Dutch Agreement is not necessarily a new independent bottler, but rather a partnership between four Dutch retailers and whisky companies: Passion for Whisky, The Whisky Office, Bij Thijs (not me) and Morethantubes. Together they’ve bottled four octaves – two Benrinnes and two Dailuaine.
These Scotch whiskies are decidedly Dutch looking. Each of the labels celebrates a windmill near one of the retailers. If they ever decide on a sequel of this initial collaboration, I can only assume the labels will adorn tulips, wooden shoes, or *fingers crossed* different strains of cannabis.
Benrinnes 2012 9 Years (54%, Dutch Agreement, C#313796G)
- Finished in a first-fill Tawny Port octave
- Label with windmill Ter Haar, located near Bij Thijs in Vlagtwedde
Nose: A hint of solvent to kick things off. Then there’s notes of blackcurrants, figs, orange marmalade, and even some kiwi skin. Whispers of cherry gelato in the background, but also some cinnamon and sandalwood. Finally a touch of soy.
Taste: A touch of pencil shavings, but also toffee, meringues and ginger. Some fruits too, like apricots, candied cherries and prunes. Also some nutmeg, cloves and burnt toast.
Finish: Medium in length. Lingering spices, dried fruit.
Benrinnes 2012 9 Years (54%, Dutch Agreement, C#313796J)
- Finished in a first-fill Ruby Port octave
- Label with windmill Kyck over den Dyck, located near Morethantubes in Dordrecht
Nose: Hints of chalk with strawberries, raspberries and plums. Also gentle notes of damp oak, dunnage and burlap, with touches of barley sugar, crème caramel and barley husks. Very enjoyable.
Taste: Somewhat mineral but also spicy cloves and pepper. Hints of coffee too. It’s the (dried) red fruits that add balance. Plenty of berries, some prunes and cherries also.
Finish: Medium in length. Gentle spices, soft fruits.
Dailuaine 2016 6 Years (57%, Dutch Agreement, C#301022A)
- Finished in a first-fill Moscatel octave
- Label with windmill Schaapweimolen, located near Passion for Whisky in Rijswijk
Nose: Quite vegetal at first, quickly followed by a whiff of Galia melon, sweet malty touches and some grape must. But also whispers of shoe polish, nougat and almond oil.
Taste: Somewhat meaty and fairly bold. There are touches of leather, mead, tobacco and cracked black peppercorns. Some lawn clippings too, as well as lemon and candied fruits.
Finish: Medium in length. Lingering notes of pepper, stewed apples and drying. Finally a touch of apricots.
Dailuaine 2016 6 Years (57%, Dutch Agreement, C#301022B)
- Finished in a first-fill Amontillado octave
- Label with windmill Sint Hubertusmolen, located near The Whisky Office in Schimmert
Nose: Grassy with touches of white grapes, dried herbs and flowers. Also a hint of chalk, some copper, petrichor, and walnuts. Delicate but pleasant nosing whisky.
Taste: Similar meaty profile, but just brighter overall than the other Dailuaine. A big hit of white pepper and ginger, followed by grapes, citrus zest, freshly cut grass and herbs.
Finish: Medium in length. Lingering spices, bitter grass and stewed apples.
Whenever octave casks have been used, I approach the whiskies with caution. They’re approximately 50 (maybe 60) litres in size, which means they can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. But I also see their value. They’re an excellent solution if you don’t want to buy an entire hogshead (or butt even).
In the case of the four Dutch Agreement bottlings I feel the octaves haven’t necessarily been detrimental, which is always a pleasant surprise. The whisky I enjoyed best felt least influenced by the cask. The Dailuaine from the Amontillado octave just seemed to work for me.
What works less are the prices for these whiskies. Just below 100 euros for the Dailuaine, and comfortably north of 100 euros for the Benrinnes. That’s a big ask for whiskies of this age.