Thanks to /u/xreekinghavocx for pouring me this sample.
I’ve written about Dailuaine twice before, as I’ve only had two whiskies from them before today. So far I’m seeing why they are used in blends, and why Diageo keeps them around.
Don’t take that as a put down, either. Not every cog in the machine is the main one, and we wouldn’t have half the interesting blends of whisky without some of these whiskies. That and look at Brora or Port Ellen: Two distilleries that were used for blends that, once they were closed down, were finally given the long period of time they needed and the cask strength to come out.
So while the Dailuaine I have today may not be Port Ellen, it does give me hints of if it could be the next Port Ellen. That brings us to Dailuaine SMWS 41.81 “Unravel the mystery”. This young first fill ex-bourbon Speyside tells us nothing about itself. Have I tasted a mystery before? Was it because I was eating in the dark? Is there an obvious “who’s in my mouth” joke there?
Questions that we need answers to. So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Date Distilled: 11.05.2004
Cask Type: First Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel
Colour: 7.5Y 9/8
Nose: Peach blossom, coal, white chocolate, strawberry jam, cloves
Floral and peach at first. Some earth immediately. It’s like some teen’s art project where they burn flowers and cry on camera. Or was I the only person who hung out with goths in high school?
Water brings out more strawberry richness and cloves. Really interesting nose going on, lots of unique aspects.
Taste: Hot sauce, peach pie, butter, basil
Wow, that changed fast. Here I was ready for a sweeter, peach/floral dram, and then we get immediate heat and vinegar. And it takes time to get past the alcohol heat too.
Note I let this sit out my typical 15 minutes, so this wasn’t an issue of it not having time to air out. It takes quite awhile and some water just to get past the heat to lovely peach and butter. However it’s already too late by that point.
Finish: Coal, cocoa, green apple candy, straw, lemongrass
Finish is earth and sweet. Water brings out cereal which adds a nice dimension, and then takes over, like lawns in North America. Or trees in M. Night Shamylam’s worst movie.
Conclusion: Too hot. I found myself pushing to really enjoy this more than it was. The heat, the rough taste, and the unbalanced finish take what should be a no-brainer and brains itself on the street.
I love the nose here. I get the feeling that they were hoping that the bottle might mellow it all out. Or maybe people who love the nose no matter what would look past the rough taste. Or maybe the finish being interesting would save it. Whatever the case, it’s a nice dram, but still needs work to really get there.
Scotch review #983, Speyside review #270, Whisky Network review #1539