Dailuaine – 34yo 1980, 2015 Special Release
Nose: Beautifully honeyed and floral, with some of that pine needle & ginger biscuit quality you sometimes get in old Caperdonich. A bit of marmalade, crystalised lemon and canned pear. Gorgeous.
Taste: Loads of sweet stem ginger preserve. Soft cinnamon and cloves, with old dried-up honey. Lovely unctuous mouthfeel.
Finish: Briefly spicy, then plenty of barley, orange and (still) honey. Mead and a touch of something Middle Eastern – baklava and rose petals. Long and balanced.
This is a super-expensive bottle, so I was delighted to get a sample to try (thanks to Dave from Bitten magazine!). Horribly enough I think it might actually be worth the hefty price-tag – it’s essentially flawless, and so very delicious.
Benrinnes – 21yo 1992, 2014 Special Release
Nose: Very dirty, even “dank” sherry with little touches of sulphur. Salami and Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut. Some orange. With time it gets more nutty, and some menthol comes out.
Taste: Cocoa and prunes. Dirty and oily. Hazelnuts, oranges, candied lemon and ginger. Lots of chocolate with raspberry.
Finish: Properly long and rolling. Gets fatter and more peppery, with some pleasant oak. Caramel biscuit.
A massive sherry monster. Really does improve hugely with some time to breath – more gingerbread and lemon popping out – a bottle would be nice… For more in-depth research purposes you understand.
Balvenie – 12yo Single Barrel (#3119)
Nose: Very Speyside. Fruity, elegant with little floral touches. Estery apple notes. A bit of grass/hay and coconut.
Taste: Lovely. Very sweet with honey, and a very syrupy mouthfeel. Oranges, guava, peaches.
Finish: Gets more creamy, and vanilla starts to come out (custard!). Some active-cask notes of coconut, pineapple, spice and wood – but not too much.
If the Benrinnes is a sherry bomb then I guess this is something like a bourbon bomb. It is probably just a little bit too sweet for me, but it does vary from batch to batch. I’ll be properly reviewing a more recent bottle (#5862) soon which is more to my taste. Uniformly very high quality though.
Hard to imagine a bigger contrast with the Balvenie, but here we go!
Nose: Vanilla, liquorice and iodine. Lots of smoke, but it’s very maritime: sharp and clean. Clarity is the word. Fresh bandages and the deck of a wooden boat.
Taste: Dry and ashy woodsmoke. Limoncello and liquorice. A bit of Germolene and pineapple.
Finish: First it gets more savoury with smoked bacon crisps, salt and touches of pink peppercorns, then it lingers on for a while with something much more sweetly smoky and syrupy.
Really great. A bit more medicinal and maritime than the Uigeadail, and very crisp with a great development. Will be getting a bottle.