Dailuaine distillery has undergone a number of changes during its 164-year life. Twice there were extensive refurbishments due to fires, in 1917 and 1959. It was given a facelift in 1884 to modernize its equipment and processes. They ditched direct firing in 1970. In 1959, the distillery's floor maltings were abandoned for a Saladin box. In 1983 they gave up on on-site malting altogether, now utilizing malted barley from Burghead Maltings (also owned by Diageo) in Elgin.
Today's whisky is one that was distilled in February of 1983, so either it was the last of the on-site maltings or amongst the earliest of the off-site maltings. The fact I have a sample that coincides with that moment of change for the distillery is happenstance. I only bought the same because I like the Archives bottlings, and it was cheap for its age.
Independent Bottler: Archives
Range: First Release
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: 28 years old (February 23, 1983 - January 4, 2012)
Alcohol by Volume: 47.3%
Caramel Colorant? No
Sample purchased from Whiskybase Shop
Its color is light yellow gold, quite pale for its age. The nose is floral (specifically roses) with saltines crackers and yeast. All the notes that follow are far in the background: almond cookies, tablet, blackberry jam, tangerine, and bread pudding. After 30 minutes, there are strong whiffs of feral cat must and sourdough bread. Lots of vanilla, cassia cinnamon, and tangy limes in the palate. A mild chili oil note. Barley and clay. It gets tangy with time, but also picks up a note of chalky indigestion chewables. The chili oil note switches over to lots of cracked black pepper in the finish. Dried apricots. Tangy citrus. Bitter chalk.
This felt very VERY young throughout, which is kinda weird for a 28 year old whisky. Luckily, I'm not the only one who found it 'raw' and 'spirity'. Another reviewer found it "slightly strange stuff". Usually I'm infatuated with strange whisky, but not this time. The palate and finish are curious, but not what I'd call pleasant. The quirky nose is quite a trip though and keeps this out of the 70s score range. It's also anything but boring, so that works in its favor. If you take MAO seriously, and you probably should, he liked it more than I. But I'd recommend the 16yo Flora & Fauna over this whisky by some measure.
Availability - Sold out
Pricing - €70 w/o VAT (Oh, those days.)
Rating - 80