Dailuaine 15 Year Signatory 1997/2012: 46% abv
Background: Dailuaine (pronounced dale-you-an) is a distillery in Scotland which you may not have heard of, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t big. In fact, Dailuaine has quite a history and background. Dailuaine was founded by a gentleman by the Name of William Mackenzie in 1852, but as of 1865, he died, leaving his wife widowed. His wife leased the distillery to the man by the name of James Fleming, who wasn’t a nobody. James Fleming is actually the founder of Aberlour Distillery. Dailuaine was the first distillery to adopt a pagoda style building for the malt house, and in 1884 had the largest production capacity of any distillery in Scotland. Fast forward, and now Dailuaine has 6 stills, and has around 3.3 million liters of capacity per year. Dailuaine is a Speyside whisky, and is currently owned by Diageo. This means much of their production will go into blends. That being said, independent bottlers like Signatory with snatch up the opportunity at buying a barrel of this whisky should it fit the bill. And this one does. This is part of Signatory’s Non-Chill Filtered collection, and comes in at 46%, with natural colorant. This is the advantage of buying a craft presentation independent bottling. This one is even more special because it was bottled exclusively for Tiffany’s Wine and Spirit Shoppe in Kalamazoo, MI. We here at KCM live in Kalamazoo, so we knew we had to try it. And boy were we NOT disappointed.
Nose: Fresh grain, wheat and malt, slightly grassy, subtle smoke and peat, sweet honey, sweet melon, crisp mild spice, clove, mild vanilla, light, refreshing
A/W: Grain forward, citrus, apple
Arrival: Spicy, smooth, creamy, vanilla, mild tobacco, fruit
A/W: mellowed out, vanilla, malt, grainy
Body: Hot spice, bittersweet, honey, melon
A/W: vanilla, big fruit, apple, custard
Finish: Orange citrus, smoke, light peat, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, kiwi, hot mouthfeel
A/W: Slightly nutty, big orange flavor, still spicy, slight mint freshness, mild seaweed saltiness, earthy, medium length
Final Comments: This is a great expression of a Speyside malt, with a wide variety of flavors but a fruity, light body and a nice spiciness to it. It isn’t as intense as you might find in a Clynelish, but the mild peat flavor to it adds an interesting sort of “zest” to the finish, comparable to a Highland Park 12, but not as defined (and without the sherry influence). It is well balanced and complex, but doesn’t delve outside of what you’d expect from the Speyside character. At 46%, it also takes on water pretty well, and you should not be afraid to experiment with this.
Why you’d buy it: You enjoy a fruity, somewhat spicy malt and want to delve outside of the world of Glenlivet, or you just want to experience slight peat without feeling like you are chewing on burnt wood. Also you love Tiffany’s.
Why you wouldn’t: You are scared of change, or you made a New Year’s resolution to not drink good whisky.