Daftmill 15yo Cask Strength


After a slightly disappointing outturn from the SMWS we get to treat ourselves today by cracking open a bottle of 15yo Daftmill.

Daftmill 15yo Cask Strength

Region: Lowlands

ABV: 55.7%

Price: £165.00

The latest long anticipated release from Daftmill distillery was distilled in 2006 using Chariot barley harvested on the farm's Dam Park and Curling Pond fields in 2004. Its been exclusively matured in first fill ex-bourbon barrels for 15 years then bottled in 2022 at natural cask strength. We’ve not had it confirmed, but outturn appears to be just 5,338 bottles.

Nose

Lots of apple, fresh green apples mixed with fizzy apple candies. There’s a toasted bread note here too. We’re getting some guava, peach, poached pears and a little tinned pineapple here too. It’s a fruit salad in the glass. After some air we’re finding the sweeter vanilla notes coming through. It’s not as delicate a nose as we’ve experienced with other Daftmill releases, perhaps the longer time in the cask is bringing some of those heavier, woodier notes along with it.

Palate

We’re getting some grapefruit and unripe blood orange, following into the orchard fruits we got on the nose. It’s got a nice mouthfeel, good texture and a warming alcohol bite that reminds us of white pepper. The finish has a good length, bringing with it orange marmalade and cream crackers. The initial bitterness we got is mellowing over time as it sits in the glass, and we’re finding those more tropical pineapple and guava notes to be coming through in a stronger way.

Nose (with water)

We’re finding the lighter orchard fruits have receded somewhat, and we’re finding milk chocolate, oak and nutmeg. It’s still sweet, icing sugar, vanilla and honey all make an appearance. We’re also finding that toasted bread note again, but in more of a burnt fashion.

Palate (with water)

We’re finding the oak to be much more prominent, chocolate, hazelnuts, even cinnamon? The water really highlights the cask here. We’re also finding a menthol hit in the form of after eights. The mouthfeel and finish are retained, but feel spicier and woodier than before.

Conclusion

We were initially greeted with the classic Daftmill DNA, light orchard fruits and a delicate spirit even at cask strength. For us the palate brought more bitterness than we usually like, but time mellows this out and we were impressed with the mouthfeel and finish. Water on the other hand dramatically altered the whisky, hiding the light and delicate spirit under heavier oak flavours. That may be preferable for some, but we prefer the undiluted version. Normally we would struggle to rate a 15yo at £165 overly favourably, but we should factor into the consideration that Daftmill is a small, seasonal farm distillery that will never be able to compete with the volume/pricing of bigger brands, and comparative to other boutique distilleries, this is reasonably priced. We’d grab a bottle, but avoid adding any water.

Score: 8/10

If you’re curious here’s our current ranking of the Daftmill releases we’ve done for the blog ignoring prices:

  1. Daftmill 2010 Summer Batch Release (bottled 2022)
  2. Daftmill 15yo Cask Strength
  3. Daftmill 2008 The Whisky Bars of Scotland
  4. Daftmill Unofficial Fans Group Bottling
  5. Daftmill 2009 Summer Release UK (bottled 2020)
  6. Daftmill 2008 Summer Release (bottled 2019)
  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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