Whisky Focus - Last Great Malts Aberfeldy Aultmore Craigellachie Deveron Royal Brackla

John Dewar & Sons Launch The Last Great Malts Of Scotland


26th November 2014
Introducing the new single malt whisky ranges from Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla, "The Last Great Malts Of Scotland".

Perhaps this will not be news to some of you as word on these new whiskies has been out on the whisky grapevine for a wee while now but I have held off from mentioning them until I had at least had the chance to taste a few of them. I don't think I have ever announced the release of so many Scotch single malt whiskies at one time and never have I announced the release of so many whiskies which we rarely see bottled by the original distillery as single malts.

John Dewar & Sons who are well known for there Dewar's and William Lawson's range of blended whiskies have been very quiet on the single malt whisky front considering the five malt whisky distilleries they own but I am pleased to say that is now in the process of dramatically changing.

Dewar's have launched what they are calling "The Last Great Malts of Scotland", a range of new expressions, including some never before released single malts from each of John Dewar & Sons five malt whisky distilleries - Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla.

Dewar's have clearly taken notice in the surge in popularity of single malt whisky in recent years and the huge increase in demand from us discerning whisky drinkers for more expressions of our favourite single malts and to experience whiskies not normally available.

They have clearly been very busy for some time behind the scenes taking inventory of their maturing stock, tasting and assessing to come up with a core range of single malt whiskies from five malt whisky distilleries which they will be able sustain a global demand for and not effect the supply of malt whisky destined to go into the Dewar's blends.

Now that the the hard work has been done you will be pleased to hear they have began to release their treasure trove of top-shelf single malt whiskies to whisky drinkers around the world.

The distinguished drams of Aberfeldy which is the one distillery from the five which many of you will already be familiar with, Aultmore, Craigellachie, The Deveron which appears to have been rebranded, you may know it as Glen Deveron and Royal Brackla are being launched under the title of the "The Last Great Malts of Scotland", each with a compelling story and character. For generations, these distinctive whiskies have been distilled and left to mature undisturbed in oak casks only to go into blended whiskies.  All five of these distilleries produce single malts which has long been rated as Top Class by blenders and more often than not this rating is a measure of just how good a single malt is. Now, at last, malt whisky fans around world will be able to taste a range of single malts selected from each of these five distilleries.

The one thing all these single malt whiskies have in common, I am pleased to say, is they all have a very clear Age Statement. The whiskies are:


Craigellachie

Craigellachie has released a portfolio of single malts for the first time in history. The distillery stays true to its traditions of whisky-making, including the use of worm tubs – so called for their coiled copper tubing – to cool the spirit. A challenging Speyside whisky, it was described as "old-fashioned" even in 1891 as it makes no concessions to modern-day trends. Single malt fans appreciate Craigellachie for its remarkable sulphuric, savoury, meaty character. The new Craigellachie will be available from this month, with a Craigellachie 13 Year Old, Craigellachie 17 Year Old, a travel retail exclusive Craigellachie 19 Year Old, and a limited Craigellachie 23 Year Old and if that is not enough the four whiskies will be joined next year by the Craigellachie 31 year old.

The new Craigellachie whisky range, like Aultmore, is presented in its natural unadulterated form, non-chill filtered, no added caramel colouring and they all carry a clear age statement.


Aultmore

Aultmore has been a very rarely seen Speyside malt whisky, known locally as "a nip of the Buckie Road". The distillery’s water filters down through the misty, mysterious area called the Foggie Moss. Aultmore is rated a Top Class whisky by blenders and is a dram sought after for its gentle grassy notes. The new Aultmore range will be available from this month with a Aultmore 12 year old and a Aultmore 25 year old in limited quantities. There is also a travel retail exclusive Aultmore 21 year old available now. I believe a Aultmore 30 and 35 year old will follow.

I had the chance to sample the Aultmore 12 and 21 year old two weeks ago when passing through Glasgow airport where they were being launched and I was very impressed with what I tasted. The entry Aultmore 12 year old was smooth, fresh, grassy, floral, fruity, a candied sweetness with a medium finish. The Aultmore 21 year old was velvety smooth, lovely mature sweet oak, light cereal and a gentle candied fruity sweetness, almonds, butterscotch, the oils make the flavours cling to the mouth to give a deliciously long finish. The 12 was good but the 21 was a big step up in both age and quality.

You will be pleased to hear that all the whiskies in the new Aultmore whisky range are presented in their natural unadulterated form, non-chill filtered, no added caramel colouring and they all carry a clear age statement.


Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy, known as the "Golden Dram", draws its water from the Pitilie Burn. Pure and fresh, its waters are famed for containing deposits of alluvial gold. This is the whisky from the five which you are most likely to be familiar with, a fresh and fruity dram which is much admired for its honey notes, displaying a classic Central Highland style rarely tasted in single malts today. Named "Highland Whisky of the Year 2014" by the Whisky Magazine. The Aberfeldy range is not new but it has a new look, available globally as a Aberfeldy 12 year old and a outstanding Aberfeldy 21 year old, with a superb Aberfeldy 18 year old recently launched exclusively in Travel Retail. A small range of of three at the moment but all quality whiskies, the distillery plans to launch a Aberfeldy 16 year old sherry finish and a 30 year old in 2015.


The Deveron

The Deveron (as it now appears to have been rebranded from Glen Deveron) is produced at the Macduff distillery which was built in 1963. The reason the whisky wasn't named Macduff is the Distillers' Company Limited, now Diageo, owned the brand name Macduff.

Most of the whisky produced since the distilleries construction has gone into blends such as William Lawson's although some has been sold as single malt under the name Glen Deveron.

Glen Deveron was first released as a single malt in the 1960s at 5 years old then in the mid-1970s, at 8 years old. There was also a Glen Deveron 12 year old year old in the 1980s and more recently there was a 10 year old.

Not much more than a year ago a Glen Deveron 16, 20 and 30 year old were released exclusively in travel retail, they are still currently available but I am not sure what the future holds for them given that Dewar's have decided to launch the new domestic range under the name The Deveron.

The Deveron range of single malt is due to be released in the summer of 2015, the new range will contain 12, 18 and 25 year old single malts, which Dewar's tell me will be the perfect fireside malt. Soft fruity notes combine with an easy drinking style.


Royal Brackla

With a previous limited edition release of a 35 year old £10,000 (US$15,000) a bottle, Royal Brackla is a truly regal malt. Founded in 1812, in the northern Highlands, it hails from the first distillery bestowed with a royal warrant and has since been lauded as "The King’s Own Whisky." Heavily sherried, rich, fruity and full, Royal Brackla is a fine dram to savour as it slowly reveals its complexity. A Royal Brackla 12 year old, 16 year old and 21 year old expression will be released in March 2015.

Summary

Aberfeldy is already available but they will be adding a 16 and 30 year old to the range in 2015, the Craigellachie range is now appearing on the shelves of the whisky specialist shops and it will be joined soon by the new Aultmore range, The Deveron range wont make an appearance until the summer of 2015 but the current Glen Deveron travel retail range is available now but I am not sure if this will be rebranded as The Deveron either way the travel retail range is worth a look. Last but not least the Royal Brackla range should be appearing in whisky shops from March 2015.

The new single malts will be available as a complete set of five or in various combinations of the expressions in 10 initial markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Global Travel Retail.
 

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