I like ticking boxes. Especially if it means trying a whisky from a distillery I haven’t tried before – like Dumbarton. Founded in 1938, this grain distillery in Dumbarton, Scotland was closed in 2002 and dismantled a few years afterwards. This bottling by the independen bottler Claxton’s was distilled in 1986. I like 1986 – if only for the fact that it’s my birthyear…
Age: 32 years
Limitation: 96 bottles
Cask: Bourbon Barrel
uncoloured/not chill filtered
As is often the case with grain whiskies, the nose has a whiff of glue on the first contact. After the nose adjusts for that, fruits appear. Red apples and dried apricots with … fruity bubble gum. After a while, the age starts to show in the background – molasses and fudge with a hint of oak. Needs plenty of time to develop its full potential.
Rather dry on the arrival as the alcohol builds up. Pencil shavings and cereals (unsweetened cornflakes, anyone?). As the alcohol burn dies down the cask makes its appearance – oily, dirty oak juice (in a good way!) with toffee, 100% cocoa chocolate and vanilla pod. Big and bold and showing its age.
There’s an alcoholic kick upon swallowing, followed by dry notes – wood shavings, the dirty, oily oak juices are back, followed by the high-grade chocolate and burnt… vanilla pods? Quite long and satisfying.
This was a very pleasant first contact with the now demolished Dumbarton distillery. This whisky needs a lot of time to develop its full potential in the glass. If you grant it that, you’re rewarded with a big, bold, well-aged grain that’s sold at a very good price!
Overall Score: 88/100
Click to read all my Dumbarton Distillery whisky reviews
This sample was provided free of charge by Claxton’s. No other compensation was provided.