After all, during the late 1980's and early half of the 1990's blends still accounted for circa 97% of whisky sales. It was only in the second half of the 1990's that the single malts category really took
off. Distilleries like Glendullan and Dufftown remained mostly focused on blends
for a few more years, but around the year 2007 Diageo finally reintroduced them to the market as single malts - together with Glen Ord.
They all had been marketed as single malts at some point, but in recent years only Glen Ord was widely available. Oddly enough, the malt whisky from these three distilleries is now marketed under one single brand; the Singleton. In other words, whisky lovers on different continents can enjoy very different whiskies under the 'Singleton' name these days.
Glendullan (Pronounced: glenDUL-lan)
57°26'52.6956 N, 3°7'6.1824 W
Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Mortlach
Sources in the Convall hills
3 Wash stills, 3 Spirit stills
3,700,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Diageo > UDV (since 1926)
Dufftown, Banffshire, NJ329404, Scotland, UK
Yes, although nowadays under the name 'Singleton'
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
2007 - Diageo re-launches three different single malt whiskies under the name 'Singleton'
- aimed at three different continents. The Singleton of Glendullan malt whisky is available in the USA while customers in Europe can enjoy a Singleton of Dufftown while Asian customers can find the Singleton of Glen Ord on the shelves of their local liquorist.
2010 - Part of the equipment at the Glendullan distillery is is replaced, including a new full lauter mash tun.
The old Glendullan distillery was completely refurbished in 1962, at which point two brand new stills were constructed. However, in 1972 a new distillery was built next to the old one. The new Glendullan distillery had six stills (three times as many as the old one) and both operated side by side until 1985, when the old distillery was finally closed. The whiskies produced at these two distilleries were different from each other, but nevertheless they were simply vatted together before bottling or blending. That's particularly funny because Diageo (together with Glenfiddich) claims to have educated the world about single malts a few years later and kept pointing out how every pot still was unique and irreplacable.
So, I think it's safe to say that a lot of the stories that were told to promote the category
of single malt whisky in the 1980's and 1990's should be taken with a few grains of salt.
For more than a decade Diageo simply lumped the product of two different distilleries
together and called it Glendullan single malt whisky. That being said, at the time the
'single malt' category didn't really exist; virtually all Glendullan was used for blends.
If we paint the history of the single malt whisky category in very broad strokes, one
could say that it really was a 'niche' market until the end of the 1980's. There were
a few notable exceptions (the brand Glenfiddich & the Italian market in the 1970's)
but by and large single malts were little more than flavour components for blends.
This started to change in the second half of the 1980's - possibly due to the massive
crisis of the early eighties which caused the closure of dozens of whisky distilleries.
This may have prompted many distilleries to focus more on single malt whiskies.
The old Glendullan distillery was closed in 1985, although buildings remained in use as a workshop.
Meanwhile, Diageo and its predecessors (United Distillers) developed their portfolio of single malt
whiskies. While some 'brands' were pushed (notably the original 'Classic Malts' series; Dalwhinnie,
Cragganmore, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban and Talisker), other distilleries stayed focused on blends.
It's a strange thing that Glendullan
is relatively unknown as a single
malt whisky; measured in production capacity (almost 4 million litres of
alcohol per year in 2008) it's actually Diageo's second-largest distillery,
right after Dufftown and before Caol Ila that has the number 3 spot.
Glendullan distillery is located in what's probably the busiest 'whisky
town' in the Speyside area: Dufftown. It was built there (relatively late)
in 1897-1898 by William Williams & Sons Ltd., blenders from Aberdeen.
In 1919 William Williams & Sons Ltd. changed their name to Macdonald,
Greenlees & Williams (Distillers) Ltd. In 1926 they were taken over by
the DCL, which later evolved into whisky industry giant Diageo. In 1939
Glendullan was transferred to SMD, another predecessor of Diageo.
So, there's an international component
to this Singleton story...
Consumers in the USA get a Glendullan 12yo when they order a Singleton (I haven't seen the Glendullan 8yo OB from the 1990's for ages), whisky drinkers in Europe receive a Dufftown 12yo (The Dufftown 10yo OB from the 90's has vanished too) and in Asia they get Glen Ord 12yo. (I already mentioned that the old 12yo 'cube' bottling of Glen Ord OB remained available in Europe for a few years after the introduction of Singleton.)
1) Glendullan is one of three distilleries to carry the name 'Singleton' at the moment (the others are Dufftown and Glen Ord), but during the second millennium the whisky from Auchroisk distillery actually carried the name Singleton.
2) The Glendullan distillery is located not far from the defunct Parkmore distillery.
3) A large part of the Glendullan malt whisky ends up in the 'Old Parr' blended whisky.
4) Just like the name suggests, the Glendullan distillery itself is fairly dull.
5) Glendullan is one of almost two dozen malt whisky distilleries that were founded over a century ago during the 'whisky boom'
of the late 19th century and which have managed to survive until this day. The other survivors include Aberfeldy, Ardmore, Aultmore, Balvenie, Benriach, Benromach, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes, Glentauchers, Knockandu, Knockdhu, Longmorn, Tamdhu and Tomatin.
