Daftmill 2006 Summer vs. Winter

Daftmill distillery, founded in 2003 by brothers Francis and Ian Cuthbert, is one of the smallest and one of the only self-sufficient distilleries in Scotland. It is a true farm distillery, with barley production as their core business for many years. Whisky production is marginal: about 100 casks per year, during short two to three month seasons when there’s less work on the fields.



People have been raving about the first few Daftmill releases. Buying a bottle was virtually impossible. On the other hand I’ve also read quite a few reports of people who were disappointed by the young, immature character.

When they started distilling in 2005-2006, they used Chariot barley, later this became Optic, Publican, Concerto and Laureate.



Daftmill 2006 - Summer BatchDaftmill 2006 11 yo  ‘Summer Batch release’ (46%, OB 2018, first-fill bourbon barrels, 1665 btl.)

Nose: light hints of white grape, banana and tinned pineapple, as well as some lychee and floral notes, like fresh laundry. Rather natural vanilla and minty oak. Also a really nice, waxy character, with some lipstick notes, wet chalk and lemon balm.

Mouth: quite spicy, with pepper and nutmeg, moving towards peaches and green bananas. Then a light chalkiness again, creamy latte and hints of coconut. Wet cardboard. Classic zesty lemon peel and grapefruit towards the end, typical Lowlands markers.

Finish: medium, with a slightly raw oaky edge, menthol and lemon peel.

Well indeed this is a nice Lowlands whisky with a unique profile. Maybe even the next Rosebank in the making, if we allow it to mature further. A little blown up perhaps, but definitely interesting stuff and quite a benchmark for a first public release. Still available from TWE.

Score: 87/100




Daftmill 2006 - Winter BatchDaftmill 2006 12 yo ‘Winter Batch release’ (46%, OB 2018, first-fill bourbon barrels #080-085, UK version, 1625 btl.)

Nose: sweeter, more pastry-like, with quite a lot of white chocolate. More obvious vanilla (cake). Hints of horchata and buttery popcorn. Apples, rhubarb and peaches. Still this mineral / waxy side but less pronounced.

Mouth: oily, with a big dusty, grainy side, bigger than in the Summer release. Slightly burnt pizza crust and scorched grass. Aniseed and bitterness from the wood. Gingery notes and grapefruit peel, even a slightly soapy edge. Much less impressive than the Summer release, with hardly any fruits.

This feels rougher, with more spices and grassy wood, and fruity notes that struggle to come out. Let’s not get over-excited: this is characterful but also pretty austere (and I’m not the biggest Lowlands fan anyway). TWE has samples if you like.

Score: 83/100