Monday, February 7, 2011

Glendullan - who knows it?

Served a 17yr old Rum finished Murray McDavid bottle of Glendullan at the Misterhood Fiddich on Saturday. No 'ooohs and aaahs' but it sure washed down the nova lox well.

Interesting factoid: Glendullan is relatively unknown as a single malt whisky; measured in production capacity (almost 4 million litres of alcohol per year in 2008) it's actually Diageo's second-largest distillery, right after Dufftown and before Caol Ila that has the number 3 spot. Glendullan distillery is located in what's probably the busiest 'whiskytown' in the Speyside area: Dufftown. It was built there (relatively late) in 1897-1898 by William Williams & Sons Ltd., blenders from Aberdeen. In 1919  William Williams & Sons Ltd. changed their name to Macdonald, Greenlees & Williams (Distillers) Ltd. In 1926 they were taken over by the DCL, which later evolved into whisky industry giant Diageo. In 1939 .Glendullan was transferred to SMD, another predecessor of Diageo.
The old Glendullan distillery was completely refurbished in 1962, at which point two brand new stills were constructed. However, in 1972 a new distillery was built next to the old one. The new Glendullan distillery had six stills (three times as many as the old one) and both operated side by side until 1985, when the old distillery was finally closed. The whiskies produced at these two distilleries were different from each other, but nevertheless they were simply vatted together before bottling or blending.

During the late 1980's and early half of the 90's blends still accounted for circa 97% of whisky sales. 
It was only in the second half of the 1990's that the single malts category really took off. Distilleries like Glendullan and Dufftown remained mostly focused on blends for a few more years, but around the year 2007 Diageo finally reintroduced them to the market as single malts - together with Glen Ord. They all had been marketed as single malts at some point, but in recent years only Glen Ord was widely available. Oddly enough, the malt whisky from these three distilleries is now marketed under one single brand; the Singleton.  
So, there's an international component to this Singleton story... Consumers in the USA get a Glendullan 12yo when they order a Singleton, whisky drinkers in Europe receive a Dufftown 12yo, and in Asia they get Glen Ord 12yo.
Thx to Malt Madness for that -

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