Dailuaine is one of the numerous Diageo distilleries located in Speyside. In 1852, William Mackenzie founded Dailuaine, but died only 13 years later. His widow leased the distillery to a banker from Aberlour, James Fleming. After Mackenzie’s son and Fleming founded Mackenzie and Company in 1879, it evolved in 1891 into Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distillery Ltd. A few years later in 1989, Dailuaine merged with Talisker and formed Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd (nice couple isn’t it?). Unfortunately, in 1915 Thomas Mackenzie dies without heir and the next year, Dailuaine-Talisker is bought by its previous customers John Dewars & Sons, John Walker & Sons et James Buchanan & Co (nope, not “& Sons”, sorry). After a fire, a closure, and a reopening, it’s bought in 1925 by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) that will later become the company known today as Diageo. Fast forward nowdays, Dailuaine is still active and has a capacity of 5.2 million litres of pure alcohol per annum.
The bottle we review today is a 11-year-old Dailuaine bottled by SMWS under the number 41.104 and the name “Some like it hot”. It was released in 2018 in the Spicy and Sweet category. Matured in an refill bourbon barrel, it was distilled on the 23rd March of 2006. Bottled at cask strength at 58.1% abv, it gave an outturn of 186 bottles.
Coldorak: Sweet and spicy nose, the SMWS got the category on point for the nose. Quite spicy with chilli pepper and ginger, and sweet with caramel and vanilla, with citrus not far in the background. Water brings out some mustiness notes that I don’t like here, almost vomit for a moment, ew! By chance it disappears after a moment, but that was unexpected!
Ainulindalë: Apricot on top of a background of chilli pepper, layers of vanilla behind. Adding water turns the pepper to some sort of mint and reveals some oranges.
Coldorak: Spicy arrival with some kind of apricot with a squash of lime on top, the mouthfeel is warm and thick. Oak, chocolate, espresso and caramel. It gets very creamy after a few moments in the mouth. Citrus is back with orange and lemon, as well as chilli pepper for a moment. Reduction reinforces the sweet arrival and adds a bit more chilli pepper, then mint chocolate, like After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins.
Ainulindalë: Attacking on apricot in the mouth with a peppery tinge, very close to jalapeños then goes to medium hot layered on oak and bitter. Kind of like lime. Adding water reinforces the apricot and complements the pepper/mint nicely.
Coldorak: The finish is a bit short on milk chocolate, instant coffee and caramel. After reduction, the finish is oakier and spicier, with a citrus note.
Ainulindalë: Finishes on milk chocolate with a bit of caramel
Adding water drives the finish to a hotter, more minty and more fruity finish.
Coldorak: A nice dram when neat, but a bad surprise on the nose after reduction, I certainly was not expecting that. In the end, I prefer it neat, definitively. Nose and palate are quite good, but the finish is a little short. Do NOT add water. First, it doesn’t need it even at 58.1% abv, and secondly, it has a negative impact on the nose.
Ainulindalë: This is a dram I prefer without any water in it. The lime bitterness and mintiness generated when adding water isn’t for me.