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KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar Blog Day 1 - Daftmill 15-Year-Old Cask Strength

Posted on December 8, 2023

by Evan

Welcome to the starting line for our exploration through the 2023 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Calendar! This marks the first step on our 25 day/dram long journey through what we hope you will agree is some fantastic whisky. Creating the KWM Whisky Calendar each year is a labour of love (and stress, and blood/sweat/tears/etc) that only a few companies are masochistic enough to undertake.

We truly appreciate you purchasing (or being gifted) our 2023 Whisky Calendar and any of the KWM Whisky Calendars you have broken open the doors of and pillaged in prior years.

Hopefully, you can join me along the way via each day’s blog post, and perhaps even join, Andrew, myself and possibly other Kensington Wine Market crew during our 5-day recap tastings virtually, online in real-time or through the recordings on YouTube after the fact. Our biggest wish is that the activities we build around this Calendar are as exciting to you as they are to us.

Before I go all sappy and drown us all further in soliloquy (sniff – I love you all!), we should probably celebrate Day One of the 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar with a dram. That is what we are here for, right? So, let’s take that beautiful, pristine 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar box and start ruining it by inflicting the first of 25 scars on its surface. There is no turning back, and no returns, after this. At least this clandestine act of vandalism is all done for a good cause, and that cause is whisky!

Day 01 - Daftmill 15 Year Cask Strength

Which whisky lies in wait behind Door Number One? Well, if the KWM staff packaged everything correctly, the whisky now in your hands should be the Daftmill 15-Year-Old Cask Strength!

That’s right, we are going cask strength right off the bat with this year’s KWM Whisky Calendar – and this is not just any cask strength whisky, either. This is one of the oldest bottlings to be released from one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland.

Daftmill Distillery produces around 20,000 litres per year. That is only barely more Coca-Cola than the average Canadian drinks annually if I recall. Just kidding, but that is a very small amount of spirit. Why so little? Well, there is only one wash still and one spirit still at the distillery, so that is part of it.

The most significant limiting factor though is that Daftmill Distillery resides on Daftmill Farm, and it is mostly operated when the farm is off-season. There are about four months each year when whisky production is prioritized – two in the summer and two in the winter. The barley used by the Distillery is all grown and harvested from Daftmill Farm. Francis and Ian Cuthbert; the farm's owners, also own the Distillery.

Daftmill Distillery and Farm reside in the Lowlands, near Cupar, which is in the county of Fife. Its nearest distillery neighbours include Eden Mill – another young distillery which is about an hour and a half drive to the east in St. Andrews, and the also young but built on a historic property Lindores Abbey Distillery which is only a 15-minute drive to the Northwest.

The Cuthberts founded Daftmill Distillery in 2005, with the first spirit coming off the stills in December of that year. They took their sweet time releasing their first whisky, which sets them apart from most young distilleries. That is the upside of not having the distillery as the primary source of income, I suppose. The first release of Daftmill didn’t happen until May of 2018. Releases since then have all been limited to small batches of 1200 to 6500ish bottles.

Watch Andrew's video presentation on the Daftmill 15-Year-Old here!

The 15-year-old Cask Strength we will be tasting was from a small batch release with a total of 5338 bottles filled. 28 first-fill ex-Bourbon Barrels filled in 2006 went into this bottling which was filled at 55.7% ABV. Shall we give it a go?

Daftmill 15 Year Old Cask Strength - 55.7%

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Very toasty, but still grain-driven. Notes of buttered cinnamon toast, banana bread, hot-cross buns, Fruit Loops cereal, fried plantain chips, pear pie, and Calvados.

Palate: Golden Delicious apple slices, Puffed Wheat cereal, root vegetable and potato chips, vegetable barley soup, buttered popcorn, sunflower seeds, just a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder, and a dash of seasoning salt.

Finish: Sweet cereals and spicy, buttery oak continue to hum quietly before fading into the background. Sweet cereals and spicy, buttery oak continue to hum quietly before fading into the background.

Comment: The first fill ex-Bourbon barrels have some influence in this whisky, but the amount of grain and malt that still sings through is stunning. What a dram!

Andrew's Tasting Note

Nose: soft, fruity, and nutty, with a lovely cheesy funk; window putty, parchment paper, and fresh cut spring flowers; macadamias, Starburst fruit candies, and sliced pear with a touch of crumbly blue cheese; quince paste and creamed honey; firm toasted oak and wood spices.

Palate: lush, fruity, and spicy, with a backbone of toasted oak and dry nutty tones; floral and honeyed, the oak is firm but balanced; on the fruit side of things, more Starburts, crisp pear, and honeydew melon; chewy malt, silky oils, and a flinty minerality; a touch more cheese, comte and a touch of Danish blue cheese.

Finish: light, fresh, and waxy with good length; more floral and fruity tones with honey, malt, and cheese.

Comment: This is another cracking good Daftmill; it is elegant, with nice layers, and a good balance; I haven't even mentioned the strength yet, dangerously drinkable at 55.7%!

See you tomorrow for day number two in our 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar!

Facebook & Instagram: @sagelikefool

You can find all blog posts for Kensington Wine Market’s 2023 Whisky Calendar Here

Feel like you want to hear more about Daftmill Distillery? Check out our recent Daftmill Virtual tasting session on YouTube!

Watch our Day 1 to 5 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar Recap Tasting Video on YouTube here!


This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, KWM Whisky Calendar 2023



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