It’s my birthday. Well, it isn’t. More so my family never has time near my birthday, so we end up going out well after the date, and I order birthday whiskies to have a good time.
So we’re out at Via Allegro, an Italian restaurant known for a large whisky list. Which is a rarity in Canada, and as such I hunt them down.
What I typically do is start with a Lowland, then go to a Highland, Speyside, and finally an Islay.
So to start off, I ordered Bladnoch 23 Old Malt Cask… Wait, that’s not what showed up. What showed up was Bladnoch 22 1977 Old Malt Cask Douglas Laing, which I had at my last whisky birthday dinner.
Alright, okay, it’s just a typo, it sucks that I had something from before, but oh well. I’ll order Glen Garioch 31 1973… oh, it’s another typo. You see it’s actually Glen Garioch 1993… And it’s only 10 years old. And it’s aged in an ex-red wine cask. And it’s not cask strength. Also they didn’t tell me, I only found out because I requested the bottle to take a picture, and read it myself.
So I sent it back. To replace it I ordered MacDuff 40 1969 Duncan Taylor… and after waiting another 15 minutes between whiskies, I was approached by the whisky sommelier. He informed me he’s lost the bottle because they’ve moved things around, and instead I can order Deveron 18, since it’s from the same distillery, as MacDuff now goes by Deveron.
Since he’s a whisky sommelier for the largest whisky list in this part of the hemisphere, I took him up on it. He wouldn’t have recommended a whisky because he’s done a totally terrible job of keeping his list up to date, right?
Deveron 18 is a relaunch of MacDuff from 2015. It came out with a 12-year-old version. It’s in a frosted glass. They haven’t really said anything else about it in the marketing.
Price: $165 CAD
Colour: 2.5Y 7/8
Nose: Honey, oak, red licorice, cereal
Lighter nose. Granted I did just have a 50% whisky, though I did wait 30 minutes between that and this one, so I guess they were just looking out for me.
Some honey, some oak, some red fruit. There’s nothing off about it, which is the norm for OB releases at this age. Time doesn’t really bring too much out of it, save for a malty note.
Taste: Orange, cloves, mineral, butter
Tart, some warm spice, some mineral to balance that, and butter. It’s nice enough to sip on, there’s nothing off putting (because the orange is well paired), and nothing is turning me away. I wish it was a bit stronger or had the age that it needed, but I guess MacDuff doesn’t really gain much over the years, as this was offered up in comparison to a 40 year old version.
Finish: Brine, malt, orange rind, heather
Floral, acidic, more of the malt and more salt. It’s not super short, it opens you up for a meal, and it mimics aspects I enjoy in Lowlands.
You know, like a cask strength 40 year old whisky would be. (Immense amount of sarcasm)
Conclusion: It’s alright. The whisky is frankly fine. I think the price is insane in my province but let’s be honest, that’s most of the whiskies here. If you are a fan of orange and spices, and maybe a bit of floral, then it’ll be for you. I could even see a world where it’s served alongside standard 18-year-old whiskies to be different. My aversion to oranges lowers the score a bit, but I can even say it’s alright to have as a daily drink or something different.
That said, in comparison to what I’ve read about the one I originally wanted, that I suspect they’ve run out of, this wasn’t a good replacement. It was nice to serve us free sorbet to make up for the sheer amount of mistakes, but I’ll be honest: The whisky part of my birthday didn’t happen because the whisky sommelier made a bad call, and I won’t be going back to the restaurant again.
Scotch review #1517, Highland review #249, Whisky Network review #2226
2 thoughts on “Deveron 18”
Ouch! That’s unfortunate. Reminds me of a time I was in a floating Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam. They had Springbank 20 on the list for something ridiculous like €4 and I thought my luck was in when the waiter confirmed this was not a typo. The waiter finally returned and said somebody had ordered & drank their way through the remains of that very bottle the previous evening. So I had to settle for Springbank 10 at €3. I still wish we’d eaten there the previous evening!
Darn, that would have been nice! Yeah, I’m all for understanding if things are out, or whatnot, but offering this as a replacement merely because they are the same distillery? After making countless other mistakes? It’s time to replace their large whisky book with an iPad and start updating it more often.
That said… missing out on a 20-year-old affordable Springbank hurts. Here’s hoping you found it again!
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