If you’ve been anywhere near the collectible whisky world in the last nine years, then you no doubt have heard of Orphan Barrel. It “initially began in 2014 as a passion project; a search for rare whiskies hidden away and nearly forgotten in the dark corners of distilleries and warehouses across the world,” reads the press release sent to me by their PR agency. They also included a sample of the final of three whiskies released under the Muckety-Muck umbrella, a 26-year-old Single Grain Scotch whisky matured in bourbon casks.
Produced by the legendary Port Dundas distillery, demolished in 2011 by its owner, Diageo, it was named for Port Dundas’ most famed and prize-winning pig, Muckety-Muck. The series was Orphan Barrel’s first foray into the world of Scotch. Legend says that the distilleries’ pigs fed on spent and leftover malts and that Muckety was the winningest of the passel, as evidenced by his wall of medals.
The Orphan Barrel range has always boasted unique labels; these three releases are no different. The 24-year depicts a single pig in a kilt; the 25, two pigs, one in pants and the other a kilt; and the 26 depicts three. But why pigs, you ask? That’s a great question, and it turns out that it’s not just for fun! The Port Dundas distillery was actually home to many pigs! It housed a piggery, a fancy way of saying a pig farm.
I haven’t had the opportunity to taste the first two releases in the Muckety-Muck series. The first release, a 24-year-old Port Dundas Single Grain, came out in 2020. Official tasting notes from the Orphan Barrel website describe it as a fruit-forward blend with lots of caramel and baked sugar. In 2022, Orphan Barrel released the second in the series, a 25-year-old Muckety-Muck, and you can read WWG’s own Steve Kirwan’s review here. I tasted the 26-year-old “3-pig label” Single Grain.
In the glass, it presents as a very light honey. The nose opens with notes of freshly sliced apples and honey, followed by orange and fermented sugar (rum-like). Lastly, there are notes of caramel and shortbread cookies alongside the heavy vanilla that I get in most single-grain Scotches.
The palate is super floral! Rosewater, orange peel, vanilla, and pear. After that, I picked up notes of Mole sauce and a touch of oak and honey.
As I haven’t tasted the other Muckety-Muck’s, I can’t say if this is the best of the lot, but I can say with certainty that it’s an absolutely delicious Single Grain Scotch. One thing is sure – it’s not easy to find 26-year Port Dundas!