As we said, getting your hands on an official single malt release is almost impossible. But we have been able to taste that recent 16 YO special edition that is still available here and there.
It has a very rish, almost thick mouth feel anda hint of savory smoke - the kind of smoke you taste in barbaque as opposed to the kind you breath in beside a campfire. The 16 YO was obviously finished in a Sherry cask, which adds rancio and sultanas to the profile. But there are plenty of classic Highland fruit-forward notes with a spice cake on the back palate. It is very well balanced and finishes with a smooth, lingering warmth.
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We have often noted that Charles Doig was THE architect of Whisky distilleries in Speyside (and a few others around Scotland).
He is the one responsible for the iconic "Pagoda-style" peaked roof that you see on so many disitlleries from this era. It's both funtional and looks great. Well, Dailuaine was the first distillery to have that Charles Doig design.
There are eight, large warehouses on the grounds. They are made of solid granite and date back to the 1800s -- but they're empty. When Diageo bought the acquired the distillery during one of their mega-mergers, all aging was transferred to their central Whisky aging repository.
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Dailuaine Distillery is located righton the Spey River, in the Central Speyside district, just off route A95 between Aberlour and Knockando. Here there are farms, patches of trees, and Whisky distilleries as far as the eye can see.
William Mackenzie founded Dailuaine in 1852 from scratch. When William passed away thirteen years later in 1965, his widow put a VERY smart business structure in place that ensured the security of the operation.
She knew that her son Thomas was too young to run things himself, and had not yet had a chance to learn anything about the business. So she leased the entire operation to a local banker from Aberlour, named James Fleming.
Fleming was a savvy business man and he formed a joint corporation with Thomas called Mackenzie and Company. The banker ran the books, and Thomas learned the business to carry on the family legacy. Things went very well.
In 1884 they invested their capital again to refurbish and expand, becoming one of the largest production distilleries in the Highlands at the time. They went on to form joint partnerships and agreements for the next twenty years.
In 1915 Thomas Mackenzie passed away and the decision was made to sell. By then, several large Scotch blends were dependent on Dailuaine for substantial portions of their spirit base, so these customers got together and bought the families out.
Those customers were John Dewer & Sons, John Walker & Sons, and James Buchanan & Co. Since then it has changed hands a few more times. It was also expanded again in 1960 to six stills, ensuring its place as one of the larger production house in the region.
They are now a part of Diageo, and a reliable source of malt Whisky for the Diageo portfolio. Dailuaine has three wash and three spirits stills, that generate more than 3.3 million liters of spirit per year. In the world of Whisky, Dailuaine is fairly well respected.
The spirit is in such demand for inclusion in Diageo's premium blends -- mostly Johnnie Walker high end labels -- that almost no single malt is available. But... every once in a while there are some nicely aged casks "found" here and there and the distillery issues an official single malt -- the most recent being a lovely 16 YO.
In addition, there are a few odd releases by the independent bottlers, the more common one being the Flora and Fauna release. In total, from all sources, it is estimated that less than 2% of production finds its way into single malts by any path.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
No. of stills3 wash, 3 spirit
AddressDailuaine Distillery, Carron, Aberlour, Moray AB38 7RE United Kingdom