Glen Deveron 10 Years Review - Glen Deveron 16 Years Review

Glen Deveron/Macduff Special”

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whiskies:

The Macduff distillery was founded in 1960 and was bought in 1972 by William Lawson Distillers. Since then, most of the Macduff Spirit is used for the well-known William Lawson's Blend. Since 1993, the distillery is owned by John Dewar & Sons Ltd (Bacardi Group). Official Distillery bottlings of Single Malt have always been released under the Glen Deveron brand name. Macduff is known as Glen Deveron as well because it was constructed next to the River Deveron. In 2015 the new core range and packaging was released under the name The Deveron. It consists of the 10, 12 and 18 Years. Macduff produces around 3 million liters of Spirit per year (2017).

The 10 Years I'm reviewing today was part of the old Glen Deveron core range that was distilled and bottled before 2015.

The 16 Years I'm reviewing today was launched in 2013. Together with a 20 and a 30 year old it forms The Royal Burgh Collection, a Travel Retail exclusive at first. In the meantime however, it is available elsewhere as well. The collection commemorates the Royal Burgh of Banff, the old sea port beside the distillery granted charter by the Scottish King Robert II.

Whisky Review # 642

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Glen Deveron
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 30-45 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😒 Not recommended.  

Colour: Full Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Relatively Young and Edgy, Simple, Sweet and Sour, Malty and Citrusy. A  few Floral notes as well. I find Toasted Breakfast Cereals, Oat Meal, Caramel, Toffee, light Vanilla, Yeast, Pine Needles, Dusty Road, Nut Shells, Orange Peel,  Apple Vinegar, Green Wood, Condensed Milk, Dried Fruit, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger. Most of the above are mere hints. Cereals, Citrus, Orchard Fruit and Green Wood are the main drivers. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. There's not too much to get excited about actually.     

Palate: Young, Thin and Bitter-Sweet. I find Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Grass, Straw, light Heather-Honey, Orange, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Vanilla, Menthol, Licorice, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dusty Road, Green Wood and a bit of Lemon Zest. 

Finish: Quite Short, Bitter-Sweet, Rough and Nervous. A rather unpleasant Metallic off-note towards the end. Sharp Vodka-type Alcohol notes. I also find Toasted Grain, Nut Shells, Caramel, Toffee, Green Wood, Green Apples, Straw, light Licorice, Menthol, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Drinking Advice:
The Glen Deveron 10 years completely disappears as a Single Malt Whisky after adding a few drops of Water. Is that good or bad? You decide! 

Rating: 75.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 18.5 - Finish: 18 - Overall: 19 

Drinking Experience: Okay/Below Average


It might be good Blend fodder but this Glen Deveron 10 Years doesn't present sufficient Aromas and Flavours to consider it as an interesting Single Malt. It's mainly Cereals with a bit of Citrus, Green Apple and a few Wood Spices. It's quite Watery and Thin and the Wood Management is indifferent. The percentage of Sherry casks is either low or the casks weren't very active. The Finish is too Short and too Sharp and the Metallic off-note should not be there. Not a Single Malt I would recommend. There are lots of better entry alternatives.   

🍷  The Spirit:

The Macduff Distillery has a very unusual uneven number of Stills. Two wash stills and three Spirit stills. The Lyne arms have various angles and produce a medium-bodied Sweet Spirit. The Malt is unpeated but the Water is sourced from the Gelly Burn and passes over peaty soil.

Picture Credit:

🌲  The Wood:

I have no specific information on this issue. Based on the Nosing and Tasting I would assume that both the 10 Years and 16 Years matured in mix of Bourbon and Sherry casks, the majority probably consisting of Refill Ex-Bourbon casks. I believe that the percentage of Sherry casks was certainly higher in the 16 Years.

Whisky Review # 643

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Glen Deveron (Royal Burgh Collection)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 16 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry casks. 
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😐 Okay if you can find it at around 60 US Dollars. 

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Clearly more Sherry cask influence here when compared to the 10 Years. I get a little Sulphur as well but it's within limits. The Alcohol is still noticeable but not in an aggressive way. Cereals, Citrus and Orchard Fruit remain in the lead but the balance is much better here. I find Sweet Barley, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Buttered Toast, Heather-Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Fresh cut Hay, Pine Needles, Apple Pie with Whipped Cream, Citrus Peel, Mandarin Juice, Dried Fruit, Hazelnuts, Cocoa Powder, Oak, light Spices, light Mint and Dusty Road. The Nose of the 16 Years is not breath-taking but much better and more pleasant than the 10 Years.

Palate: Rather Thin delivery. This Malt deserves an ABV of 46% and deserves to be bottled without adding Caramel. On the Palate, the 16 Years is mostly Sweet but there are some Sour and Bitter notes as well. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Nuts, Cocoa Powder, Green Apple, Pear, Heather-Honey, Oak, Mandarin Juice, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, a little Sulphur, a bit of Lemon, Menthol and the faintest hint of Peat.

Finish: Middle-Long. Mainly Sweet but with some Sour Notes and Bitterness from the Oak as well. I still get a little Metal right at the end but it's more in the background here. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Tart Green Apple, Pear drops, Orange Peel, Mandarin Juice, Earth, Heather-Honey, Pepper, Cloves, light Nutmeg, Salted Peanuts, Menthol and a vague hint of Strawberry flavoured Yogurt.

Drinking Advice:
I added a few drops of Water and although the overall Aroma and Flavour profile does not change a whole lot, you do get rid of some of the Alcohol and Bitter Oak notes. It gets a little too Thin as well in my opinion but you can carefully add a few drops in this case. As I bought a full bottle of the 16 Years at the Duty Free Shop I also experienced it over a little Ice. Quite pleasant actually. 

Rating: 82 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

Drinking Experience: Good


On the basis of these two Glen Deveron expressions I can safely say that the Single Malts produced at the Macduff distillery are not among my favourites. Having said that I feel that the 16 Years does have potential. It just needs to be bottled at a more adequate ABV and without adding Caramel. A few more active Sherry casks would help as well. Still, the 16 Years is way better than the 10 and at around 60 Dollars for a liter it's certainly worth exploring if you like the general Aroma and Flavour profile where Cereals, Citrus, Orchard Fruit, Oak and Wood spice are the main drivers. For the time being, Macduff's main task is to produce Spirit for Blends. I do hope however they will invest some serious time and effort in their Single Malts as well. As always, the Spirit deserves it! 

Jan van den Ende                                                            September 11, 2017

Macduff Distillery

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