Dailuaine 11, 2011-2022, Bourbon cask AM 162, 52% – Asta Morris

Of late there have been quite some independent releases of Dailuaine from around 2010-2011-ish. They tend to be rather funky but generally quite lovely. Not all of them are great, but when they are being advertised as ‘affordable Clynelish’ and the tasting notes include terms like ‘waxy’ and ‘fruity’ you bet eyes are on the ball.

This one, from Belgian bottler Bert Bruyneel, is indeed affordable. Going for € 78 a pop, excluding shipping, that’s note quite a steal, but it’s not costing an arm and a leg as well.

Dailuaine is one of the work horses of Diageo, with no official bottlings to speak of (of course, there’s the Flora & Fauna release, but that doesn’t really count). Virtually all output from the distillery is destined to be blended into one of Diageo’s many blended whisky brands.

The rumor mill has it that some years ago Dailuaine was designated to reproduce the vastly popular Clynelish whisky profile, due to Clynelish itself being under maintenance. The aim was to get that waxy profile from another distillery to not have a gap in their blended whisky output.

Image from Whiskybase

The story goes that they just could not get the waxiness they were aiming at correctly done, until they stopped cleaning the washback. If this is true, it goes to show that ‘impurities’ might actually be the thing we love most about certain whiskies. The thing that sets them apart.

Anyway, back to this poor man’s Clynelish…

It was advertised as an extremely waxy whisky and, contrary to most advertising, this seems to hold some water. It’s a damn waxy dram indeed! Apple skins and candles, a whiff of honey and dried apple too. Wood and some mossy notes as well.

The palate brings a bit of fiery bite. White pepper, but also some notes of iron and slate. There are apples, and the waxiness begins with apple skins. There are notes of beeswax and candles too. Some hessian and straw.

The finish mellows quickly and leaves a thick coating of fatty candle wax. Apple skins, apple itself as well. Not overly long.

It’s a bit like a Springbank that traded its coastal notes for waxiness on top of being very much like Clynelish. It works rather well. A fruity whisky with a funky waxiness that seems to be the way Dailuaine is going since around 2010. Not all releases work, but this one sure does! Lovely stuff.



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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