This will be a week of reviews from unheralded Speyside distilleries; it will also, as it happens, be a week of reviews of whiskies bottled by Signatory. Let’s begin with a 13 yo from what is probably the best-known of the trio: Dailuaine (the other two are Inchgower and Strathmill). This was bottled for Specs in Texas. There’s not too much information about it online. Specs’ listing (it is still available) gives no detail. Whiskybase indicates that it’s been put together from several hogsheads for a total outturn of 1152 bottles (no wonder it’s still available). There’s only one rating on Whiskybase with an accompanying review. The review actually makes the whisky seem quite intriguing to me but the rating is pretty low. I’m curious to see what I make of it—for what it’s worth, I’ve liked all the Dailuaines I’ve reviewed; of course, that’s no guarantee. Anyway, as this whisky is still available, my review is not actually untimely, even though it comes more than two years after it was bottled. There is no need to thank me.
Dailuaine 13, 2007 (57.8%; Signatory for Specs; bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: A burst of lime as I pour and then there are sweeter notes of cereals and apples (more tart-sweet than sweet per se). On the third sniff there’s a floral note too. The fruit expands as it sits, with peach and pineapple joining the fray. With a bit more time there’s some vanilla—think pound cake with sweet frosting. The fruit gets quite musky as it sits with some overripe plums in the mix as well. With water the citrus is emphasized; a bit of chalk to go with it as well and then they merge and move in the direction of citronella.
Palate: Comes in sweeter than on the nose (though the lime is still here) and with oak framing the fruit. Hot but approachable at full strength; decent texture. Fruitier over the next few sips and then the oak begins to dominate a bit and it gets a little bitter (partly oak, partly vegetal). Let’s see what water does for it. A few drops push the oak and bitterness back and bring out more of the lime. Some pepper too now.
Finish: Long. The oak and the fruit go out together. Develops as on the palate with time and water at first; later it gets quite sweet.
Comments: Well, I liked it quite a bit more than the Whiskybase reviewer, even though we found fairly similar things in it. A touch too much bitter oak in it on the palate and finish when taken neat, but water fixes that. I liked the nose a lot from the get-go.
Rating: 85 points