Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Diageo. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Muckety-Muck 25-Year-Old is the latest release in the Orphan Barrel series from Diageo, which highlights limited quantities of very old whiskeys heroically rescued from the mouldering corners of various warehouses. Many Orphan Barrel releases (although not all) have been bourbons, but Muckety Muck is something different: a single grain whisky from the Port Dundas Distillery, an enormous grain distillery that operated in Glasgow and closed its doors in 2010.
Grain whisky is a Scottish whisky category that refers to any whisky distilled from a mash that isn’t 100% malted barley. In practice, it’s usually distilled on massive continuous column stills from mostly wheat or corn, with a small amount of malted barley. It can be single (the product of one distillery), or blended (the product of multiple distilleries). The way drinkers most frequently encounter it is as a constituent in blended Scotch whiskies, which are a mixture of malt and grain whisky.
Serious Scotch drinkers sometimes look down on grain whisky as inferior to malt—milder, less complex, made primarily to stretch more flavorful malts and keep costs down. The reputation isn’t entirely unearned. Still, grain whiskies (especially old ones) can be delicious, with dessert-y flavors like cereal, pastries, custard, and toffee. Appealingly, they can also be much less expensive than comparably old single malts.
The first Muckety-Muck release, which came out in 2020, was 24 years old. This one is a year older, and half a percentage point stronger.
Tasting Notes: Muckety-Muck 25-Year-Old
Vital Stats: Single grain Scotch whisky. 25 years old. Distilled at the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow, Scotland. 45.5% alcohol. Priced around $260.
Appearance: A tarnished gold color
Nose: Bright and sweet, with aromas of lemon meringue pie, caramel sauce, ginger ale, lemon tea, orange, marmalade, and hay. There’s also a hint of something minerally and inorganic, like clay. It’s not very complicated, but it is appealing.
Palate: Powdered sugar, vanilla, citrus, lemon curd, snickerdoodle, and light caramel sweep across the palate with a featherweight, barely-there texture. The finish is thin, citrusy, and cooling, with menthol and Lemon zinger tea. And then it’s gone, leaving a lingering feeling of warmth and a hint of clay-like powderiness.
While I was sipping this whisky, Pink Floyd’s “Is There Anybody Out There?” kept popping into my head. As in, is there anybody out there who would want to spend $260 on something so pleasant, soothing, and yet strangely inert? Still, I’m quite sure it would make an exceptionally tasty (and luxe) highball–for real Muckety-Mucks.
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Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...