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). Continue reading
No, I don’t know what’s going on in the background of this photograph either.
Here’s another whisky from a relatively obscure and unloved distillery: Dailuaine. It is located in the Speyside and is owned by (who else?) Diageo. It is one of Diageo’s workhorse distilleries, producing almost entirely for blends. As far as I know, it has only seen regular official single malt release in the Flora & Fauna series. There have been a few one-offs: for example, a Manager’s Dram release, a Rare Malts release, and then in 2015, out of the blue, a 34 yo version was included in Diageo’s Special Release slate. There haven’t been so very many indie releases either. The redoubtable Serge V. has only reviewed 52 Dailuaines. (I say “only” because he probably reviewed 52 rums this past weekend alone—I haven’t checked.) Continue reading
This is the oldest of the few Dailuaines I’ve had (only a few more than I’ve reviewed), being two years older than the Archives bottling I took quick notes on two and a half years ago (which was distilled a year before this one and also aged in a bourbon cask). The SMWS gives all their malts whimsical names and they dubbed this 30 yo, “Bitter-Sweet with a Dash of Fun”. Well, that’s also how I describe myself so this should be a perfect match. Will it also be one of those SMWS bottlings that makes me think I should become a member or will it be one of all too many that leave me unconvinced?
(As with the other SMWSA bottles I’ve reviewed in recent months, this came from a bottle split with a number of other whisky geeks. I’ve been doing a lot of bottle splits in the last year or so and I really recommend them as a way to taste a lot with minimized risk while also keeping the size of your collection in control.) Continue reading
Another Dailuaine, this time from the very well-regarded Italian bottler, Silver Seal. Silver Seal’s bottlings are available in Europe–their bottles are shapely and their labels beautiful (especially on their older bottles); their prices, unfortunately, are very high and have gone up dramatically in the last year. This, I believe, is due to increased taxes in Italy. Still, while expensive they’re not Samaroli expensive. Then again, this is a 12 yo from a third or fourth tier distillery and the list price is €125…. Thanks to Whiskybase’s excellent samples program, however, I was able to get two 20 ml bottles which is enough for a review.
Dailuaine 12, 2000 (56.2%; Silver Seal, sherry cask 9201; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Light sherry at first with lots of fruit (apricot, plum). The sherry notes get stronger quickly: a lot more brown sugar, some raisins and increasing salt. Some citrus too and some wood, by turns polished and dusty. Gets drier and more leathery with time and the apricot/plum notes get deeper and more jammy. Quite nice, I have to say, and seems more mature than its age. A few drops of water integrate all the fruit and wood quite nicely and bring out some spicy notes. Continue reading
Tonight a quick look at two early releases from the Archives series of bottlings by Menno and CJ of Whiskybase. Their selections are always solid at a minimum and always fairly priced. The samples I am checking out tonight are of bottles from two Speyside distilleries that are not known for sending anyone’s pulse racing. The worst that can be said about Dailuaine is that it is one of Diageo’s workhorses–it rarely garners plaudits or brick-bats (I quite like the lone official release I’ve tried from Diageo’s Flora & Fauna range). Strathmill, on the other hand, is actively despised by many; but then so is Old Rhosdhu and I quite liked the one I tried a few nights ago. Let’s see if the signs from these samples are promising.