Monday, June 25, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #106

Pittyvaich 12 yo
Single Malt Whisky
43% abv

This week we are going to be tasting a group of Diageo-owed malts. Diageo owns several very big brands including Guinness, Bailey's, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker. It is the biggest booze company in the world and has been a steady recipient of both criticism and compliment. More on Diageo's history as it relates to Scottish whisky as the week unfolds.

Dufftown is known as the capital of distilling in Speyside, and after Glendullan became the 7th distillery in the area in 1897 it is said that the rhyme "Rome was built on seven hills, and Dufftown stands on seven stills" began to circulate. Arthur Bells and Sons jeopardized the accuracy of the rhyme when they built Pittyvaich in 1974... Allt-a-Bhainne (1975) and finally Kininvie (1990) really pushed the ryhme into irrelevance. Thankfully, for those who love the Rome rhyme, distillery closures did help the accuracy return, but it didn't last very long.

Used for Bell's blended whisky, the first release as a single malt was in 1991 as a part of the Flora & Fauna series. Two years later the distillery was mothballed. For nearly 10 years the fate of Pittyvaich was undecided, sitting silent as a malt distillery but being used intermittently for trials of different distilling techniques. In 2002, the building was dismantled, equipment was sent to Clynelish, and the official status of Pittyvaich became 'demolished'.

There are several independent releases available from Duncan Taylor, Cadenhead's, and Gordon & Macphail's, among others.


Cinnamon, cooked pears, sherried sweetness. Buttery cookie dough, shortbread.

Slightly spirity but appetising. Toasty, stewed apples and pears, dry sherry. Digestives. Drying, leaving tastes of the smell of newpaper with some spiciness.


Pleasant enough with a good, sweet malted barley taste balanced against sherry and oak. Michael Jackson has called it "a Scottish grappa", and has meant no compliment by it. I wouldn't be so hard on this whisky. I have used it at tastings and it has gone down quite well with the crowd. I would call it a pudding-before-the-meal whisky. Sweet and spicy, but simple and dry, and subsequently quite nice to serve right before a meal over conversation, grapes and oat cakes.

Malt Mission #105
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