At last a 16 year old! Yes, a lovely wee dramy, from deep in the speyside – the Dailuaine 1993 Vintage. A hidden little gem which canna be found. Pronounced “dal-u-ayn”, many visitors to Speyside would be blissfully ignorant of the existence of this gem. A mile off the main Aberlour to Grantown road, the only evidence of its whereabouts are the plume of steam and unmistakable smell of Dark Grains plant.
The location inspired Alfred Barnard to write, “Here the whole glory of the scenery below suddenly burst upon us, and new points of beauty presented themselves…Never was there such a soft, bright landscape of luxuriant green, of clustering foliage, and verdant banks of wild flowers, ferns and grasses.” The undoubted beauty was not the reason the site was chosen good quality water from the Ballieumullich Burn and the local supply of barley are more likely reasons.
Dailuaine (or Dailuainne) distillery was built in 1852 by William Mackenzie. When William passed away in 1865 his widow Jane decided to lease Dailuaine to a banker from Aberlour, James Fleming. In 1879 Jane’s son Thomas formed ‘Mackenzie & Company’ together with James Fleming.
Between 1884 and 1887 Dailuaine was rebuilt and expanded, making it one of the largest distilleries in the Highlands at the time. In 1889 Dailuaine was the very first distillery to be fitted with a ‘pagoda’ type roof designed by Charles Doig. Many distilleries followed suit and these days the pagoda roof has become more or less the ‘traditional’ shape.
A fire in 1917 destroyed part of the distillery, including the historical pagoda roof. Dailuaine was forced to close, but reopened again in 1920. Four decades later, in 1960, the distillery was expanded from four to six stills and the floor maltings were replaced by a so-called ‘Saladin Box’. The Saladin Box (named after its inventor Charles Saladin) is a big, flat device which mechanically turns the germinating barley inside and allows air to pass through it.
Virtually all of Daluaine’s spirit goes to make the Diageo giant brands like Johhny Walker, and only 0.2% of Dailuaine’s output is bottled as a single malt whisky.
The house style is firmly malty, fruity and fragrant. This expression is Earthy with leather and tobacco aromas. Green, floral notes present – geraniums. A toffee sweetness slowly develops. Creamy with malty/cereal flavours. Floral hints with a drying spiciness.