Dailuaine 15, 1997 (Gordon & Company)

Back to the Speyside, and back to another distillery that does not have a visitor’s centre and one of the few, seemingly, that I did not at some point drive by: Dailuaine. It is owned by Diageo and, other than in the Flora & Fauna series, it sees no regular release. This is a shame—I’ve quite liked the few I’ve tasted and reviewed (two older ones—here and here—and this 12 yo). A decent number show up from the independents every year, though we don’t see very many in the US. This one was bottled by Gordon & Company—no relation to Gordon & MacPhail—a bottler I know nothing about. I bought these samples a long time ago; the whisky itself is long gone—and so these notes will have no utility to anyone. But being of no use to anyone is my core competency anyway.

By the way, this came from a cask that yielded 312 bottles. That’s a strange number for a whisky at cask strength from a single cask—a few too many bottles, seemingly, for a bourbon hogshead, and quite a few too few for a sherry butt (and as you’ll see, this does not seem like a sherry cask to me). 

Dailuaine 15, 1997 (55.9%; Gordon & Company; cask 15561; from a purchased sample)

Nose: Buttery oak and berries. With time and air there’s some citrus mixed in as well (lemon peel). With a drop or three of water the lemon expands dramatically and it picks up a musky anchor as well.

Palate: Sweet with the oak coming in behind. Nice texture and quite drinkable at full strength, though there is a bit of bite. Gets sweeter with every sip and it goes from a somewhat indistinct, cloying sweetness to, with time and air, a blend of sweet and tart, with the lemon peel coming through. Let’s see if water pulls out more of interest. Well, it doesn’t pull out anything new but it emphasizes the lemon peel and integrates it nicely with the oak.

Finish: Medium. Not much of interest here. The sweetness (indistinct) and oak slowly fade out. The late arriving lemon on the palate hangs out on the finish as well. As on the palate with water with the musky stuff from the nose showing up at the end.

Comments: I was unimpressed by this at first: flawless but uninteresting, I thought. But then with time and water it really came on: the indistinct sweetness yielding to a very nice blend of lemon peel, oak and malt. Another summery malt and I wish I had a bottle.

Rating: 86 points.

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