Previously on “Everybody Hates Drinkhacker”: we reviewed an 11-year old Dailuaine from independent bottler WM Cadenhead. It was pleasant and serviceable enough to rate as a “B” on our grading scale, a respectable enough showing. However, reader Kevin took umbrage with my verdict and after a very pleasant exchange, offered to send me a sample of another expression from years past to confirm my assessment of Dailuaine was erroneous.
One review on an independent bottling does not serve as an ambassador to an entire brand. However, far be it from me to turn down a courtesy pour, so I was only too happy to receive this sample a few weeks ago. Thoughts follow.
Fans of Speyside will find loads to love here, with a nose full of bright lemon zest jumping out and light notes of vanilla and florals mellowing out with a bit of rest. However, the palate tells another story: big and burly, it comes in hotter than advertised on the initial approach, with loads of butterscotch and caramel assisting in the transition from light and clean to rich and savory. The finish is quite lengthy, filtering vanilla and caramel through cereal malt; neither sweet nor savory really take control.
To Kevin’s credit, there is complexity and interplay here absent in the 11-year old expression: He is 100% correct, and this is a welcome improvement. However, while Dailuaine is still the type of malt which is generally pleasant, well-made, and free of general vexation, it still doesn’t ascend to heights reached by other malts from the region, especially at this suggested price point.
B+ / $129 / cadenhead.scot
*Special thank you to new pal Kevin for the conversation and dram!