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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 21, 2014


A wee verticale of Dailuaine

We’ll try to glide from the 2000s back to much earlier vintages. Oh and a little anecdote, Dailuaine was the first Distillery to be fitted with a ‘Doig’ pagoda – but enough wikipediaing, let’s try a few.

Dailuaine 7 yo 2005/2013 (41.5%, Douglas Laing, Single Minded, sherry butt)

Dailuaine 7 yo 2005/2013 (41.5%, Douglas Laing, Single Minded, sherry butt) Three stars From two casks. We’re seeing more and more baby whiskies these days, not too sure what to think. Colour: straw. Nose: I’m afraid this is pleasant ;-). You’re really nosing warm croissants and perhaps brioche straight from the oven, it seems that the casks were good enough to offset this baby’s obvious immaturity. Now, there is some porridge as well, muesli, dough, leaven… There’s a flinty side as well but no traces of s******r. Mouth: sure it’s light, but it’s certainly not feeble. Good maltiness, raisins, more croissants, pastries, caramel… All this works well and would convince many a blend drinker. Finish: it’s not even short, even if there’s a feeling of thinness. Malty and chocolaty. Comments: fine and not too young. The casks were good in my opinion. Only the low natural-looking strength is a tad too… low. SGP:441 - 80 points.

And now probably just the opposite…

Dailuaine 13 yo 2000/2013 (61.3%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, bourbon, cask #82)

Dailuaine 13 yo 2000/2013 (61.3%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, bourbon, cask #82) Four stars Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: James MacArthur like fully spirit-driven whiskies, and this baby’s a good example. No traces of oak, no vanilla either, only a combination of all things mineral (gravel, sand, flints) with tons of cut grass and a little sulphur. We’re not talking burnt sulphur or H2S, this is ‘good’ sulphur. With water: perfect barley and farmyard. After a heavy shower! Mouth (neat): a massive creaminess and litres of barley syrup, maple syrup and acacia honey, with touches of lemon in the background that keep it zesty. It’s simple, but it’s great. Even the high strength doesn’t make it any less drinkable. With water: it’s liquid honey. Or barley liqueur. Finish: plain barley liqueur indeed. Comments: I enjoy it when the barley kept control, especially when the whisky’s not beery at all. Pure barley liqueur indeed. SGP:531 - 85 points.

Dailuaine 21 yo 1992/2013 (53.3%, The Whisky Mercenary)

Dailuaine 21 yo 1992/2013 (53.3%, The Whisky Mercenary) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: this time it’s the moss, the fern, the ‘clean’ humus and the leaves that speak first, then touches of varnish (cellulosic), and then a lot of cider. Both apple and pear ciders, actually. I do not get anything flinty this time. After thirty seconds, we’re having more bubblegum, pear juice, jellybeans and tinned pineapple. With water: tends to become akin to the 2000, with a lot of sweet barley and the liqueurs and syrups that could be made thereof. Mouth (neat): liquefied jellybeans. Glen Haribo, anyone? Very creamy mouthfeel. Behind all this, almonds, grated coconut and marzipan. Very spectacular. With water: same, only smoother. An obvious feeling of acacia honey. Finish: medium length. Always on sweet barley, with touches of coconut oil. Comments: just excellent. Pure barleyish extravaganza. SGP:641 - 87 points.

I think all is going well, let’s jump into the 1970s…

Dailuaine 1974/2005 (46%, Berry Brothers Own Selection, cask #B111/2)

Dailuaine 1974/2005 (46%, Berry Brothers Own Selection, cask #B111/2) Four stars Colour: light gold. Nose: a sulphury touch at first nosing, but it’s a mineral kind of sulphur again, then a long development on fresh almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts. Obvious marzipan, then apple compote and drops of sunflower oil. It’s not that common to come across this kind of nutty profile! In the middle distance, rather overripe apples and quite some mint flavoured tea. Unusual indeed. Mouth: soft and complex. Touches of linseed and olive oils in the arrival, then rather lemons and citrons mixed with apple compote and walnut wine. Good body. After a few minutes, more lemon zests and, once again, this barleyish sugariness. This is much to my liking again. Finish: of medium length. Apple compote with some cinnamon and a dash of white pepper. Even more cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: this baby hasn’t got the 1992’s instant kick and pleasure, and it’s maybe a little more ‘in the middle of nowhere’, but quality remains very high. SGP:551 - 85 points.

And now, the early 1960s! But this will be the last one… We haven’t got any earlier Dailuaine anyway. Bah…

Dailuaine 1962/2000 (52.2%, James MacArthur, Millennium, sherry)

Dailuaine 1962/2000 (52.2%, James MacArthur, Millennium, sherry) Five stars I’ve just checked, this is actually the oldest Dailuaine I’ve ever tasted. Champagne! I mean, whisky! Samaroli had a 1962 but I’ve never tried it. There, a new goal! Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts with quite some antiseptic and bandages, as well as this very complex kind of mineral side that’s only to be found in some old whiskies. Not easy to describe, say wet limestone, old coal stove, fresh concrete… It could be that this is brilliant whisky. After a few minutes, cigars do arrive, old garage and old tools, touches of chicken bouillon, some grease, shoe polish… All that is very complex and absolutely wonderful. With water: wonderful! There’s now some aniseed, dill, fennel, sea water, fresh parsley… Mouth (neat): perfection made whisky. Punchy, creamy, fruity, phenolic/mineral (the dimension that so many new whiskies are lacking), with some mint, cough syrup, a camphory side, almond oil, some olive oil as well, then lemons that make it lighter and more lively, some marzipan, even bits of black truffle… What a maelstrom! With water: please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. Finish: just utterly and totally perfect. Even this baby’s inherent austerity is perfect. How I like this kind of unpushiness in whisky! Comments: not much to add. The humble James MacArthur company have issued some of the most legendary whiskies out there, and they keep doing the most honest of jobs with their whiskies. To your santé, Arthur! SGP:553 - 93 points.

(With mercis to Konstantin, Phil and Simon)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Dailuaine I've tasted so far







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