Monday, March 20, 2017

Independent Bottler Maltbarn & Miltonduff 25 yrs Review

The German independent bottler Maltbarn was recently brought to my attention.
As to my knowledge Maltbarn was founded by ex-malt maniac Martin Diekmann, who are running Maltbarn as a small family owned company.

I really don’t know what to make of Maltbarn? It’s like there’s almost a hardcore religious philosophy behind not wanting to draw attention to the Maltbarn brand, but letting the whisky speak for itself. When I googled around for Maltbarn and Martin Diekmann to learn more about them, I came up empty handed. The only thing I could find was one single German interview that Martin Diekmann had appeared in.

When I visit their webpage, this is what met me;We started Maltbarn when we were moving into a farm with a very big barn attached to it. I always wanted to bottle whisky myself and now I even had a name – although the barn has never been used for malt storage or for malt processing. From then on I followed the idea, went hunting for some great casks and a couple of months later I was ready to go.”

“We at Maltbarn offer a select choice of whiskies both under our own label and from other bottlers. The only criterion for our product selection is quality: We don`t care about the latest hype, marketing tricks or fancy packaging. Instead we only sell whisky we love to drink ourselves! Browse around – we hope you like it here!” And apparently if you don’t, that you’re lost not really theirs. Even if you try to place an order in their web shop, you are greeted with the following message; we don`t run a proper shop system. To order bottles from this website please write us an e-mail.

Unbelievable!… Absolutely freaking unbelievable! I already like Maltbarn, even though I have yet to taste their whisky.

It’s almost like they are really saying; we love to drink our whisky ourselves, that’s why we don’t attend to sell it. I know smarter men than me, would argue that underplaying your marketing strategy, can be a smart strategy itself, especially when all your competitors tries to create the most amazing and colorful stories, to go with their brands. But whatever the play is, it defiantly works on me.

The first whisky Maltbarn ever bottled was a 30 yo. Caol Ila which was bottled in 2011, so it’s fair to assume that Maltbarn was established then. Since 2012 Maltbarn has released around 12 bottlings each year, 62 in total. Only 10 of the 66 offerings are available from Maltbarn’s web shop, the rest of them are already sold out, so I seem that Maltbarn are doing something right. 

Click here to visit Maltbarn's website


Miltonduff 25 yrs - From A Single Cask Review

Maltbarn. NO. 25 - Miltonduff – 25 yrs 

Single Malt Scotch Whisky – From a Single Cask
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Miltonduff
Bottler: Maltbarn
Region: Highland
Age: 25 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 51,2%
Distilled: 1989
Dk price: $174USD/1200Dkk.  
Release: Limited 156 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon

Points: 90/100

I have previously described The Miltonduff distillery in this Installment series, back when I reviewed Chapter 7’s 6 years old bottling, but for the once in the cheap seats, who wasn’t paying attention, I’m more than happy to repeat myself.

The Miltonduff distillery is a rather unknown distillery, mainly because they are no longer officially releasing whisky under the Miltonduff name. Miltonduff is still operational, but the majority of their whisky goes into Chivas Regal’s blended whiskies. However more than a handful of independent releases have started to see the light of day and some of them are pretty old, like Hunter Lang’s 34 year old Miltonduff edition, bottled for their Old & Rare Platinum range.

The Miltonduff whisky distillery was founded by Robert Bain and Andrew Peary in 1824,
and are located at Elgin, Morayshire in the Scottish whisky region Speyside. Nowadays Miltonduff is owned by Pernod Richard, who also owns the Chivas Regal brand.

With its 25 years, this Miltonduff is going to be the oldest offering in this series.

Deep layers of sherry. Yeah, I know it hasn’t been nowhere near a sherry cask, but still!… Raw sugarcane, acacia honey and hay.  

The palate is kind of like chewing on a whole pepper corn. Malty and nutty upfront. Hazelnuts and almonds, nutmeg and black pepper.

Short to medium long old oaky finish

Overall Impression:
This old Miltonduff have a great feeling surrounding it. It’s one of those rare whiskies that you would like to spend an entire evening with, simply because its far better company, than you can find anywhere, on a midnight hour in a small town like this.

Review By: Hasse Berg

Photo by: (All rights reserved)

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.     


Previous articles and reviews in this Independent Bottlers Installment Series: