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Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old

Average score from 13 reviews and 35 ratings 71

Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Dufftown
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old

1895 saw the dawning of two new forms of art: Cinema and Comics, the Seventh and Ninth arts, respectevely. It also so the birth of the eponymous distillery in the little burgh of Dufftown, burgh aptly nicknamed "Whisky Capital of the World". Interesting year.

Today we face the entry level scotch of the house, a 12-year-old single malt that has been aged in sherry and bourbon casks. I reviewed it back in June 2015 in an old theater turned cocktail-bar and restaurant named Platea, where they served it on an iceball that might have somewhat altered my tasting abilities (that was a terrible fad five years ago that has all but disappeared, hasn't it? I believe it was Macallan who started it, but then again, not sure.)

Review time: a glossy amber pour with those oily streaks some whiskies have that make things appear has though you were on a very hot summer day when you look through your dram, you know what I mean? Like blurry and wavy. It usually means velvety textures, so I like it.

Aroma was malty and sweet, pretty evident despite the humongous iceball always on the verge of freezing the tip of your nose: porridge, Special K breakfast cereal, caramel, ripe banana... I tad too sweet, if you ask me.

Mouthfeel was silky, easy-going and light-weight, leading to an unaggressive, long-lasting, sweet finish with surprising (but clear) peaty reminiscences. I'd say it's a good scotch for non-connoisseurs, for it's easy to drink and simple to understand.


Nose: quite full with lots of fresh oak and nutty malt accents. Seems they did a good job maturing the stuff, as the aroma displays the sort of richness you only get from combining different cask types. I liked it right off the bat.

Taste: initially sweet with the orchard fruit flavours typical of a Speyside malt. Dries pretty quickly, though, becoming a tad flat and bitter as it spreads through the mouth.

Finish: once the bitterness fades a decent malt and oak flavour remains for a while. Redeems itself at the last minute, it does.

Balance: not the most polished experience overall but a nice, straightforward Speyside dram nonetheless. I would appreciate it more at a lower price than what the LCBO currently charges for it.

@Megawatt an accurate review that reflects my experience. This was one of the first five single malts I tried, and I credit it for bringing me into the fold.


Perfectly drinkable dram, not offensive in any way, BUT it definitely lacks character and complexity. A bit rough at first, but if you give it a few minutes it settles down and becomes more mellow. A good every-day single malt, decent for its price, but not something you will stick with or be impressed by. Kind of a generic single malt.

Nose: Dried hay, woody, nutty, shoe polish (?) a bit chemical. Resembling blended whisky smell at first, rather rough. After a few minutes it does settle down and open up, with floral aromas coming out. Touch of orange too.

Taste: Oily, woody, bit of fire at first but after a couple sips it settles down. Maybe a bit grassy too. Not much going on, to be honest, lacks complexity. Rather bland.

Finish: Short to medium. Woodiness and a bit of smoke lingers.

PS: I tried it with a little bit of water (like half a tea spoon) and it helps bring out floral aromas and fruits. But watch it because anything more than half a tea spoon will drown this whisky instantly.

Oh ,forgot to add that it gets an extra point for the great bottle design!


Smooth sweet steady fast arrival develops into a long slow fruity, vanilla balanced vegetable finish. A great single malt for budget.


I mainly picked this whisky up because of two things. first, solid reviews on major whisky sites. Second, it's a rather stunning bottle. Yes a bit of a shame ultimately deciding on the packaging but the thin elegant convexed bottle is without a doubt a real looker. But how does it live up the hype?

On the nose you got raisins, sherry, a bit of dried hay and maple syrup. With a bit of water the sweetness takes over with notes of chewing gum and honey.

On the palate lots of malt some wood and a bit of sherry but nothing exciting happens after that. It has no legs so to speak.

The finish is actually rather long with lots of sherry and some more wood at the end, a bit bitterness as well but not unpleasant.

The big problem with this whisky is that it seems like an unfinished whisky. It lacks the style of being smooth like Irish whiskey and it has little to non character like scotch. It's intriguing to smell and has a nice finish but while in the mouth it's rather dull and offers little reward.

Having this said it is an OK whisky to have at home for everyday use but it's not something you'll want to return to time after time. For the price I would go for another Speyside whisky or why not an Irish one?

Shame that it isn't the malt many were pitching it to be, was also thinking of making an impulse purchase because of the good-looking bottle. The reason i didn't pick it up was, not to sound smart or anything, that it seemed to be more style over substance


Colour is a touch chardonnay with a very green edge. Very boozy quality on the nose and very light. Light bodied and a touch watery. Flavours go to dusty tannins and very lightly steeped orange pekoe tea. Short finish and out!

