This Dallas Dhu was bottled in 2006. I stared at it on the shelves of a local retailer for most of the years since, trying to decide if I wanted to take a chance on it. This summer I finally did it—thankfully, the price hadn’t gone up too dramatically in the interim (it’ll take a lot to make Dallas Dhu sexy, apparently). Was it worth it? Well, as you’ll see below, while I liked it, I did not love it—which is about how I felt about a Dallas Dhu 30, 1980 I reviewed three years ago. But I would still say it’s worth it. It’s a very unsexy profile but very interesting in the glimpse it gives us into an older style of malt whisky. I would urge whisky geeks who’ve only come to the obsession relatively recently, and, like me, may not have tried so very many 1970s whiskies, to ignore scores and check out malts like these with idiosyncratic profiles that are really not around any more. You don’t only have to drink and buy “90 point whiskies”.
Dallas Dhu 26, 1979 (57.2%; Signatory; hogshead #1389; from my own bottle)
Nose: Porridgy and a bit grainy right off the bat with some plasticky, minerally peaty notes mixed in. Softens up as it sits/airs with some sweeter notes emerging: floral, almost talcum powder’ish; some fruit in there too: a bit of lime peel and a hint of peach maybe. The slightly astringent, grainy thing continues to lurk in the background. Mellower with time, with more of the fruit popping out. With a big splash of water the grainy/porridgy notes retreat and there’s some sour fruit now and a butyric note.
Palate: Much better here! Starts out with quite a bit of peat (hot tarmac) and more of the fruit. The porridgy, plasticky notes are here too but they’re in the background, at least to start. Sootier/smokier on the second sip. Drinkable at full strength but it’s quite hot. I’m going to give it more air before adding water. Gets sweeter as it sits and those porridgy/plasticky notes are more in the aspirin family now. Water pushes the porridgy/plasticky notes even further back on the palate and brings out more soot, quite a bit of pepper, and more fruit (citrus and a touch of peach).
Finish: Medium. Nothing new here—the sooty, minerally notes slowly fade out. Should open up with air and water. Fruitier and sweeter and longer with water; the pepper hangs out too.
Comments: This was not very promising on the nose but looked up quite nicely on the palate with that ’70s Highland peat thing going on. And this is very much in line with the profile of the 1980 van Wees. Well, I have a sample of another older Dallas Dhu from the same period—I look forward to trying it soon. In the meantime I look forward to coming back to this bottle over the next year or so.
Rating: 85 points.