Blind Tasting #9: Dailuaine 1998 15 Years (Whisky in Leiden)
From the highs of yesterday’s perfect result, today I realised my lowest score so far. And I was actually pretty confident about my entry. But that’s the Blind Tasting Competition for you. There’s one big consolation though: the Dailuaine 1998 15 Years bottled for Whisky in Leiden is absolutely fantastic. I might have to place some calls and see about procuring a bottle from someone.
After some contemplation, I decided to submit Ben Nevis as my entry, which didn’t land me many points (just 3 for ABV). Why Ben Nevis? The nose didn’t showcase that typical Ben Nevis dirtiness, but many of those great mid-1990s Ben Nevis don’t either. It did have a little earthiness, and it nosed very mature as well. That first put me in the direction of this fan favourite.
However, it was the palate that convinced me. The fruitiness of what turned out to be a Dailuaine, is something I’ve recently only registered in older Irish single malt whiskies and among releases from that great parcel of Ben Nevis from 1996. Since the Blind Tasting Competition is limited to Scottish whisky only, I just couldn’t not pick Ben Nevis.
You already know that was wrong. But that’s okay, I got to drink a great whisky! A wonderful pick for a great Dutch festival, one that was cancelled this year—just like pretty muchevery other festival. Let’s hope we all get to attend Whisky in Leiden again soon.
Dailuaine 1998 15 Years (51.2%, Whisky in Leiden, C#3394)
Nose: Earthy is what comes to mind at first, with touches of chalk and cigar box, but also faint notes of blackberries and cherry syrup, as well as a proper hit of lemon peel.
Taste: An enticingly sweet arrival with a great citrus follow-up, reminiscent of many of those fantastic 1996 Ben Nevis. Sweet orange zest, grapefruit, a touch of lime and tangerine. I’m a sucker for fruity drams like this one. The gentle peppery spiciness adds a welcome extra layer.
Finish: Lingering citrus fruits. Slightly chalky again. Long.
The first 90-pointer of the Blind Tasting Competition, this is totally delicious. An absolutely quality dram with lots to offer. I’d like some more of this Dailuaine 1998 15 Years, but my sample is gone.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.