The Deveron 12 year old
It's always refreshing to have a new single malt release from an overlooked distillery. The Deveron also marks the completion of the opening salvo in Bacardi's Last Great Malts programme. This initiative was all about launching a range of single malts from distilleries within the Bacardi group that comprised of Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla and of course the Deveron.
You may be querying which distillery, as the Deveron has been bottled previously as Glen Deveron but in reality its MacDuff distillery near Banff. Never a household name or destination, the Last Great Malts scheme has been an interesting one to watch from the sidelines. The presentation for each distillery has been distinctive and inventive but where the whole expedition has fallen by the wayside is pricing.
In essence these are new distilleries to many whisky drinkers and supermarket shoppers. Launching these at premium prices dissuades all but the loyal fan or enthusiast. As with most things in life it pays to start small and build from there. What the future holds for these Last Great Malts is yet to be seen; if the pricing was more realistic then I'd certainly be tempted to purchase more. For the record I picked this Deveron 12 year old from the Costcutter in Dufftown, which had it for a Spirit of the Speyside special price of £25. Normally you'd expect to pay £30-£35 for this well packaged MacDuff.
What of MacDuff distillery? Established in 1960 it changed owners in 1972 before being welcomed into the Bacardi group in 1993. Almost all of MacDuff's production goes into the extremely popular William Lawson blended Scotch. Apart from this there was an exclusive travel retail trio bottled as the Royal Burgh Collection. Then in October 2015 the Deveron range was born as 10, 12 and 18 year old expressions with plans for a 25 year old if the range takes off.
I'm very impressed by the presentation of this release with its clean stylish visuals without being cliched. The black bottle with the diamond labelling is eye-catching and is embossed with MacDuff distillery; its a strong package and one that suggests a quality product. So lets see how the contents stack up?
Colour: a fudge bar
Nose: apples and allspice with a buttery pastry and cinnamon. Vanilla, floral notes and fruit pastels.
Taste: fresh and very light some apples again and rich tea biscuits. Some syrup but very little else and a meagre finish.
Overall: a disappointing whisky and that's a shame even at the bargain price I paid. An ok if slightly mundane Speyside style nose trumps the very lacklustre palate and missing in action finish. A shame as I had hoped for something more but on this form and after a few attempts I'm unable to recommend the Deveron 12 year old to anyone.