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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Dailuaine 30 year old 1988 SMWS 41.118

Staying with Dailuaine, staying with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, but jumping back to 1988 with this 30 year old whisky. This will be the oldest Dailuaine I've reviewed up to this point, and it has a very drinkable ABV, but its maturation could be problematic depending on that second cask...

Distillery: Dailuaine
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Central)
Independent Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Series: The Vaults Collection
Age: 30 years (28 Sept 1988 - 2019)
Maturation: 27 years in a bourbon hoggie, then three years in a first-fill PX hoggie
Cask#: 41.118
Outturn: 244 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 49.2%
(from a bottle split)


The perky nose is loaded with fruit candies of the apple, strawberry and watermelon sort. Dried pineapple too. Some ginger powder, baked pears, saline. Shortbread with toffee chips. The palate starts with dates, incense and a whiff of pipe tobacco. Toasted marshmallow, graham crackers, sweet oranges and pineapple juice fill the middle. Chalk and lemongrass dot the background. It catches a second wind after 45 minutes as it gains stewed berries, tart lemons and more tobacco. A basket of fruits in the finish! Pineapples, kiwis and lemons, with a pinch of horseradish bitterness.

With reluctance, I add a little water:

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

Baked apple and honey arrive first in the nose, followed by dates, shortbread, pineapple and toasted oak. The palate is still fruity and floral after all this time, especially on the citrus side. Tobacco and tea tannin provide some angles. Fewer zesty fruits in the finish, more baking spice and dates.


I adore this whisky. The secondary maturation added some character, but didn't drive the whisky away from its ultra fruity spirit. Any more time in either cask would probably have been too much, so kudos to whomever at SMWS was in charge of the cask management here. Adding water didn't break the whisky, but I preferred it at its reasonable full strength, where the palate offers multiple levels of development, and the damned thing smells gorgeous. If only it had a proper Dailuaine sparring partner......

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - was £305 upon release in 2019
Rating - 91