Glen Deveron is the brand name of the malt whisky distilled at Macduff Distillery, which stands close to where the River Deveron meets the Moray Firth on the edge of the thriving fishing village of Macduff.
The village itself was built by James Duff, 2nd Earl of Fife, in 1783, planned around one of the best harbours on the Moray Firth, which (after 1815) became a leading herring port during the nineteenth century, exporting cured fish direct to the Baltic ports.
The distillery itself is a child of the Sixties. It was built in 1960 by a consortium which included the (at the time) well-known firm Brodie Hepburn, blenders in Glasgow which also had interests in the recently built Deanston and Tullibardine Distilleries. Like the latter, it was designed by Willian Delmé Evans, the leading distillery architect of the day and incorporated several novelties which have now become standard throughout the whisky industry, including indirect firing by steam coils, shell-and-tube condensers and a stainless steel mash tun.
Ownership passed to William Lawson Distillers, a subsidiary of the Italian drinks company, Martini & Rossi, in 1972, and this company (together with Macduff Distillery and the blended Scotch William Lawson's) was bought by Bacardi twenty years later.
Glen Deveron was first released as a single malt in the mid-1970s, at 8 years old (and it was superb!) - named thus since the mighty Distillers' Company Limited owned the brand name Macduff. Until now, only two expressions have been released by its owner in the U.K. (at 10 and 12 years old), and one at 5 years old for the Italian market (which soon became the 3rd best selling malt in the world!). So the three expressions of Glen Deveron selected for this year's Whisky Festival are very unusual.
Macduff is one of the few distilleries I have never visited, but two years ago I was invited to deliver a tasting of its malts to a group of fishermen attending the opening of the season on the Deveron, a noted salmon river. Before the tasting, a gentleman approached me and revealed that he had been distillery manager at Macduff between 1962 and his retirement in 2005.
Mike Roy was something of a legend in the whisky trade, and it was great to have him there to answer tricky questions - but I did feel I was teaching my grandmother to suck eggs! He made all three of the malts mentioned below and exclusively available through duty free.
Fresh fruit, slightly tart - green apple, grapefruit, kiwi - with a trace of dusty dried herbs. The taste is lightly sweet, the sour with a thread of pear in the finish. A refreshing aperitif.
Was £47.49, now only £37.99