So what if I told you there were a few bottles of Dailuaine 1974 (a respected distillery) lying around in a shop somewhere, bottled by Berry Bros & Rudd (a respected bottler), for a laughable 105 euros? You’d be all over that. Even if you were living in the slightly less expensive whisky world of two or three years ago, that’s still a steal, right?
That happened to me, but I did not buy a bottle, let alone all four of the bottles that were left. For one: It was bottled at 46 percent, not exactly a vote of confidence, although I’ve since tasted a few lower strength bottlings from Berry Bros that were excellent. But anyway, that didn’t help convince me to add that Dailuaine to my whisky cabinet.
Two: It didn’t really get super positive reviews. Not by Serge, nor on Whiskybase. Mind you, the reviews weren’t bad either, rather they pointed towards a conclusion somewhere in between ‘pretty nice’ to ‘nothing special’.
That’s not the kind of whisky I’d like to spend over a 100 euros on, no matter that it was distilled in the 1970s. So I didn’t. I doubted at times, for sure. But after a little while the remaining bottles disappeared of the shelves, and my decision was made for me.
I did however obtain a sample from a friend, so I now do have the chance to review it, and — most importantly — verify if I made the right decision by not buying a bottle.
Dailuaine 1974/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#B111/2)
Nose: Somewhat musty with sweet applesauce, apple peel and cinnamon to kick things off, accompanied by some peaches and apricots, but also galia melon. Hints of nougat as well, with a touch of mocha and marzipan.
Taste: Bitter notes of oak shavings and lemon peel, followed by thick apple sauce and burlap, as well as a whiff of spiciness, mainly cloves and a touch of pepper. Nice balance and decent body.
Finish: Lingering oak and spices. A tad bitter again.
There’s an intense, powerful and probably outstanding whisky in here somewhere, but it has been tamed — I suspect because it was reduced to 46 percent. The fact that it is still very enjoyable is a testament to the quality of the spirit.
Also: I was right to not buy a bottle. I’m very happy to drink it, just maybe not the full 70 centiliters.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange