From a week of reviews of heavily peated whiskies from the highlands let’s go to a week of milder fare from the Speyside. The last lot of Speysides I reviewed at the end of December were all fairly old—two 28 yo Glenfarclas (here and here) and a 33 yo Longmorn (here). We’ll start this week with a much younger whisky from a far less storied distillery: Dailuaine. This is from a sherry butt that was also part of K&L’s 2021 cask selections. I am now almost at the end of my reviews of that large batch; it would be good to get them done before the 2022 casks show up.
Dailuaine 10, 2010 (59.4%; Sovereign for K&L; sherry butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: A nice mix of sweet malt, light caramel and fruit (orange, apricot). Somewhat waxy on the second sniff with some honey in the mix too now. The citrus gets a little brighter as it goes and some cream emerges. The fruit gets richer as it sits and mixes nicely with the malt and the wax. With a lot more time it gets quite sweet. A few drops of water and the lemon wakes back up and picks up a biscuity note.
Palate: More citrus than malt here to start, with a fair bit of lemon zest and some prickly oak as I swallow. Lovely, rich mouthfeel and it’s very approachable at full strength. Not a whole lot of change at first but over time it becomes sweeter here as well (simple syrup) with a slight metallic note coming through; the lemon is still here though and waxier. A little grassier maybe. Okay, let’s add water. Hmm…water breaks the balance and pulls out some raw oak.
Finish: Long. The zest and the oak hang out for a while. With time the wax comes through in the finish as well; mildly bitter now. As on the palate with water, with astringent oak the top note now.
Comments: This was a pleasant surprise. Surprise, not because I was expecting it to be poor but because I rarely have any expectations of Dailuaine. It turns out to be a fairly mature for its years 10 yo with a very good balance of malt, fruit and oak. No complexity as such but a very pleasant daily drinker without any flaws. A pity I didn’t taste it before we went to Los Angeles as I might have picked up a bottle. $55 is a very good price for this and it seems to still be available (though not in the Hollywood store). If you get one or have an unopened bottle I’d advise caution with water.
Rating: 86 points.