We’ll commence with the youngest expression from Watt Whisky’s second batch of releases – a 12 year old Dailuaine that’s been matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead. 312 bottles were released at 57.8% ABV and for the reasonably priced ask of £54.95 from The Whisky Exchange.
Nose: Peach yoghurt and cream coffee are joined by robust spicing – clove and pepper. A backbone of earthiness from leaf mulch and damp soils sits alongside a bowl of porridge and focaccia bread drizzled with olive oil. Alcohol prickles throughout. Reduction already feels necessary and offers a much fruitier composition which leads on apples, lemon peels, rolled pastry and chopped almonds.
Taste: The expected weighty spirit character is present and correct – and it brings with it toffee apples, lemon gel, Alpen cereal and a touch of minerality from limestone. Running throughout – charred staves, oven buns and buttered toast – but also an appreciable level of alcoholic hostility. It’s far from underdone at 12 year of age – but there’s an aggressive brutalness never too far away. Reduction here is nothing short of essential in my opinion – and it does offer its rewards. A softer and more juicy combination of peach, green apple and gooseberry together with piped cream, trickle of oil and a scattering of mint leaf.
Finish: Medium with fading toffee sweetness alongside tart cases and golden cereals.
A Jekyll and Hyde dram. With the ABV lowered this Dailuaine offers an agreeable array of fruits and cereals together with the distillate’s trademark ‘thickness’. However, at its natural strength this is far less approachable. Whilst still offering a discernible and interesting array of aromas and flavours, there’s a blunderbuss of booziness to wade through first. Well-priced but have a water jug on hand to get the most from this punchy number.