Dallas Dhu 25, 1979 (Signatory)

I’m going to stay in the Speyside this week but things are probably not going to get very much more mainstream or timely than Monday’s review of a Miltonduff released in 2012. Today’s review is of a malt from a distillery that closed amid the great slaughter of distilleries in 1983. Its reputation has never approached that of some of the other distilleries that closed then (Port Ellen, Brora) or even others that closed later (Caperdonich) and nor has it seen a wholesale re-evaluation in later years (as, for example, has Littlemill). This is presumably because not enough Dallas Dhu survived to emerge in the late 1990s and 2000s as casks from many other distilleries did. I’ve certainly enjoyed the few I’ve had. Like one of those this is from a cask filled in 1979 (ignore what it says on the label—that’s a typo) and was also bottled by Signatory. That bottle—more so than the other one I reviewed—exhibited a grainy, plasticky note that took a while to fade and which held it back at the time of my review. Let’s see if this one also has it. 

Dallas Dhu 25, 1979 (60.6%; Signatory; bourbon hogshead 1390; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: As with the other1979, this starts out with some porridgey notes but thankfully there’s nothing grainy about it. The porridgey note blends with malt instead and there’s some tart-sweet fruit below it: lemon? tart apple? The high strength makes it hard to tease out. Just a faint hint of prickly peat as well. With more time there’s more fruit: blueberries now. Oh with a few drops of water the fruit expands dramatically: candied lemon peel, apple sauce; plus some honey, toasted oak and cereals.

Palate: Well, it’s hot as expected but there’s a lot of fruit lurking under the heat. At full strength there are just flashes of it: lemon, yes, but also sweeter muskier notes. Let’s give it some air and then some water. With air the fruit begins to expand: lemon, apple, a bit of pear. The hint of peat from the nose doesn’t amount to anything here. Maltier too now. Gets sweeter as it goes. Okay, it’s been an hour; time to add some water. Water emphasizes the lemon (candied as on the nose) and ties it all together really well with some white pepper and toasted oak.

Finish: Long. The finish is tight as is not unusual with malts of such high strength—at full strength there are flashes of fruit and then brine but mostly it’s the alcohol that makes an impression. Comes alive with water—all that stuff from the palate just keeps going; no new development per se.

Comments: This is quite lovely, though it takes time and water to get there. Easily the best of the few Dallas Dhus I’ve had and least like the others—none of the plastic and very little sign of peat. Wish I’d thought to buy this when it was widely available in the US at a price that would now seem a steal. Ah well.

Rating: 89 points.

Thanks to Jerome for the sample!

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