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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Single Malt Report: Dailuaine 16 year old 1997 Signatory for K&L Wine Merchants

This site has a sad lack of Dailuaine reviews, something I need to remedy next year.  I like Dailuaine.  It doesn't put out one of the Great malts, nor often the Very Good malts, but it's pretty reliable and I like to site it as an example of a whisky with a positive floral element.  The nose is so often full of fresh flower blossoms, that I can almost pick a Dailuaine out at a blind tasting.  But I'll need to try twenty more just to be sure.

Like Royal Lochnagar, the Dailuaine distillery is owned by Diageo and used primarily for blends.  After its expansion in 2012, it produces almost 12 times the alcohol that Lochnagar does, much of that also goes into Johnnie Walker.  There are some old Flora & Fauna bottlings floating around out there and also a super-expensive 34yo "Special Release" coming out this year.  Today's Dailuaine is a single cask from the very reliable indie bottler Signatory, and was released exclusively through the American retailer K&L Wine Merchants.

Distillery: Dailuaine
Ownership: Diageo
Independent BottlerSignatory
Retailer: K&L only
Age: 17 years (May 21, 1997 - April 28, 2014)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask #s: 7195
Bottles: 224
Region: Speyside
Alcohol by Volume: 54.6%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
Thanks to Florin for the sample!

Its color is amber.  The nose begins with orange blossoms and lychee.  Then there's caramel, barley, putty, and a slight papery note.  There's also some fruit, from peach nectar to something reminiscent of Power's whiskies (pears and melons).  After 30 minutes in the glass, the whisky's fruit notes get funkier and overripe.  More vanilla and caramel too.  The orange blossoms become oranges.  The malty palate is quite sweet.  Toffee, tangerines, and tropical fruit cocktail juice.  A little bit of cocoa and plenty of heat.  Man, it gets even fruitier and sugarier with time.  More tangerines than tropical fruits in the extensive finish.  Peach candy, a little bit of caramel.  Some malt and a peppery zing.  It also gets fruitier and sugarier with time.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose gets very malty.  The fruit element recedes.  The orange blossoms return.  Some baking spice like a bright old rye (cinnamon, sugar, and butter?).  Toffee and tobacco in the palate.  Very malty again.  Whipped cream.  Toasty French oak-like notes.  The mild finish is sweet and creamy.  Reminiscent of Compass Box Spice Tree.

Super fruity.  On the sweeter side as well.  I will agree with David O-G of K&L that this is light on oak and can take water well.  Much easier to recommend than yesterday's Royal Lochnagar, this Dailuaine is a solid whisky if it fits your palate, and if you picked it up when they dropped the price to $59.99 you certainly caught a good deal.

Availability - Sold out  :^(
Pricing - $60-$70
Rating - 84


  1. Yes, I liked this very much myself, after a slow start. By the time I was done with it I wanted more but it had sold out. I was also shocked to discover that the K&L notes were right on for once - good for you, DOG!

    Here were my comments:

    "Very nice bottle! The flavors were closed for the top 1/3 of the bottle. But when they opened up there was a beautifully balanced interplay of fruity & sour/bitter notes (lemon). 3.5* (85)"

    1. At $60 this was a legitimately good deal. And that clearly was what sold the thing out. They must have had trouble selling it because of its unfamiliar name. That's my best guess. Otherwise Dailuaine + Signatory = low risk.