
A 'bourbony' mouth feel with some pine. Grapefruit? Drying out towards a peppery finish.
Score: 86 points - I actually guessed this was a Bladnoch.
Miltonduff 12yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 1995, 70cl)
Nose: It shows a lot of flowery freshness. Light and clean.
Taste: It also has a very nice palate with a lot more flavour on the tongue. Toffee?
A real mouth-warmer, although it doesn't seem powerful at first. Not very complex either.
Score: 74 points - just below average.
Miltonduff 1963 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice, Old map label, Bottled early 1990's)
Nose: Aaaah... Starts like the last one; rich and sweet. And just like the last one it disintegrates quickly.
Taste: Oy.... Menthol... Very herbal - like chartreuse again... Dry, hot and bitter. Loses points here.
Score: 78 points - I had it at 76/77 for a while but if you wait long enough it makes a partical recovery.
Miltonduff 1966/1990 (61.4%, Antica Casa Marclesi Spinola, 75cl) was my sixth expression.
And what a stunner it turned out to be - I'm so happy that Michel Wigman recommended it to me.
Nose: Velpon glue. Heavy sherry. Salty. Chalky. After 15 minutes the 'antiquity' becomes more pronounced.
Rich and complex with loads of organics - this one will be hard to top this one during the festival, I imagine.
Taste: Not very sweet. Not at all what I expected but fantabulous. Too busy enjoying myself to make notes.
Score: 93 points - that's right... A fresh one for the top of my Hit List - eternal glory...
Miltonduff 1963 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Old brown banner label, Bottled early 1980's)
Nose: Wow!!! Big bold and rich! Sweet, evolving into bitter chocolate. Even a hint of peat. Then it drops off.
Taste: Fruity in the start, lovely tannins in centre and finish. Like the nose, it loses steam very quickly.
Score: 81 points - it seems to have very 'long legs' at just 40%, but that's an optical illusion. No stamina.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Miltonduff Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Miltonduff page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Miltonduff expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.)
Miltonduff (Pronounced: Mil-ten-DUFF)
Glen Moray, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Benriach
3 Wash stills, 3 Spirit stills
5,500,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Pernod Ricard > Chivas Brothers > Allied (since 2005)
Elgin, Morayshire IV30 3TQ, Scotland, UK
Yes - but mostly in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
2005 - Pernod Ricard (Chivas Brothers) become the new owners of the Miltonduff distillery.
is said to be located on the site of the meal mill
of Pluscarden Abbey, six miles Southwest of the town of Elgin and
two miles from the abbey itself. The abbey was founded in 1236 by
Benedictine monks, destroyed but revived again in the year 1948.
A stone from the original Abbey is retained by the distillery.
The distillery's water source is the Black Burn which flows from
springs near the aforementioned Abbey. Thanks to the excellent
supplies of water and barley in the 'Pluscarden' area of Speyside
(where more than 50 illicit stills operated during the 19th century)
a lot of distilleries chose this location after the distillation of whisky
was legalised in Scotland in the year 1823 through the Excise Act.
Miltonduff distillery was established in 1824
by Robert Bain and Andrew Peary - shortly after the legalisation of whisky production. Rumour has it that it has previously operated as an illegal distillery under the name 'Milton'. The 'duff' addition probably comes from the family Duff that owned the lands surrounding the distillery. In 1866 William Stuart bought Miltonduff distillery. He remained the sole owner for three decades until Thomas Yool & Co. acquired part of the distillery in 1895. At that point they also expanded the distillery - probably due to the 'whisky boom' that hit Scotland at the end of the 19th century. Later Thomas Yool & Co. would gain control and ownership of the entire distillery.
In 1936 Miltonduff was acquired by Hiram Walker - Gooderham & Worts Ltd.
Hiram Walker (Canada's largest distiller) had obtained George Ballantine & Son a year
earlier - possibly thanks to enormous profits made during the prohibition in the USA.
They were interested in acquiring production capacity in Scotland because their main
competitor in the American markets (Seagram's) demanded that DCL (a predecessor
of Diageo) would not supply their competitors with malt whisky. To make sure they
would have enough malt whisky for their Ballantine's blends they secured capacity
by the purchase of distilleries like Glenburgie and Miltonduff.
In 1964 two so-called Lomond stills were added to the Miltonduff equipment for
the production of the "Mosstowie" malt whisky. George Ballantine & Son was the
company that was resposible for the development of the Lomond still design. The
last innovation in the area of stills was Coffey still (a continuous still used for the
production of grain whisky) that had been invented a century ago. When Alistair
Cunningham and Arthur Warren of Hiram Walker came up with the plan for the
Lomond still in 1955 their employers were happy - it was just what they needed.
Hiram Walker was looking for a type of still that would enable them to produce a wider variety
whiskies to use in their blends. The new type of still seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Nevertheless, the
Lomond era lasted for just two decades; the stills were removed again from all distilleries in the 1980's.
In 1981 the Lomond stills of Mosstowie were replaced with regular pot stills to increase production of the Miltonduff
malt whisky; there simply wasn't a lot of demand for the Mosstowie 'Lomond' whisky. In 1986 the majority of the Hiram
Walker stocks were acquired by Allied and one year later they obtained the rest. They introduced the 12yo official
bottling with the green label depicted at the left. It has since been replaced with a 10yo OB from Gordon & MacPhail.
Allied Domecq was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2005.
Is the distillery or