Dallas Dhu was a Speyside distillery that closed in 1983 along with other, more fervently mourned distilleries (such as Port Ellen and Brora). I’ve made a few sceptical remarks here and there about the effect that romance/nostalgia may have on the reputations of closed distilleries. But it must be admitted that if romance and nostalgia were a major factor then more people would be trumpeting closed distilleries like Dallas Dhu and North Port/Brechin as well, but no one really is. I wonder if somewhere out there in the world there are lonely collectors of Dallas Dhu, Brechin, Glenesk et al., who are sitting resentfully among their bottles, pondering the recent rise from relative obscurity of such distilleries as Glenlochy and Glen Mhor, or the rehabilitation in process of the reputation of Littlemill, and wondering if their turn will ever come on the stage. If so, I recommend patience: in a world where the Balcones Brimstone can get good reviews anything is possible.
Dallas Dhu 30, 1980-2011 (46%, Van Wees, Hogshead #2110; from my own bottle)
Nose: Minerally peat–more soot than smoke; something mildly acidic/astringent as well. Medicinal in the “uncoated tablet on tongue” sense. A resinous sweetness emerges after a minute or two. I don’t know that I would call this nose pleasant but it’s certainly different–and I don’t mean that in the “Minnesota nice” sense (for those not from Minnesota, if a native Minnesotan responds to a suggestion you make with a neutral “that’s sure different” then they have basically suggested that you eat shit and die). With a lot more time, a subtle fruity note develops under the soot and it’s quite pleasant, so screw you, you passive-aggressive Minnesotans! This doesn’t really call out for water but let’s see what a drop or two may do: well, it makes it a tiny bit maltier but it doesn’t do a whole lot more.
Palate: Nice thick mouthfeel. The resinous sweetness from the nose makes the first impression. Sooty, peppery smoke follows. There’s a vague, slightly bitter fruitiness in there too. A fairly narrow profile. Gets more lemony with time, but as on the nose, the fruit is always tempered with smoke/soot. Water doesn’t do anything for the palate but make it watery–in fact, it drives the fruit away. Actually, after a bit the palate gets rather astringent. Yes, I’d stay away from water with this one.
Finish: Long’ish: smoky, peppery, resinous. No fruit here.
Comments: Quite interesting, and probably more interesting than it is pleasurable. It reminds me in some respects of the Cadenhead’s Ardmore 1977 that I reviewed some weeks ago–mostly in the nature of the light oily/minerally smoke/peat that both exhibit. As this is the only Dallas Dhu I’ve had I can’t speak to whether this is typical or atypical. I do find it interesting enough to want to try more though. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of it around in the US these days.
Rating: 86 points (84 points + 2 for its idiosyncratic qualities)