A Firkin fabulous 10 year old Speyside dram that is Firkin’s very first Dailuaine release ever – the Firkin 49 Dailuaine 2012!
What a Firkin fabulous way to get 2023 underway than a 10 year old dram from a legend in the whisky business – Mike Colling’s Firkin brand. This is the Firkin Whisky Co’s first Dailuaine release and Mike was eager for the SMWC to premier it to the world! We are pretty proud to have been chosen by this whisky legend to premier a new dram from this master whisky-man!
Now, we are no strangers to the Firkin Whisky Co. here at the SMWC. Headed by whisky industry legend Mike Collings, Firkin Whisky is an independent bottler of fine whiskies – with a difference. Firkin Whisky Co. age all their whiskies in their own custom-made hybrid casks. Alternating first fill bourbon and new French oak staves make up the barrels. The casks for the Firkin 49 series are then seasoned for 6 months with a mix of Oloroso and Amontillado before being filled to age with the chosen whisky.
This months Firkin 49 Dailuaine 2012 is a classic Speyside whisky distilled in 2012. Its long fermentation and short distillation cuts produce a surprisingly heavier, richer and almost meaty style of whisky. This intriguing depth in a Speyside whisky makes it a speciality in this region.
A brand new shiny whisky year for 2023 is ready for our members. Another year ahead full of wonderful whiskies, delicious drams and sensational sippers!
Nose: Very fresh and herbal on the nose. Newly cut grass, fresh orange juice and flowering jasmine. There is also sweet element that I’m having trouble putting my finger on – toffee, perhaps?
Palate: Absolutely magnificently balanced spirit – wonderful oaky notes drizzled over milk arrowroot bikkies, light fruitiness and just a hint of biscuit spices. Round, rich and sweet (but not overly) with a lovely crispness to it as well.
Finish: Long and satisfying with a real peanut-butter edge there. Granny Smith apple juice pops in and out as the mild pepper notes swirl around the subtle fruity tones.
The Firkin 49 Dailuaine 2012 is truly easy-dramming whisky. Light on the palate, yet full and round and fruity. Big on the palate but in no way overwhelming or hot – just perfect, in fact. This latest offering from Mike and his Firkin Whisky brand is very possibly the best Firkin I’ve tasted. And that’s no mean feat let me tell ya!
“That’ll do Mr Collings…. that’ll Firkin do!”
This one’s a real belter under the Firkin 49 banner. We thought the previous Tullibardine was pretty good but this is simply Firkin brilliant.
This release has been matured in hand made custom casks using Bourbon first fill and new French oak staves. The cask is then soaked for 6 months in a unique combination of Oloroso & Amontillado sherries. This takes this Dailuaine special release to a whole new level. As Mike describes it … simply Firkin exceptional!
Mike’s Tasting Notes:
“A new star is born. Perfection can be improved upon as the Firkin49 has gone from good to great with Dailuaine. This really is something else, the oak and malt in combination are simply divine and shine through like sunshine on a heather gorse speckled mountainside. Soft, rich and herby on the palate, it finishes with a melting moment of light dried fruits and subtle nuanced nuttiness”
For those unaware, Mike Collings is a giant in the whisky industry. During his time with Diageo (world largest spirits business) he was the mind behind the famous Johnny Walker Blue plus a plethora of whiskies that are almost ubiquitous in any bottle shop around the world. In other words, Mike has been crafting ‘household name’ whiskies for the worlds largest brands for over 50 years.
Mike Collings could have retired with an incredible track record in whisky. He had created Johnnie Walker Blue & Green Labels, The Classic Malts, Rare Malts, Distillers Edition, Flora & Fauna series, Cardhu and Royal Lochnagar. That’s pretty Firkin good as far as CVs go.
Mike’s been working in whisky for 40 years. You couldn’t blame him for packing it in and putting his feet up. That would have been the sensible thing to do. But Mike is many things. Sensible isn’t one of them. Mike stirs the pot. He thinks about things differently and always asks: ‘what if …’?
So, he found himself enjoying a few drams in a Tokyo bar thinking: what if I created a whisky that was unique on the single cask single malt market?
So he did. And it’s Firkin awesome whisky.
Founded in 1851 by William McKenzie, Dailuaine is a distillery in Charlestown-of-Aberlour, Strathspey in the Speyside region, between the foot of Ben Rinnes and the River Spey. Its name comes from the Gaelic ‘dail uaine’, which means ‘green valley’, a name that perfectly describes the lush surroundings.
It rose to prominence in the late 19th Century thanks to an expansion and renovation in 1884, followed by a merger with Talisker that helped it to become the largest single malt distillery in Speyside.
Part of the renovation in that time included the installation of a pagoda on a kiln for the first time in Scotland, a design by Charles Doig that quickly became a common sight around Scotland. However, the original trailblazing roof was lost in a major fire in 1917 that destroyed the distillery. Dailuaine was rebuilt, reopening in 1920 only for another fire in 1959 to cause further serious damage and another temporary closure.
When it reopened in 1960, it had expanded from four to six stills, with malt produced on-site until the malting was closed for good in 1983. The water used at Dailuaine is sourced from the Bailliemullich Burn that runs alongside the distillery with the malt now being outsourced while the New Make Spirit is matured in ex-Bourbon casks at an off-site warehouse.
Today the distillery is owned by Diageo and mostly produces malt spirit for blending in Johnnie Walker. Only around 2% of its 3.3m litres a year production is sold as single malts through the Flora and Fauna range or through Gordon & MacPhail and other independent bottlers. However, it has never yet featured as part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range.
The spirits produced at Dailuaine usually have a rich and sweet flavour profile due to the long fermentation process, rapid distillation and use of stainless steel in the condensers and while its main role is for blends, the 16/17 year-old single malts are usually very sought-after when they go on sale.