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Friday, September 9, 2022

Dailuaine 34 year old 1980, Special Release 2015

I'm getting quite fond of Dailuaine, and will once again implore Diageo to add it to The Classic Malts (or the secondary group, The Classic Malt Rejects; I'm looking at you, Cardhu). The Flora & Fauna (the tertiary tier) edition is one of the best of the F&Fs. Meanwhile the distillery cranks out 5 million liters of alcohol annually, and nearly all of it goes into The Big D's blends, especially Johnnie Walker. Every once in a while they pull a whoopsie by releasing an official Dailuaine, like today's 34 year old, which was hatched before the distillery's own maltings were retired, and spent its entire maturation time in refill bourbon casks. It's time to see how it held up against yesterday's excellent 30yo.

Distillery: Dailuaine
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Central)
Series: Special Releases 2015
Age: 34 years (1980 - 2015)
Maturation: refill American oak casks
Outturn: 2952 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 50.9%
(from a bottle split)


Nose - Picture a cheese plate without the cheese. Walnuts, dried apricots, fig jam, maybe a few smoked almonds. Then there's honeycomb, broken stones, pear skins, old boots and dunnage.

Palate - Thick and heavy texture. Citrons, oranges and Assam. Raspberry jam, sage and a hint of bacon. Lemons and dunnage.

Finish - Minerally smoke, lemons and honey, with hints of savoriness and bitterness.

Careful with that water, Kravitz...

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or > ½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Nose - Roses, mango juice and broken stones. Romantic!

Palate - Assam now steeped a little longer, served with a berry tart and toasted almonds.

Finish - Honey, lemons, smoked almonds and earth.


Another beautiful Dailuaine. The lovely match between this and SMWS's 30yo from 1988 turned into one of the best Taste Offs of the year. I'd rather not pick a favorite, but this one sings with or without dilution. Some masterful cask management from Diageo here, as I've seen from many of their elder Special Releases. And as with any gem, please open your bottle and share!

Availability - Still at some European shops
Pricing - still in the three-digit range thanks to exchange rates
Rating - 91