Singleton of Glendullan 12yo (40%, OB for duty free, Bottled +/- 2009, USA, 1 litre)
Nose: A whiff of something herbal. Chalky. Later some faint fruits (water melon?), but it remains subdued.
Some 'veggy' notes as well. Oddly enough, this is VERY different from the version I tried two years ago.
Taste: Soft and quite frankly a little weak start. Faint fruits. Blueberries? Sweetish at first, but that fades away.
Green. The finish grows dry quickly - and remains weak throughout. Drinkable, but not a lot of personality.
Score: 75 points - there are elements to enjoy, but I'm afraid 'average' is the best I can say about it...
Singleton of Glendullan 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2007)
Nose: Hint of mint. Sweetish. Much heavier that the Glendullan OB from the 1990's - good!
Is it just me, or is this not unlike a very complex bourbon? There's treasure if you dig deeper.
There's a mint candy sweetness that pops up every now and then that keeps it interesting.
Yes, on a bad nose day this is not unlike a very complex bourbon - but I will need to try again.
Taste: Warm, sweet and malty. Growing a little 'greener' and cooler after a minute. Shimmering.
Silky smooth start, growing harsh and again bourbony towards the finish. Quite woody too.
After a few minutes the sweetness of this Glendullan is washed away from the surface.
Verdict: 81 points - I was ready to go for +/- 83 points first, but the finish dragged it down.
Definitely a few steps up from the 8yo official bottling from the 1990's (74 points) it seems.
Well, this is a very preliminary impression. (Oh, and I DO like the box & bottle design...)
Glendullan 14yo 1991/2005 (43%, Ultimate, bottled 23/11/2005)
Nose: Farmy, Expressive. Fennel & Aniseed. Turns out much more serious than I initially thought.
Taste: Erm.... I'm afraid I forgot to make notes on the taste - things started to become hectic.
Score: 80 points - further proof that the Glendullan distillery actually produces a very decent malt whisky.
Glendullan-Glenlivet 20yo 1978/1999 (64.2%, Cadenhead's)
Nose: Whoah! Big and serious. Oaky. Hints of mocca. Spices. Mace? Then some organics emerge. Stunning!
Taste: Phew!!! I had it at 90 points before I tasted it. Bitter and unbearable at C/S. With water it's metallic.
Score: 87 points - highly enjoyable and entertaining, even though it's arguably too rough on the palate.
Glendullan 1981/1998 (58.7%, Scott's Selection)
Nose: I found the nose sweetish with very faint organics. A little harsh, which isn't surprising.
Well, that's hardly surprising when you look at the high proof of this whisky; almost 60% ABV.
Taste: It was very 'alcoholic' on the palate as well and then I detected soap. Whooh - not good!
Score: 60 points - my score immediately dropped to 60 points and stayed there until my glass was empty.
Glendullan 23yo 1972 (62.43%, UD Rare Malts).
Nose: Sweet. Cow stable. Growing more complex, but nothing really distinguishable.
I had it at 80 points until some playful spices and organics appeared in the nose. Sorrel?
Taste: Ultra-sweet start. Then it grows dry, hot and herbal. Feels a bit like oatmeal. Nice.
More sherried and fruitier towards the finish. My kind of malt, but I like it more than I should.
Score: 83 points - but I have to admit that this score might be just a tad on the generous side.
I can't say it's a really complex whisky, but I'm just a sucker for these sweet cask strenght UDRM's.
Glendullan 8yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 1995, 70cl)
Nose: Spunky. Slightly oily, with almost sharp undertones. a light honeyish sweetness.
This malt is very elusive and kept surprising me. Not enough to get beyond 'average', though...
Taste: A lot of taste development; very long. Quite good and lots of character for a 8 years old.
Score: 74 points - just a smidgen below average, which isn't bad for a malt whisky this young.
Glendullan 25yo 1965/1990 (50.1%, Cadenhead's, Black Label) was
Nose: A very pleasant surprise. I found sherry, mocca, spices and mustard in the nose.
And cow shit - which in this case isn't a bad thing. A hard act to follow.
Taste: This Glendullan showed sweet and sherried notes on the palate with some herbal overtones.
Score: 84 points - at least for me and it scores in the upper 80's from the other maniacs.
Glendullan 12yo (47%, OB, Macdonald Greenlees Ltd, Cream Label, Bottled 1980's).
Nose: That's a bit of an unusual strength for a malt, eh? I have to say it performed quite well at this ABV.
The nose was big and complex. Quite fruity. Maybe a hint of lemon? Spices, organics and cigarette tobacco.
Taste: I imagined I could 'feel' the age again. A little bit smokier and perfumier after a few minutes.
It has a good mouth feel, although it turns a little gritty and bitter towards the finish.
Score: 82 points - another Glendullan that scores comfortably in the eighties.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glendullan 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 Glendullan page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the hundreds of Glendullan 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.)
Is the distillery or