I have tasted a few bottlings of this. While there are certainly such ones that leave you wanting something more, there are others that - for my money - are pretty terrific. Too bad this whisky is not consistent enough. However, I would rate it at 76 at least, as there are way worse whiskies... believe me..!


This was the 12th whisky tasted in my journey, and was my May 2011 bottle. I've just finished it and was really trying to find something in the last few drams in order to write something meaningful here.

The marketing 'spin' is all there on their website and Facebook pages. The build up suggests something great is going to happen on opening this, but although certainly not a bad whisky, it just hasn't lit my fire.

The website tell us this whisky has been distilled since 1896 with water so pure, legend has it rival distillers have even tried to divert its course.

The Dufftown distillery first drew water from Highlandman John’s Well in 1896 and continues to do so to this day.

The unique bottle shape of bottle is inspired by a traditional hipflask while the colour of the glass reflects the blue flint glass used at the turn of the previous century. I like the bottle!

“Perfectly Balanced, Naturally Rich and Smooth” is the wording on the label. It also tells us it is "Traditionally Batch Distilled".

The jury is still out here. It is certainly drinkable, but for the money there are many others I would go for first. I saw the 15 year old earlier today when searching for my January 2012 bottle, would like to taste this but certainly not sure about investing in a bottle yet.


I got a free sample of the Singleton of Dufftown 12 (one of two expressions, the other being the 15 y/o) after liking their Facebook page. If you listen to the sales guff, this is the best-tasting single malt whisky out there. Time to put that one to the test.

Nose: One reviewer rather pejoratively commented that it was like 'chewing a handful pencil-shavings with marshmallows' and although this is somewhat OTT, the nose does remind me of pencil-shavings. It's certainly very woody with perhaps a hint of sweet hay and malt. There's a touch more sweetness coming through with the addition of a tiny amount of water.

Palate: Fairly standard. Not exactly the best-tasting whisky in the world, but not offensive either. More woodiness, a touch of sugar/caramel and a little fire to warm you up. As it develops the fire recedes and it progresses quite nicely onto the finish.

Finish: There's a nice amount of sweetness and fruitiness in the finish. The fire of the first sip falls away with a very nice mouth-filling sweetness but it's lamentably short. Bit of burnt toffee at the end.

I find myself drinking more and more just to get that second or two of pleasure in the finish, but the roughness/wood-shaving aspect of the palate is drying my mouth and making it harder to enjoy that fleeting sweetness.

All in all this is a perfectly enjoyable whisky, but I don't think it can go anywhere near the title of 'best tasting whisky in the world'. If I were to come to this dram without the marketing gimmicks I'd probably have been slightly less critical. I think on further tastings I could come to like the woodiness and slightly burnt taste and I also like the bottle(!) so it gets a fairly decent 70 from me. I would have given higher if they could have drawn out that 'sweet spot' of the finish a bit longer.

Anyway, a nice everyday whisky, but don't get too excited. It's pleasantly tasty but perhaps not quite the finished article. I see this as something to be expected from a distillery that sends 97% of its output to the blenders.


Sampled in a Glencairn first neat and then with a half tea spoon of spring water.

My general feeling of this dram was one of being totally under whelmed. I am struggling, even as a novice, to come up with any flavours or smells to describe. It’s as if the makers were simply intending to make the stuff taste ‘whisky flavoured’. There was very little at all in the way of fruit, sweetness, bitterness, finesse, wow factor or even dislike. The whisky was just uninspiring, none descript and dull. I have read and been told that adding water to whisky is intended to open up the flavours, well I’m afraid it didn’t work in this case.

It is like that person you are introduced to (usually at work) who’s name instantly does out of your head and you’ve totally forgotten five seconds after they’ve walked away or left the room.

But here goes:

Colour: Pale amber , no legs to speak of.

Nose: The best I can come up with is a slight nutty odour, like unsalted peanuts.

Taste: Again very bland, at the risk of repeating myself (oops too late) it tastes of…well…whisky and not much else. There’s a very, very, very slight liquorice tinge and the last moment.

Finish: Quite long but that’s not a good thing as again a great void of nothing overwhelms you. I was immediately opening my cabinet to find something more interesting (not difficult) to replace it with.

Luckily I picked this up on special offer at the supermarket, as paying the full price would have increased the sense of disappointment even further. It’s definitely one I’ll be keeping at the back of the cabinet for using in whisky coffees, hot toddies and for those who want something ‘whisky tasting’ to put in their coke.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not bad but it is certainly not good either, it’s just bland (I think you get the message). It’s as flat as the bottle it comes in.

My tip is, even if you find it on special offer spend your money on some BNJ or Aberlour 10yo instead.

