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. Continue reading →
Continuing with K&L’s teaspooned casks from 2020 (see here for last week’s review of a 27 yo teaspooned Linkwood), here is a 22 yo Dailuaine. I think after this review I will have only two left from last year’s parcel—an older Aberlour and a younger Linkwood. Dailuaine, like Linkwood, is a distillery with no real identity of its own. It produces a mild classic Speyside spirit that goes into Diageo’s blends. Which is not to say, of course, that single casks of Dailuaine cannot be very good or even excellent—every distillery is more than capable of producing great casks of whisky (it’s just a matter of whether they ever see the light of day in single malt form). It is to say, however, that no one really goes to a bottle of Dailuaine looking for something very individual or idiosyncratic. But good whisky is good whisky even if it doesn’t set the pulse racing. That said, not all of K&L’s older teaspooned casks from 2020 have proved to be very good whisky. Let’s hope this 22 yo is closer to their Ledaig 23 than to their Glenfiddich 23. Continue reading →
On Friday I had a review of a 9 yo Dailuaine from a sherry butt, bottled by the SMWS. Today I have another sherried Dailuaine. A bit older at 12 years of age, this one was bottled by Douglas Laing in their Old Particular series for K&L. This is one of the very last reviews I have left outstanding from my bottle splits of K&L’s 2019 exclusives. I’m hoping it will turn out to be one of the better ones. I’ve liked some of the others but the most recent one I reviewed—the Bunnahabhain 30—left me a little cold. Hopefully this and the Glenburgie 21—which is the only other one I haven’t gotten to yet—will take this series to a solid conclusion.
Dailuaine 12, 2007 (57.6%; Old Particular for K&L; sherry butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: Quite similar to the SMWS 9 yo off the top; a siimilar mix of orange peel, raisins, metallic notes—a bit more malt here. As with the SMWS, theres salt here too as it sits; the malt expands too. Not much change at first with a few drops of water: salt is still the top note. As it sits again it gets a little richer with toffee and just a hint of tobacco. Continue reading →
I’ve only reviewed five Dailuaines in seven years. Let’s up the count a bit this month. Here is the first of two young Dailuaines. This was bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and given the whimsical name of “Wankers Running Out of Ideas”. Actually, I’m told they named it “Sherry, Sherry Baby!”. Same thing. It’s from a first-fill oloroso butt, which may be bad news. Let’s see.
Dailuaine 9, 2006 (58.7%; SMWS 41.83; first-fill oloroso butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: Orange peel, raisins, dried leaves, copper. On the second sniff there’s a bit of cocoa and a hint of wood smoke; some salt too. A few drops of water and it turns quite salty and dry—almost fino-like.
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose plus a big whack of roasted malt. Very approachable at full strength. Salt here too on the second sip, plus some oak (no tannic grip though) and some red fruit. Not much change with time; let’s see what water does. As on the nose, it’s much drier and more acidic with a few drops of water, and the oak is pushed back. Continue reading →
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.