Diageo has released a number of different single malts under the Singleton moniker. Originally it was Auchroisk, as the people at the top didn't believe the average buyer could pronounce the name of the distillery and would thus pass it by.
More recently, they have released the outputs of three different distilleries in three different markets under the Singleton name. North America gets Glendullan, Europe gets Dufftown, and Asia/Pacific gets Glen Ord. Of these three, only Glen Ord used to have a fairly standard release as a single malt, though Glendullan was available as a Flora & Fauna bottling.
There was actually something of a hew and cry when Glen Ord was reconfigured as a Singleton brand as the old 12 Year bottling had a number of fans. Lets see how the new version holds up.
Thanks to Michael Kravitz for a sample of this whisky.
The Singleton of Glen Ord 12 Year
Nose: apples and pears, peaches, orange creamsicle, raisins, light citrus and caramel, solid malt core, a restrained undercurrent of oak. After adding a few drops of water, the malt becomes more prominent and grainy - almost like breakfast cereal, some graham cracker notes pop up, while the fruit almost disappears - there is a little bit of apple left.
Taste: lightly sweet caramel throughout, citrus, green fruit (apples and pears), and berries starting in the middle and continuing through, oak begins as an undercurrent near the front then gains ground near the back. After dilution, the flavors become very flat, with vague oak and malt sweetness throughout, graham crackers appear, the fruit all disappears, and it has an overall bittersweet profile
Finish: slightly grassy, sweet malt and caramel, very light oak, overtones of berries
While a very respectable whisky on the lighter end of the spectrum, it's also clearly been tampered with. The relatively flat flavors are a combination of the low bottling proof of 40% and what is almost surely chill filtration. The lack of sherry or oak suggests relatively inactive casks, which makes me pretty sure that it's been darkened with caramel color. The low bottling proof almost means that it can't really stand up to even a little bit of dilution. With that said, Michael likes it quite a bit more than I did, so your mileage may vary.
All of these things are a shame as the underlying spirit seems to have a lot going for it. I'd love to try some independent bottlings of Glen Ord.
35 minutes ago