Review: Dailuaine, SMWS 41.65

Dailuaine SMWS

Dailuaine – SMWS 41.65 “Sweet couscous with Argan oil”

(30yo, distilled 25/9/84, refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 86 bottles, 48.5%)

Following on from my mini-review of the recent official Dailuaine Special Release (spoiler: I really liked it) here’s another well-aged one, from an indie bottler this time. Dailuaine seems to need a bit of age to shine.

Nose: Very lovely, but very non-obvious. Immediate impressions are of waxy wood polish, candles and lots of olive oil – the really good extra virgin stuff that’s grassy, lemony and slightly peppery. Sort of herbal. With time you do start to get some dried fruit and creaminess: an Eccles cake drizzled with some condensed milk, perhaps. (Possibly not my poshest tasting note, that…). A little bit of flambéed banana too maybe?
Taste: Really interesting creaminess without much sweetness. Maybe frozen Greek yogurt, or that Turkish milk dessert with rosewater. More exotic spice notes develop: we’re into milky chai masala with lots of cardamom now. There’s some cashew and almond too. The strength is perfect – don’t add water.
Finish: A spike of sharp fruitiness: lemon, green mango and peach. Then lots more of those spices (but no spiciness, if you see what I mean) – cloves and mace – and some Fry’s Turkish Delight. Refreshing and long-ish finish with some Mini-Milk lollies (again, not posh) and ginger sorbet.

What’s amazing to me is that this is a Dailuaine matured in the same type of cask for a similar length of time, and yet it’s so very different to the Special Release. (In price too – this one is much more reasonable!) There’s a bit of overlap in the spices that you find, but their expression is quite distinct, and there’s none of the SR’s honeyed fruity sweetness.

Amazing thing #2 is that this is a big, complex and old whisky that nevertheless is really quaffable. It’s refreshing and palate-cleansing in the same way that drinks like lassi, doogh or ayran are, and my bottle has been going down abominably quickly. I’ve noticed that I’ve been less generous than usual with sharing this one too, and you can’t get a much more honest assessment than unalloyed greed! Highly, if selfishly, recommended.

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