04.27.18 | That Boutique-y Whisky Company Macduff 18 Batch 3

Scotch Whisky

Well, the fun is over, our European excursion is over and damnit, it sucks…

Luckily though I brought back a backpacking pack worth of delicious whisky to alleviate the sadness, so let’s get right back into the swing of things!

To start off the fun I bring you a special bottling from the private bottler That Boutique-y Whisky Company. This particular bottle is a Macduff 18 and is their 3rd batch from the distillery. Now Macduff is a lesser-known Highland distillery and is one of the “new” kids on the block. By new I mean they didn’t roll out their first barrel until 1960. The Macduff distillates have spent most of their life being used for blended single malts by Bacardi and now go into blends offered by John Dewars & Son, so don’t feel silly that you haven’t had their whisky, to know your knowledge. Plus to make it even more confusing the distillery doesn’t release their whisky under the name Macduff, but rather under the name The Deveron. Why do they do that? Honestly, I have no clue whatsoever, so if you do know feel free to drop me a message!

This bottle is both my first That Boutique-y Whisky Company bottle and my first Macduff. After having tried this single malt a few times it makes me bummed knowing that it is primarily used in blends because it is a mighty fine whisky!

I don’t have a ton of detail on the whisky itself other than:

  • 18 year
  • 48.6% abv
  • £52.95 price (per That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
  • AND, my best guess is probably a second-fill, maybe even third-fill, sherry cask

Color: In the glass, the Macduff is a faint gold color and not viscous at all, thin and runny legs. Pretty plain jane.

Nose: The nose has quite a subdued sweet profile. While nosing this bad boy I was finding sugary malt and dried hay, not so much barnyardy, just farmy? I don’t know if that makes sense at all, but hell, it made sense in my head. Macerated red fruits slowly convert to a slightly tart berry jam. Super easy on the nose, but don’t be fooled by the nose…

-Brief Interlude-

Palate: This is why you shouldn’t be fooled by the nose. On the palate, the whisky is much darker and complex. Out with the sweet, in with the savory! The first tastes I found were a handful of dark chocolate covered almonds and an un-sweetened chocolate cake. As it works around the mouth I found peppercorns, szechuan pepper (I’ll explain this one in a moment), and drying leather. Now, why szechuan pepper? The reason is that there really isn’t the flavor of a spicy pepper, but rather the experience of a pepper. A fairly noticeable tingle on the tongue and itch from the pepper. This Macduff really has an interesting savory aspect to the palate.

Finish: Let’s bring this review home! The finish was peanut brittle accompanied by a dry shortbread cookie. Really sucks the moisture out of the mouth. A slight pinch of aromatic tobacco takes you into a medium length finish that has red fruits and a bit of cayenne spice to it. Can feel it in the throat this one. NOT IN A BAD WAY.

For myself, this has been one of the more interesting drams I have had this year. There is something very perplexing about this Macduff 18. When you’re tasting it on its face, I kept on just thinking to myself, “okay, its just another middle of the pack second-fill sherry cask single malt scotch,” but its so much more than that. This whisky is like that person at work you know that is about as plain as a piece of white bread, but then you encounter them outside of the office and that effer has a full sleeve tattoo and is pulling out of a dingy dive bar on a motorcycle. Does that make sense? If not, what I am trying to say is that there is a ton of interesting flavors going on with this whisky and the nose isn’t going to show its cards on any of them. I’m giving this bottle an 8/10. Peep the homepage for an explanation of the newly introduced grading rubric.

The Macduff 18 from That Boutique-y Whisky Company is the pour I want to drink to close out the night after having conquered the town with the crew, to cleanse my palate of the cigars I had been smoking and whatever debauchery I may have gotten into.

For clarity, disclosure, and trust – this is my bottle that I purchased.

04.03.18 | Sugarlands Distilling Company Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey 4th Edition

American Whiskey

You know what they always say, you want what you can’t have. That has been my feeling when it comes to the Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey since it is a distillery only release, but here I am finally making it happen (thank you Sugarland!).

Now, this is a whiskey that really doesn’t need me to vouch for it. The Roaming Man has been clearing up the awards circuit since it first hit the whiskey scene. Born in Gatlinburg, Tennessee by a bunch of passionate funky “moonshine” making folks, the 4th edition took home six gold medals in 2017 and sold out in… wait for it… 30 minutes! Those are the sort of results that speak for themselves but don’t give tasting notes, so here I am!

I’ve said it once and I will continue to say over and over, that clarity is so important in the whiskey industry. Sugarland may be the clearest distiller I have ever seen. When you get your bottle of Roaming Man the label is going to give you everything from the mash bill, to the staves used, to the barrel treatment, to the evaporation and get this, even comes with a chromatogram chart. This is the science lover and chemists dream whiskey! While tasting the Roaming Man I actually had a really terrific time referencing back to the chart to see what congeners and/or compounds were creating the flavors I was experiencing.

Now for the dirty details about, of which, Sugarland tells them all:

  • Abv 60.9%
  • 51% Rye 45% Corn 4% Malted Barley
  • Barrel Type: American White Oak
  • Staves: 6 Months Air Dried
  • Treatment: #3 and #4 Char
  • Barrel Size: 25 Gallons
  • Avg Evaporation: 21%

AND, this isn’t even all the info I could give you on it!

Color: Now the whiskey itself is a nice crystal clear orange copper with some lovely cask strength crystal legs in the glass.

Nose: The heat is there, but not as much as I was expecting. Working past the slight ethanol the whiskey opens into a spice apple cider, lots of apple on the nose. There are HUGE floral spices, lots of sweet sugars (molasses?), and freshly cut hay. Really carries the nose of everything I want and love in a rye whiskey.

Palate: Alright alright alright, here comes that cask strength heat… BUT it still isn’t there… curious. The palate is nice and decadent. Vanilla bean crème brûlée with that nice burnt sugar top that just cracks wide open to the huge flavors. The apple is calmer on the palate and instead is more of banana bread, with sweet grains.

Finish: This finish reintroduces the terrific big rye florals and spices, but brings with it this time a spoonful of honey, the lingering flavor is a lovely dried oak that takes you into a short finish. On the finish, I still found hardly any heat. I don’t know how, but Sugarland really tamed the cask strength abv of the Roaming Man leaving you with an incredibly smooth and sippable rye whiskey!

The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is the big bold (young) rye the world deserves and needs in the oftentimes bleak state of affairs. The whiskey is a no-nonsense, no gimmicks, full clarity, damn good rye whiskey. In the glass, it drinks far beyond its age (thanks to the smaller barrels) and is so full of balanced flavors.

The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey will have you dreaming of summer nights sitting on the tailgate of an old pickup truck in the backwoods of Tennessee!

Now to figure out how to get a full bottle of the 5th edition, pre-sale is launching Wednesday, April 18th, back to Colorado… we always want what we can’t have… but if you’re lucky enough to be nearby the distillery. Go get a bottle and thank me later!


The words and opinions are all mine, but the sample was provided to me by Sugarland Distilling Company.