River in Dufftown region

Dufftown’s Liquid Gold - Justerini & Brooks

23 May 2024

Ethan Youel

Within Dufftown, the main drag leading towards the historical clock tower was once said to contain an illicit still, right under the nose of the excise men supposed to be finding such sites. Modern Dufftown is still host to six working distilleries and to some, can be considered the Malt Whisky Capital of the World. Not bad for a town with a population of just 1,667. Everyone you talk to whether it be in the shop, pub, ice cream shop or café will have a link to the whisky industry be it aunt, uncle, grandmother or grandfather. This town was built on whisky and is home to some of the most adored and loved whisky brands around. It’s easy to see why its name has travelled around the world.

The Singleton Dufftown Distillery
The Singleton of Dufftown

Mortlach: The Beast of Dufftown

One of those revered distilleries is Mortlach. Nicknamed by Dave Broom as “The Beast of Dufftown”, Mortlach is a hidden gem and the oldest legal distillery in Dufftown, pre-dating the town itself. The muscular liquid that it produces, is largely down to the complex 2.81 times distillation, engineered by father and son, George and Alexander Cowie. They wanted to create a whisky that had big, bold flavour without smoke. Each Mortlach bottling has its own distinct story, but Cowie’s Blue Seal, the elegant 20 year old single malt, has a stunning sense of power and complexity that 2 decades of maturation bestows. Mortlach’s relationship with sherry adds that touch of dried fruit, yet keeps the signature savoury finish that is unmistakably Mortlach. Try it alongside a quality black olive to really stimulate the senses.

Bottle shot of Mortlach 20 Year Old

“Everyone you talk to whether it be in the shop, pub, ice cream shop or café will have a link to the whisky industry...”

Ethan Youel

Whisky Advocate

Mortlach Distillery, Dufftown
Mortlach Distillery

The Singleton of Dufftown: A Rare Gem

The pinnacle of Dufftown for any collector is The Singleton of Dufftown 54 year old. It is an incomparable pleasure to encounter a whisky that has spent over five decades silently maturing in oak. Very few whiskies can achieve such an extended maturation and are able to maintain such elegance. The distillery character and maturation combined work in absolute melodiousness to create such a well integrated dram. This expression of the Singleton of Dufftown is therefore a rare gem and should rightly be treasured as such. This whisky marks the finale in the Paragon of Time Collection, and is limited to just 235 beautifully crafted Baccarat crystal bottles. The Singleton of Dufftown 54 Year Old has come from our last remaining casks from 1966, which once depleted will become no more than a fond memory of a long-gone era, and to date is the oldest whisky ever released by Diageo.

Packaging and a bottle shot of Singleton 54 Year Old Speyside