Daftmill 2008 Winter Batch Review

Man, I’m excited to be talking about Daftmill. It’s been a long wait for us whisky folk looking to get our grubby lil paws on the first releases from this somehow-already-cult-distillery. Normally there’d be some pithy remark about how it must have felt even longer for Francis and Ian Cuthbert, the gents behind this coveted new malt and distillery, but something tells me they just don’t really give a flying f*ck. The eye has always been toward quality and the pursuit of a good end product, irrespective of time and, to a degree, finance.

But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. It took twelve long years before the first Daftmill release saw the light of day. Twelve. Francis, the man behind distillation at Daftmill, is knocking out maybe a hundred casks a year. Yeah, you read that right. Production only takes place on the shoulder months of the farm schedule (mid-summer and winter). And therein lies the real beauty in what the Cuthbert’s are doing; a lack of financial obligation to their distilling pursuits. The whole endeavor was almost a vanity project from the get-go. The farm pays the bills, the whisky buys the bells and whistles. I exaggerate, of course, but only slightly.

But before anyone starts thinking we’ve already canonized the Cuthberts, let’s first determine if the malt is miracle enough to warrant the rabid fervour with which Daftmill is being pursued. Either way, though…it’s exciting to have a new Lowlander out there, and spoiler alert: it’s good. Damn good.

Well done, guys. Can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Optic barley. Twenty-three first-fill ex-bourbon barrels. 6,000 bottles. 46% abv.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Cereal. Lemon bars. Confectioner’s sugar. Cinnamon. A hint of Turkish Delight. Orange candy. Cherry cream. Sounding a lot like Rosebank so far, innit? Yeah…not really, though. A bit of cedar/sauna. Somewhat herbaceous – maybe marjoram? Alos, some slightly sour lactic notes. Palate: Toasty and honeyed. A squeeze of pink grapefruit. Lemon meringue pie. But yeah…it’s mostly the grain talking. Good balance of wood and spirit. Sauvignon Blanc on the mid-palate. Finish: Light and clean, yet…slightly alcohol-y. Dries out a bit without bittering. Leaves a bit of lemon sorbet. Lemons all the way through. 87.5/100

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