I was looking at one of these bottles on "special" but after reading this review I don't think the price is special enough. It's a well written objective review which certainly seems to have made a good job from a bland and uninspiring drop. I will spend my money on something more interesting. Thanks for the heads up.


There are very few whiskies that I actively dislike. Certainly I prefer some to others, and I'm indifferent to many, but I seldom take an active dislike to a bottling. It seems to me that most whisky made these days is pretty well executed technically and, while many fall short of greatness, minimum standards are usually met.

What I find curious about this expression is that I can't find much objectively wrong with it - it is, after all, inexpensive and, from the marketing and advertising, I deduce it's aimed at new whisky drinkers - but somehow for very subjective reasons I really don't like it.

Nose: the colour is deep and on the nose it kicks off with a mellow nuttiness. I'm particularly reminded of walnuts. It smells thick and rich. There's some orange peel and a mustiness which suggests some sherry influence.

Palate: medium to full bodied and quite cloying. In a sense I want to describe it as rich but I'm reminded of a cut-price supermarket dessert which has chemicals and compounds added to simulate richness. It feels smooth and full bodied but in an overly engineered and synthetic way. It's as though the brief was to come up with something deep, rich, smooth and easy drinking. The results are successful but ultimately rather unsatisfying. This feels forced. I'm not enjoying it one bit.

Finish: nutty notes and orange peel quickly give way to a short, bitter finish.

Comments: I think I've covered it all here. I didn't enjoy this whisky. To me it feels manufactured and dumbed down. Competently produced but boring and ultimately dislikable. Like a bad pop record.

I reciently tried this at a bar and thought it was a front-runner for blandest whisky.

@piero, 'forced, chemical, cloying'..what's NOT to dislike?


Think of chewing a handful of pencil shavings with marshmallow. That's what it tastes like.

I was unlucky to buy a bottle of this stuff and tried really hard to get my money's worth. No joy. Having tried a few dozen whiskeys so far, I thought I could drink anything. This one is positively undrinkable though.

The first impression is good: the bottle design (a star for that), a-touch-heavy-but-pleasant sweet and woody nose (two stars for that). The first sip comes with a massive oily wave of floral sweetness followed by a bitter and unpleasant rambling finish which makes me shiver. It's quite a struggle to force the second portion of this stuff down.

Adding water does not improve the situation as it makes the nose too sweet and heavy. You can play the sweetness down by adding a few ice cubes, but then the whiskey becomes more oily and the bitterness seems to stick to your tongue sending even more shivers down your spine.

Can't drink it, shall use it for cooking or something.

I wondered where the 'pencil shavings and marshmallow' comment which I have seen referred to elsewhere originated. I think I can see where he is coming from but the comment and score seem rather cruel. I wonder whether this dram has changed since 2010 since most of the recent reviews which I can find about this malt seem to be benign and it tasted superficially very good to me. Perhaps it needs to be drunk quickly!! What interests me more are the recipes to which dem has consigned the remainder of the bottle. I was once given a bottle of Old Rhodsu which had universally awful reviews and I couldn't find a single recipe which was improved by the addition of even a minim. If dem will give me the recipes I shall drink the Singleton and add the Old Rhodsu to a new dish.

Well... some 6 years later I still have about a quarter of the bottle left. After a few trials and errors I found the best recipe to utilise this whisky - Marie-Helene's apple cake:


Would definitely recommend trying this recipe.


In 2006, this Singleton of Dufftown was launched in the travel retail segment. He's only been available outside the duty free shops since autumn 2008. Dufftown launched this expression with a £800.000 marketing campaign - today you can pick up a bottle at your local supermarket for approx 30 EUR.

Dufftown is Diageo's second largest distillery in terms of production, behind the recently built Roseisle facility, opened built in 2009. No less than a staggering 5.8 million litres of spirit are produced at Dufftown, of which 97% goes to blends such as Bell's, Dewar's and Johnnie Walker.

There are hardly any official bottlings. Besides this 12 Year Old, there is also a Singleton of Dufftown 15 Year Old.

About that Singelton-range, by the way, this Dufftown is the follow up expression after the demise of the Singleton of Auchroisk. The only other expressions in a Singelton bottle are those of Glen Ord and Glendullan.

The nose is light, rife with vanilla, almonds and rather flowery. Medium sweet, I'd say.

On the palate, the spicy barley is soon accompanied by nutty oil, orange peel and dry cookies. Sherry is prominent.

The finish is rather bitter, hot, but short.

This is a rather uncomplex dram, but very drinkable and accessible. Seems to me this would be the ideal gift malt to introduce people to the wonderful world of whisky.

Very informative piece. I didn't realise the scale of production at Dufftown was so high.

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