Dailuaine is one of the older working distilleries in Scotland, having been built in 1852 by William Mackenzie. It remained in the family for 63 years, by then picked up Talisker along the way, the company calling its Dailuaine-Talisker Company Ltd. In 1916, it was bought by a trio of blenders: James Buchanan & Co., John Dewar & Sons, and Johnnie Walker & Sons (of whom you may have heard). The next year a fire forced the distillery to close. It reopened in 1920, and then was bought by DCL (proto-Diageo) in 1925.
Today, Dailuaine is one of Diageo's giant malt-for-blends (especially Johnnie Walker), with its only official releases coming via the Expensive Releases and the Flora and Fauna series. It's a shame (as with most of Diageo's distilleries) that there isn't a regular release showcasing this distillery's good spirit. Indie teenage Dailuaines haven't failed me yet, and there were some high quality ones released by Berry Bros. & Rudd in The States over the past few years.
Range: Flora and Fauna
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: at least 16 years
Maturation: unknown, though there seems to be a sizable ex-sherry cask content
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Caramel Colorant? Probably
Thanks to Tetris for donating his MoM sample to Diving for Pearls!
Its color is a very dark gold, like a bourbon. Very fruity sherry leads off the nose with black grapes, raisins, and grape jam. Some orange oil, pound cake, and a bit of malt roll in next. After 20+ minutes in the glass, it develops an American cheese note and a whiff of sulphur. The palate starts of VERY herbal, like almost hot oregano / marijuana. Bold notes of dark chocolate, anise, and petit sirah push through and take the lead a few minutes later. After 20 minutes, its peppercorns, burlap, and tart fruit candy. It has a decent texture to it, considering the DiageoTreatment™ it has received. The finish picks up some more sweetness. It remains herbal and grassy (as in lawn-y, not weed-y) with a good bitterness. Hints of grapefruits, roses, and peppercorns here and there.
Well, that was a nice surprise. Usually the F&F series serves as only a bittersweet reminder of what could be, though doing so with whiskies that are only just above mediocre in quality. But this Dailuaine is actually bitter and sweet and very good, which sort of makes its existence even more more bittersweet than usual. Its sherry character brightens it up while still letting a slightly crazy spirit show through, ultimately landing a solid finish. I believe that if they put this out as is (watered down, colored, and filtered of course), without a sexy perfume bottle, as another member of the Classic Malts, then this would be a big hit at $70 (the F&F's price w/o VAT). But I'm assuming we'd get an NAS rejuvenated oak cask Dailuaine long before that. Until then, sherried whisky fans have the Flora & Fauna 16yo.
Availability - Europe only
Pricing - $65-$80 (w/o VAT)
Rating - 86